Soon the Isuzu MU-7 SUV will become cheaper as Isuzu has started building its plant at Sri City near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. This will be locally manufactured from 2016 once the plant becomes operational. The plant will also manufacture the D-Max range on pick-up trucks for the commercial segment.
Isuzu has acquired 107 acres of land for the plant and held a ground breaking ceremony yesterday. The plant will have an initial production capacity of 50,000 vehicles, which will then be scaled up to 120,000 units per year as Isuzu adds more models and begins exports. The total cost of setting up the plant will be about Rs. 3000 crore, and will provide employment to 2000 to 3000 people.
The manufacturing plant will have facilities like a full-fledged paint booth, oven, water tester, combination tester and spot welding machines, which will be of the same standard as those that it uses in its other plants globally. By March 2014, Isuzu will have dealerships in nine cities, including Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kochi, Bangalore, Tirupati, Vishakapatnam, Madurai and Delhi.
Currently, Isuzu has entered the country in a tie-up with Hindustan Motors for contract manufacturing of its vehicles. The Isuzu MU-7 SUV is being brought in as a CBU (and hence the Rs. 23.75 lakh price tag because of duties), while the D-Max pick-up trucks are being assembled by Hindustan Motors as CKD (completely knocked down) units. This is expected to continue for the next two years, until the Andhra Pradesh plant is fully operational, and by which time local manufacturing will start.
The Isuzu MU-7 SUV competes with the Toyota Fortuner. It is bigger and more spacious than the Fortuner, at nearly 5-metres in length. It is powered by a 3-litre diesel engine that puts out 160 bhp of power and 360 Nm of torque. But due to the lack of dealership infrastructure sales are limited at the moment. Also read: Isuzu’s localization plans