Isuzu bets on pick-up trucks

Isuzu, the Japanese commercial and sports utility vehicle major, is gearing up to compete with the likes of Mahindra, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland in the pick-up truck segment.

By A Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 11.06.15
  •  
Shigeru Wakabayashi in
Calcutta on Wednesday.
Picture by Kishor Roy
Chowdhury

Calcutta, June 10: Isuzu, the Japanese commercial and sports utility vehicle major, is gearing up to compete with the likes of Mahindra, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland in the pick-up truck segment.

Besides planning to invest Rs 3,000 crore in a manufacturing unit at SriCity in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, the company is ramping up its dealer network in expectation of a rise in demand.

With an initial capacity of 5,000 units per year, commercial operation from the plant is expected to start from April 2016.

"Isuzu is focused on pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles. We are not going into the passenger car segment. In pick-ups, there are many variations available. These possibilities will only come into play when we have our own plant," said Shigeru Wakabayashi, executive vice-president and deputy managing director of Isuzu Motors India.

Wakabayashi was in the city to inaugurate a dealer outlet in New Town.

"The possibility of expansion in pick-up trucks is much higher than the premium SUV market. In this market, there are no global players. It is a big chance for Isuzu as we are the first global player," said Wakabayashi.

The company, which sells D-Max pick-up trucks, expects the market to grow around 400 per cent over the next eight years from around 2 lakh units at present.

The company is also eyeing exports to West Asia and Africa.

HM tie-up

At present, Isuzu has a contract manufacturing agreement with Hindustan Motors.

Under the pact, Hind Motors assembles completely knocked down (CKD) kits of Isuzu's sports utility vehicle Mu-7 and pick-up truck D-Max at Thiruvallur, Chennai.

Isuzu will evaluate this tie-up once its own manufacturing unit becomes operational. Wakabayashi said the Chennai car plant had a fairly large capacity and much of it was still unutilised.

Besides Isuzu, Mitsubishi's Pajero Sport is assembled in the plant. Wakabayashi said the company would explore how this facility could also be used, but had not taken any specific decision.

Hind Motors has stopped manufacturing its flagship Ambassador car from the Uttarpara plant in Bengal.