Which is ‘magulu kumi’, Elf, Forward, Fuso?

By: Jude Katende

We see or hear about these truck names and some of us have even used them at our construction sites, for it is in this field that they are largely used in Uganda. However, it turns out that the fellows who we usually use to ferry sand and bricks use the truck’s names depending on their sizes, an interpretation of the capacity and therefore the cost of what they are to transport. So, instead of someone saying your kind of construction will require 10 trips of a semi-tonne truck as opposed to say five of a heavy duty truck, they end up saying that task will require 10 Elfs or five Fusos.

This may confuse you and it totally should because Fuso as a name is also used for buses, but here it is usually referred to the 10 wheeled trucks locally named magulu kumi, loosely meaning, ten legs (tyres). And even among the trucks, still Fuso is of various sizes.


An online source says Isuzu Elf is a medium duty truck produced by Isuzu since 1959. Outside Japan it is known as N-series. Among the Elfs most common in Uganda is the 250 series (fourth and fifth generations) manufactured between 1990 and 1995.

The fourth Elf/N-series originally had twin rectangular headlamps and a grille with five separate segments. The fifth generation Isuzu Elf appeared in 1993, with more sculpted headlights. In 1995 it received a minor change, including upgraded, cleaner diesel engines. The Elf’s pricing ranges from Shs25m and Shs40m depending on its tonnage among other features.


The Toyota Dyna is a medium-duty commercial truck. It was sold in the Japanese market, alongside its twin called the Toyoace. Dyna is short for dynamic. In Uganda, the most common type is the fifth generation model (U60 – 90 Series) manufactured between 1984 and 1994. There are a few sixth generation models. They have one rectangular headlamp as opposed to the fifth generation’s “paired up” square light or round ones. All wide cab models had a centrally mounted roof vent and had three windscreen wipers. Tonnage range is two to three and half. Some of them do not differ much from the designs of rivals Nissan Atlas, Isuzu Elf and Mitsubishi Fuso Canter light commercial trucks. Pricing for the older Dynas ranges between Shs25m and Shs35m while “newer” ones from 2000 onwards cost over Shs50m.


The Isuzu Forward and Isuzu F-Series is a line of medium-duty trucks built by Isuzu of Japan. Most models come with a diesel engine. The F-series is available in a variety of cab styles, engines, 4WD or 2WD depending on the market it is sold. Most mid-size and big-size models of the truck are distinguishable by a front ‘Forward’ badge; but the common Isuzu badge is usually used on the rear. The other model is the Isuzu Giga (also known as the Isuzu C/E-Series).

Introduced in 1994, the range is mostly made up of full-size trucks and was previously known as the Isuzu heavy-duty truck. Most full-size models are distinguishable by a front ‘Giga’ and ‘CXZ’ badge, but the common Isuzu badge is usually used on the rear.

Outside of Japan, the truck series are in the “C” and “E”, for comfort and economic respectively. The Forward’s pricing depends on its size or tonnage ranging between Shs50m and above. The bigger the more expensive.


Daimler.com says Mitsubishi produces light, medium- and heavy-duty trucks for diverse operating conditions. Light trucks include Fuso Canter, Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid and Fuso Cancer Guts. Medium-duty trucks include the Fuso Fighter while heavy-duty trucks include the Fuso Super Great. In Uganda, older models of the Fighter are common while the Super Great trucks are fewer. Unknown to most people, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation is German-owned but Japan-based.

This company is one of the world’s largest truck manufacturers. It is different from the one that makes cars such as Mitsubishi Lancer, Pajero and the L200 pick-ups among others. Daimler AG of Germany owns approximately 89.29 per cent of Mitsubishi Fuso, a member of the Daimler Trucks division of Daimler AG.

The name Fuso means hibiscus, an ancient name for Japan used by the Chinese and this was the name for the company’s first product in 1932.

The Canter range is currently marketed in Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and a number of other Asian countries. In many markets the Canter was very expensive and was replaced by the Mitsubishi Fuso truck when that model became available for worldwide market in the early 1980s. Most models of the truck are distinguishable by a front ‘Canter’ badge, but the common Mitsubishi badge is usually used on the rear.

Canter prices are in the Shs35m and above range. Fuso Fighter is between Shs55m and above. The bigger heavy duty trucks cost over Shs120m.

Source: Daily Monitor

Leave a Reply


Uganda Accuses Tanzania of Unfair Charges On Transporters

Uganda and Tanzania are locked in a dispute over road user fees for trucks headed to the Dar es Salaam port, with Kampala threatening to retaliate against “unfair” charges imposed on its transporters that are higher than those applicable to Rwandan shi…

Uganda Backtracks On Deal to Abolish Taxes On Kenyan Juices

Uganda has reneged on an agreement to abolish 12 per cent duty on Kenyan-manufactured fruit juices, and removal of 12 per cent verification fee on Nairobi’s pharmaceutical exports, putting a strain on the neighbouring countries’ trade ties.Kampala says…