Bajaj’s RE-60 becomes the star attraction at Ceylon Motor Show 2015 in Sri Lanka

The new Bajaj RE-60 four-wheeler grabbed the attention of hundreds of automobile enthusiasts this year at the Ceylon Motor Show 2015. The event was held recently at BMICH in Colombo, Sri Lanka, witnessed scores of visitors leveraging the opportunity to have a closer look at and be test-driven in the Bajaj RE-60.

Mr. Rakesh Sharma, President – International Business for Bajaj Auto Ltd. said stated “RE 60 is a next generation 4-wheeler that innovatively combines modern technology with purposeful vehicle design. We were thrilled by the positive feedback from the audience as most of the them felt that it was an ideal vehicle for the middle class as well as good alternative to the 3-wheeler. We are confident that this cost effective and eco-friendly last mile mobility solution will establish new standards in solving mobility issues in developing countries like Sri Lanka”.

The Bajaj RE 60 is powered by a 4 valve, water cooled, tri-spark 216cc engine that delivers a maximum speed of 70 kmph and fuel efficiency of 35 kmpl. The unique features of this ground breaking vehicle are that it is easy to drive, compact, lightweight and has a low carbon emission at just 60 gm/km. 349f1473-a554-42f8-bb34-e0fb11e456a2_TempBig 2f2afe21-b8d6-4d83-98f3-e17326bd5246_TempBig 4bdcf886-de77-4514-97ea-617a6ebb500e_TempBig

Isuzu Motors India introduces D-MAX Air-Conditioned and Cab-Chassis variants

The globally-renowned Isuzu D-MAX known for its durability, reliability and fuel efficiency will now be available in two new variants meeting specific requirements of the customers in the pick-up segment. Isuzu Motors India Private Limited, currently selling the Isuzu D-MAX in India has expanded its D-MAX range with Air-Conditioned and Cab-Chassis variants.

The Isuzu D-MAX Single Cab Flat Deck will now be available with a factory built Air-Conditioned variant to offer the D-MAX cus3e287f3b-325e-488e-be22-b5b17ba5b681_TempSmall (1)tomers more comfort and a fatigue-free driving experience. In a tropical country like India where temperatures soar, an air-conditioned vehicle helps reduce fatigue and increases productivity. The D-Max with air-conditioning will be a perfect partner for our customers.

The Cab-Chassis variant will fulfil the needs of customers’ operating vehicle applications across various businesses such as Food & Catering, Perishables, Hardware, FMCG, etc. Such customers will now have the flexibility to construct their own load-bodies suiting their business requirements. This variant will be available in the Isuzu D-MAX Single Cab model. Further the D-Max is the most suitable vehicle for Cold-Chain applications due to its higher power and other features. Again in India where temperatures are usually above 25 degrees in most places and most times of the year, the need for a highly efficient refrigerated pick-up gains significant importance. Efficiency improves performance and reduces wastage and on this the Isuzu D-Max scores over the rest with great advantage.

Speaking about the new variants, Mr. Naohiro Yamaguchi, Managing Director, Isuzu Motors India, said, “With the roll-out of these new Isuzu D-MAX variants, we are offering our customers a comprehensive range of options to choose from, meeting specific needs and requirements of different businesses. Under the harsh heat and tiring conditions in India, modern customers look for comfort features that enhance productivity while reducing fatigue, even for their drivers. The D-Max with Air-Conditioning will be the perfect choice. On the other hand, the Cab-Chassis variantis a perfect partner that provides customers’ the flexibility to choose their load-body configuration and maximize value. This is an important development and an extension of our product offering in the pick-up segment, enabling customers to ‘Go More, Do More and Get More’.”

The award winning Isuzu D-MAX is tough, reliable and fuel efficient. It is built on a heavy-duty chassis that offers Isuzu’s legendary durability and superior performance, making it one of the most competitive pick-up trucks in the country. The Isuzu D-MAXhas a large and wide cargo deck that can carry loads with ease. The cab of the Isuzu D-MAX is made from high-tensile steel that ensures greater safety. The front and rear suspension having independent coil springs and rigid leaf springs respectively, provide greater stability to the vehicle. It sports a bold and aggressive look on the outside and sophisticated, passenger-vehicle like interiors, making it a pride for the owner. Powered by the legendary Isuzu engine technology, the Isuzu D-MAX makes it the ideal pick-up for a profitable business.

