Japanese UV maker, Isuzu Motors India today inaugurated its newest dealership in Delhi-NCR, located in the Noida sector-63 industrial area, in Uttar Pradesh.
Spread over an area of 12,500 square feet, the new outlet is a 3S facility, offering a complete retail experience, as well as extending aftersales support to Isuzu customers with an integrated service centre which spans 7,000 square feet. With the new outlet, Isuzu has expanded its dealer network to 35 dealerships placed in strategic locations across the country.
The company which sells its D-Max pickup truck in the commercial segment and the V-Cross and MUX lifestyle SUVs in India, surpassed the 10,000 units sales mark in March 2018, since it was established in the country in 2012. While it had clocked overall sales of 5,213 units (+86%) units in FY2018 alone, with a growing demand for lifestyle activity vehicles, visible by an overwhelming response to its V-Cross, Isuzu is targeting close to 60 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in the ongoing fiscal.
“We had practically doubled our volumes between 2016 and 2017, and while the growth is still strong, we are targeting to grow at around 60 percent in FY2019. It should be remembered that we are a new player and so, our growth is relatively higher. But, we have done good work over the last five years and I am confident that we can achieve this growth”, said Ken Takashima, deputy managing director, Isuzu Motors India, speaking to Autocar Professional at the inauguration of the new dealership.
The company says that with both a commercial as well as a private product portfolio on offer, its sales are well balanced between the two product lines and the volumes are also distributed evenly across metros, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. “We have no fixed number, but, the count of our dealer outlets will depend upon our volumes. We are committed to offering the right products and the right services to our customers in India, and certainly, we will be expanding our footprint in the Indian market and opening up more showrooms through the rest of the year”, Takashima added.
While its current annual capacity of 50,000 units at its plant in Sri City in Andhra Pradesh stands underutilised, come 2017, the company also started exporting products being manufactured here to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
“Exports remain one of the key opportunities for us to fully utilise our production facility in Andhra Pradesh, beyond local sales. While we have begun exports to Nepal and Bhutan, we are in a feasibility study phase to export to markets further west from India in the future”, Takashima added.
With its plant becoming operational in April 2016, the Isuzu Motors India project was commissioned with a total capital of Rs 3,000 crore earmarked for the project. While two-thirds of that investment has already been made, the company is enhancing its localisation, which today stands at 70 percent for its D-Max commercial pick-up range, and a shade lower for other lifestyle offerings.
“We are in talks with over a 100 Tier 1 suppliers in India and are working towards bringing them on-board. While we are currently sourcing high value parts like the drivetrain on the V-Cross and the MUX from our mother plant in Thailand, we are cautious enough to keep quality at the forefront before simply upping the local content on our products.”
“The localisation could see a significant boost in a single shot as these powertrain components contribute to roughly 40 percent the value of our vehicles” Takashima added.
While Isuzu Motors India is already doing global sourcing from its local vendors for the Group’s overseas operations as well, “Exporting completely built engines from the D-Max pick-up range is also another opportunity which we would be exploring in the future”, Takashima said.
No Isuzu compact SUV
The Japanese giant, which has primarily been a pick-up player the world over, isn't really moved by the boom in crossovers and compact SUVs, especially in India.
The Indian UV segment grew by a notable 21 percent YoY, with overall sales culminating at 921,780 units in FY2018, out of a total of 3,287,965 PVs sold in the fiscal. Products like the Maruti Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Creta and of late, the Tata Nexon as well have been creating strong waves in the Indian market and have diminished the line between monocoque crossovers and ladder-based SUVs.
“UVs have a huge potential and have a very wide range within them. We are very much interested to play in the mid- and upper-ends of the segment, and not exactly in the lower-end.”
“Almost all of our product line-up, globally, comprises pick-ups and ladder-based UVs. Hence, we would not be developing something which is so market-specific and we would rather be looking to introduce multiple forms of ladder-based UVs, as well as different iterations of cabin chassis in the commercial as well as the private segments in the future”, Takashima concluded.