Japanese automaker Isuzu has launched its first India-made sports utility vehicle (SUV) MU-7 in Chennai. The vehicle, which costs Rs. 22.3 lakh, is currently being rolled out from the Hindustan Motors plant in Chennai under a contract manufacturing agreement.
Isuzu’s own manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh, which will have a capacity of 120,000 unit a year, will be operational by 2016, Takashi Kikuchi, managing director, Isuzu Motors India, told reporters at a news conference. The company is investing Rs. 3,000 crore to set up the plant where it will produce SUVs and pickup trucks.
Isuzu has opened eight dealerships in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The company will open outlets in Delhi and Mumbai early next year and plans to have 60 outlets across India by 2015-16. He said Isuzu would begin with sourcing 70% of its content from local suppliers once its own plant gets operational and increase localisation levels to 100% in three years. “Our focus in India will be utility vehicles and light commercial vehicles,” said Kikuchi.
(The writer’s travel to and stay in Chennai was sponsored by Isuzu)