Isuzu have been making bakkies since 1980 and the quintessential KB is now in its sixth generation and more than half-a-million buyers have the security of knowing they have bought a product that is built to withstand tough conditions. The Blue Bulls, too, pride themselves on being tough and reliable.
“The two most iconic brands in South Africa are probably bakkies and rugby and both the Isuzu and Blue Bulls brands are known to be as tough as nails, so it’s an ideal fit. The Bulls are an undeniable force in South African rugby with their unbridled determination, which is valued by Isuzu because we make the toughest, most durable bakkies,” Mlungisi Nonkonyana, the brand manager, said at the Gerotek testing facility outside Pretoria on Thursday.
While the partnership with Isuzu is a fabulous tie-in for the Bulls, they know that they are going to have to lift their own performance on the field in 2015 after failing to make the SuperRugby playoffs and being knocked out in the semi-finals of the Currie Cup.
“The performance standards have been set by the previous teams in our 76-year history, so our supporters obviously did not look favourably on us not winning any trophies this year. The pressure is on to rectify that in 2015,” Bulls CEO Barend van Graan admitted.
“There’ve been a couple of hiccups, but we have a terribly proud history and, with the squad we have, I think 2015 is going to be a good year. The Blue Bulls are not good losers, it hurts like hell,” John Newbury, the chairman of the Bulls board, said.
Isuzu bakkies are renown for being hard workers and Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, an Isuzu owner himself, will be hoping his team will replicate many of the same characteristics in the coming year.