Fruit & Veg at 4am? No Worries with Isuzu’s Auto Freightpack
Lan and Duc Tinh Nguyen were Vietnamese refugees living in Hong Kong. In 1994, they took a leap of faith and landed in Australia, starting on the road to a new life and managing to build a successful business in the process.
For five years, they worked hard at fruit and vegetable farms until they earned enough to start their own fresh produce business: Hong Kong Fruit & Veg at the Malaga Markets in Western Australia.
Their stall now takes up 200 square metres of the market, supplying everything fresh and healthy: oranges, apples, avocados, broccoli, potatoes…if the produce is in season, it’s likely the Nguyens have it in stock.
Like all wholesale retailers, efficient, reliable and timely freight movement is a crucial aspect of their business.
“My husband goes to the Canning Vale Markets every Thursday and Friday at 4am to get the freshest fruits and vegetables for our customers,” said Lan.
“He brings back at least 16 crates of fresh produce each time. That is why we need a good truck.”
With a newly purchased Isuzu FVL 240-300 Freightpack backing operations, the Nguyen’s business is running reliably and profitably.
But according to Lan, their transport journey hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
When the business first started in 1999, they used a van to cart produce. Outgrowing this quickly, they upgraded to a second-hand truck before the year was out.
Growing busier year by year, the Nguyens went from a 10-pallet capacity truck in 2002, to a 14-pallet Isuzu in 2007.
However, they closed up shop at Malaga in 2016, selling off their equipment, including their well-loved, second-hand Isuzu. Not three years later, the manager at the Malaga Markets requested their return due to customer demand.
“They couldn’t find someone to replace us, and the customers at the markets missed our fruits and veggies, so we decided to go back,” Lan said.
Initially deciding to go down the path of renting trucks upon their return, they ultimately found it too expensive, so the Nguyens purchased another second-hand truck of a brand they had not tried before in 2019.
“It was no good,” said Lan.
“The truck broke down all the time. Once in the middle of the road,” she exclaimed.
“We spent at least $15,000 in repairs until I finally said ‘enough’. It was time to invest in a better truck.”
It was only July last year that the Nguyens came to that decision—just as Western Australia was emerging from the worst of its COVID-19 closures and social restrictions.
“We had almost no business in April and May 2020, but by July, we were back to trading as usual… and more than ready for that new truck.”
Seeking a proven solution they could trust, they went straight to Major Motors Isuzu.
“My husband and I have always liked Isuzu trucks; we know it’s a good brand and that the trucks are very reliable on the road.”
The FVL Freightpack is chock full of features that make Duc’s life easier, including LED lighting in the body interior for early morning loading work, interior cameras to keep an eye on cargo and low light capable reversing camera for safe delivery at the markets.
Running a six-cylinder turbo-charged engine at 221 kW @ 2,400 rpm and generous torque of 981 Nm @ 1 ,450 rpm, the FVL 240-300 Freightpack certainly comes with enough power, and more than enough capacity for the Nguyens with a GVM of 24,000 kg.
Duc also appreciates the highly practical Allison 6-speed auto transmission.
“My husband says the truck is smooth to drive and easy to operate. He finds the easy glide curtains with quick release latches very useful,” said Lan.
“And since he travels at least 45 minutes each way to the market, the auto transmission and cab comfort has made his driving sessions much more enjoyable.
“In fact, we are so happy with our Isuzu that we tell all our friends and other market operators about Frank at Major Motors,” she added.
When asked further about their buying experience, Lan would only sing praises.
“Frank was very helpful. He guided us with the decision and made the whole transaction easy from start to finish.
“He also sold our other second-hand truck for us and helped us recoup some money.”
Lan was also pleased with their first scheduled service with the dealer.
“It was very easy. Just a few hours and done,” she said.
Enjoying all the Freightpack’s safety features, like yellow painted grab handles and steps, Anti-lock Braking System and high visibility mirrors and cornering lamps, the Nguyens are confident their new truck will serve them well into the future.
“Now Duc is very happy driving his new truck and I am much happier in the office, as I don’t constantly worry about him driving an old truck that may break down at any time,” Lan said with a laugh.
“I can replace an old truck, but I can’t replace my husband!”