Will carry a price tag of Rs. 22 lakh (ex-showroom, Chennai)

Isuzu Motors, on Tuesday, announced its entry into the Indian UV (utility vehicle) market with the launch of its premium SUV (sport utility vehicle) MU-7 as the Japanese auto major is preparing for a long-term play in the Indian UV and LCV (light commercial vehicle) segments with manufacturing investments of Rs 3000 crore.

The diesel-driven MU-7, described as one of the longest SUVs available in India now, will be positioned against its Japanese rival Toyota’s Fortuner, the top selling model in Rs-15-25 lakh UV segment in the country, and Mahindra Rexton. The BS III-compliant MU-7 will carry a price tag of Rs 22 lakh (ex-showroom, Chennai). BSIV variant is priced at Rs 22.3 lakh. Isuzu Motors is also chalking out its LCV strategy for the Indian market, and is contemplating launching a pick-up truck in 3-tonne GVW (gross vehicle weight) category next year. “Isuzu brand is well-accepted brand in India as we used to supply our engines to Ambassador cars. In the next five years, our focus will be to accelerate our business and establish our brand in LCV and UV markets in India,” said Takashi Kikuchi, Managing Director, Isuzu Motors India.

The company will initially be assembling CKD (completely knocked down) kits of MU7 and the upcoming pick-up truck at Hindustan Motors’ Thiruvallur plant near Chennai till the commissioning of its upcoming Greenfield plant at Sri City, a special economic zone along the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This comes after a contract manufacturing agreement signed by HM and Isuzu in January this year. Isuzu targets annual sales of at least 5,000 units over the next two years.

Isuzu, a pioneer in diesel engine technology, has earmarked a total budget of Rs 3,000 crore for the upcoming manufacturing unit at Sri City for an annual capacity of 100,000-120,000 units. This plant is expected to be operational by 2015-16. It also charting out plans to source significant portion of components for its vehicles from local market as it aims for a 70 per cent local content during the launch of its plant.

On the marketing front, the company has already appointed eight dealerships in South, and intends to build a network of 60 dealerships before the launch of its own manufacturing unit.

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