Car sales in India in recent years have shown a spike in the SUV and pick-up market, so it’s perhaps not a surprising decision on Isuzu’s part. Producing on-site will give Isuzu preferential access to more than a billion consumers, and negotiations with the government of Andhra Pradresh are said to be proceeding apace. The Economic Times reported that an announcement is expected in Hyderabad in early March of a new plant to be built on a greenfield site in Sri City at a cost of 1,000 core. Production of at least 50,000 vehicles a year will be expected to start in 2015, but the sighting of the D Max would suggest Isuzu has already made agreements to share facilities with Indian manufacturer Hindustan Motors in Chennai, not far from Sri City.
Logistics aside, Isuzu’s concern in such an ambitious venture will naturally be choosing the right model to go with. On this score the D Max seems a safe bet. The 3.0 litre diesel engine pick-up has an impressive reputation, only increased by the new model brought out last year. With a choice between five-speed manual and automatic gearboxes, the D Max has the power and torque to deliver pulling power enough to satisfy anyone. A four-wheel-drive option gives the potential for adventurous drivers to take it into some pretty hostile terrain and come out on top.
For style too, the D Max doesn’t disappoint. The interior looks great, with a multi-function leather steering wheel, power windows, central locking and air con among the features you would expect from a pick-up specialist with Isuzu’s reputation.
Not that Isuzu will have things all its own way in the market. Even just looking at other Japanese manufacturers, both Toyota and Mitsubishi are concentrating on the SUV market in India. With familiar domestic vehicles like the Tata and Mahindra in there as well, the winner will be the consumer who should see prices kept down by the stiff competition.