In a bid to beat the slowdown and its adverse impact on the commercial vehicle industry, CV manufacturer SML Isuzu plans to rollout 2-4 new products annually. This would help keep its sales numbers moving, especially after the downslide in the CV industry has impacted its sales by almost 20 percent last year, down by 2,000 vehicles.
Currently the CV maker rolls out 12,000 vehicles annually at its Ropar plant in Punjab while the manufacturing facility has a capacity of 24,000 units, based on the Mazda platform. Another 100 buses are being made on the Isuzu platform.
The company recently launched its new SML-branded super truck 12.9XM, 12990kg GVW truck with a payload capacity of 8,500kg in Delhi. Priced at Rs 13 lakh, the truck is fitted with a wide cargo box and is on offer in both 5.18 metres and 5.80 metres with options of both steel high-side and half-side cargo box.
With this Intermediate CV or higher-range LCV, SML Isuzu has entered the 10-13T segment which is pegged at 30,000-40,000 units, according to Elichi Seto, the new MD and CEO who joined the India operations in December 2013. “We are going to do 1,000-2,000 units of the LCV in a year’s time.” Competitors include Eicher and Ashok Leyland but both are bigger players. The company holds a 8-9 percent share in the 7-13-tonne category where its SML trucks are positioned.
The super truck will be on display at the Auto Expo 2014 along with the SML Bus S7 (37 +1 semi-deluxe seats and 2 x 2 configuration) and the Isuzu IS12T truck GVW 12565 Kgs.
Other models in the XM series including Cosmo XM, Samrat HD 19 XM and Samrat Tipper XM are claimed to offer extra mileage and will be available to customers by March-April 2014. The Isuzu FR1318 bus with a seating capacity of 40 seats was launched last year; this year the company is looking to increase its volumes.
Formerly Swaraj Mazda, Sumitomo Corp of Japan holds 44 percent in SML Isuzu with Isuzu holding a 15 percent stake and the balance held by the public.