A completely new concept in India, the new Isuzu D-MAX Space Cab’s unique feature is its extended cabin space of 1.5 feet behind the drivers’ seat, which can store valuable/ fragile goods. It offers significant features like power steering, power windows, centralized door lock, etc., making it ideal for commercial use in industries like Agriculture, Retail, Dairy, Engineering, Manufacturing and Small businesses.

Isuzu is rapidly expanding its dealer network in the country and has plans to open 60 outlets across India by end of 2015-16. Isuzu currently has 20 dealership facilities at Delhi, Noida, Jaipur, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Madurai, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Cochin, Calicut, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Gurgaon, Indore and Vadodara.

“Clutch manufacturer will have to come up with products which improve driver comfort, lessen fatigue and offer better road safety.”

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Udit Sheth, Executive Director, Setco Automotive Ltd.

How far have you come on the ceramic clutch front. Would the 2015 Prima T1 have them?

We have given them (Tata Motors) the offer for ceramic clutches but the 2015 T1 Prima is using a 17-inch diameter organic clutch. In racing conditions, ceramic clutches are always better because they support a high ability to accelerate. However at the kind of horsepower the (T1 Prima) truck produces, a ceramic clutch may not be needed. I think for now, they (Tata Motors) aim to get the racing right and get into component engineering in the next phase. Right now the focus is on tweaking the engine and its weight, to get more power out of the vehicle. This may be followed by braking dynamics and clutch dynamics. Last year (2014), we took all our clutches back from the race trucks and analysed their performance. What we found was that they could be re-installed and used for another 2,00,000 km.

You have been supplying clutch systems to Tata Motors for a long time. How do look at Tata Motors’ pursuit for AMT?

AMTs also have clutches. It is just that they are used differently. I don’t see too much of a threat over there. I think we are still far away from building AMTs as a standard feature. Also, in India we still need to get our power-to-weight ratio right. This has a direct impact on fuel consumption, as well as the wear and tear of parts. Overloading and the poor condition of roads are still our biggest challenges. It all revolves around the operating conditions.

Having a global presence, do you foresee any drastic changes in the clutch industry?

There will be no drastic changes. Changes will be in the area of noise and vibration. Noise and vibration harmonics will play an important role due to rising environmental concerns. So, the clutch manufacturer will have to come up with products which improve driver comfort. Products which lessen fatigue and offer better road safety. One would also need to be at the edge of cost and development.

How advantageous it is to make in India, you recently mentioned that Setco will be commissioning a foundry at Kalol?

I think our primary advantage in India is that we have good engineers. They have the ability to work keeping international market requirements in sight. Then, we have better costs. It is however, not only about cost reduction, but also about innovation. India does differentiate itself when it comes to low cost products. We are able to customise the products better, unlike China, which is known for producing bulk quantity.

India seems to focus on innovation in terms of costs, or should it clearly stand out in a particular area?

Innovation in terms of costs and standing out in a particular area are two sides of the same coin. The difference I see is in our engineers, that they need to get their hands a little more dirty. They need to get on the shop floor. In India, we have a lot of disguised unemployment, and there is a need therefore to efficiently use our manpower.

With a need to build world-class trucks, we still seem to get the power-to-weight ratio right. There’s the scarcity of drivers. What do you think?

Ours is a market in which owner driven trucks do not constitute a large part of the CV industry. If he will buy for self driving, for sure he will go for a vehicle with better features.

You think such a market will evolve in India?

It is too early to comment. We still have people who are not trained, and work for minimal amount. Half of the truck drivers out there have been cleaners earlier. One side of it is that if the driver faces bad roads and uses the clutch frequently, it is good for our business. Replacements will go up. And experts can easily tell whether the clutch has been abused, or has had a manufacturing defect. Also, it is the overall value proposition that will decide whether we will have enough drivers in the future.

What kind of clutch technology does India need?

I don’t think it will be changing dramatically. The clutches developed for advanced markets like Europe will fail in India, not because the product is faulty but because the engineering standards of the clutches vary according to market performances.

New technologies that you are working on?

Normally as the clutch wears, you have to adjust it. That adjustment is done manually, and can be automated. We are currently working on a technology that will automate the adjustment of the clutch. We expect it to enhance customer satisfaction. We need to target OEMs first as aftermarket will not move forward until OEMs are willing. There will be a need to leverage both.

