Japanese utility vehicle major Isuzu is said to be contemplating a big-bang entry into the hugely competitive MPV segment in India, which is currently dominated by the likes of the monocoque bodied Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the ladder frame equipped Toyota Innova. The Isuzu MPV, code-named the RU30 is tipped for a end-2017 launch, with the first prototypes slated to be ready by early next year.
The RU30 MPV will be produced at Isuzu’s upcoming production facility at Sri City, situated strategically on the borders of Tamilnadu and the newly formed Seemandhra state. This location is intended to make best use of Chennai’s Ennore port, as Isuzu is betting big on exports from India. Coming back to the RU30, Isuzu is said to be targeting production of 100,000 vehicles each year, with the number consisting of both domestic sales and exports.
The MPV will leverage Isuzu’s pick up truck platform, which hosts vehicles such as the D-MAX pick up truck and the MU7 luxury SUV, in the interests of cost savings. Notably, Isuzu assembles the D-MAX pick up truck range in India through the completely knocked down (CKD) kit route. The Japanese automaker also has extensive plans for localization of the D-MAX platform, and the localization efforts are expected to accrue to the new, 2017 RU30 MPV as well.
In this light, expect the ladder frame chassis and the front engine-rear wheel drive layout of the D-MAX to be carried over to the 2017 RU30 MPV. The 2.5 liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel engine of the D-MAX pick up truck is also likely to be carried over to the RU30 MPV. This engine is known for its excellent response and bagfuls of torque across the rev-band. Isuzu prides itself as a diesel engine specialist and expect the RU30 MPV to feature a class leading oil burner under its hood.
Isuzu is an old player in the Indian car and commercial vehicle sectors. Isuzu has been the now-defunct Hindustan Motors’ long-time partner for engine supply while the Japanese automaker also has a stake in the Swaraj Mazda Isuzu commercial vehicle combine. The Isuzu Panther sells in India as the Chevrolet Tavera while Isuzu uses Hindustan Motors’ Tiruvallur factory at Chennai to assemble the D-MAX pick up truck range.