Volvo to export buses to Europe

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar
In what could be termed as a significant development, Volvo Buses India, a decade and a half after it stepped into India, has begun exporting buses to Europe.Beginning its Indian journey by launching the B7R, 12 m long two-axle, inter-city luxury coach in 2001, Volvo Buses India Pvt. Ltd. has begun exporting fully-built, Euro 6 emission compliant buses to Europe. This initiative is an outcome of the Asia leverage program, which was launched in 2011 with the view of exporting products from India and China. Aimed at an inter-city coach segment in Europe that typically does between 100 and 300 km according to Akash Passey, Senior Vice President – Business Region International, Volvo Buses, the buses destined for Europe contain an imported driveline. To comply with Euro 6 norms, they are equipped with the SCR and other related systems. The body is 100 per cent indigenised. A two-axle design (like the B7R), the Europe-bound buses according to sources at Volvo Buses India, will be similar in appearance to the buses that are found in India. They will thus be imported as fully-built units, and have been built taking into consideration the feedback of European buyers.

Marking an entry into the new era according to Hakan Agnevall, President, Volvo Buses, the Europe-bound buses will also carry some engine components that have been sourced through Volvo Eicher’ joint venture engine plant at Pithampur, Indore. Said Agnevall, “We are the first bus company to export buses to Europe. Present here for fourteen years, we are taking the next step of the Asia leverage strategy.” As part of the Asia leverage strategy, Volvo first embarked on a plan to expand the bus plant at Hoskote, Bangalore. Pledging to invest Rs.400 crore, more lines and processes were installed; new paint shop was installed along with a warehouse, and a training and skills development centre.

An R&D centre was also setup, and has 50 engineers who help with driveline and body parts of the products. Enabling the company to offer better products and facilities locally, the plan according to Akash, also coincides with the prime minister’s plan to ‘Make-in-India’. Coming to include other activities as well, over Rs. 400 crore has been invested till date. Set to cater to a market estimated to be worth 5,000 units, and having the presence of Daimler, Iveco and many home grown brands in Europe, the European export initiative according to Hakan rides on a substantial competence built at Bangalore.

The Europe-bound buses will see some amount of customisation according to Hakan. Like the placement of ticket vending machine, etc., to satisfy the requirements of the European clients. Rolling out of the Hoskote facility, which has an installed capacity to build 1,500 buses in one shift post the expansion – before expansion it was 800 units, these buses are also bound to reflect on Volvo’s intent to bring hybrid and electric buses to India. Said Hakan, that the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric (FAME) vehicle program marks a good initiative by the government. “We are in dialogue with the government to participate,” he added.

Interview: Akash Passey, Sr. VP – Business Region International, Volvo Buses,
and Hakan Agnevall, President, Volvo Buses.

How do you look at the India journey of Volvo Bus – from entry into India, until the European export initiative?

Volvo has been driving a revolution. It has changed the Indian bus market towards seeking fully built buses. This is akin to driving a complete bus change, and amounts to a significant development. We have stayed ahead of the competition by introducing new products. We have upgraded ourselves locally through exports. We have also benefited locally from installing new processes and methodologies. The last four years have been quite defining.

How do you see the European export initiative benefiting the Indian clients?

European regulations are different from that of the Indian regulations. The mapping that we did therefore, would also benefit our Indian clients. An example is the application of double glazed glass. In India the regulation is for the use of single glazed glass. Our Indian clients will benefit from the use of double glazed glass.

Any specific reason why you chose India over China?

We looked at a segment that is existing, and found out that we have the right competence in India. The product that we have in India is a global product. Even though it is made as an Indian product. We therefore found that the Indian footprint would make a competitive footprint. We chose India over China because of the full control over business. We also see our competitors starting to do substantial investments. We encourage competition as we feel it will promote the quality of buses in India. The Indian operations of Volvo rank among the top 10.

Now that you are beginning to export buses to Europe, are you happy with the quality of the suppliers here?

Let me put it differently. Customer expectations are growing, and it was natural to address them. So we acquired vendors as part of our acquisition of the body building business. We are generally happy with our suppliers in India.

In India there were some accidents involving Volvo buses. Has this prompted any change?

We are working with the authorities to address the legal issues. When an accident happens, the government looks into it. At our end, we have a global team that looks into it. We took Indian accidents quite seriously. We designed a coach concept to have options that are also found in other markets. We are also offering options as per active regulations. We are a global company and offer
global solutions.

There have been experiments in the area of buses powered by alternate fuels. Are you also looking at an alternative to fossil fuel?

We did an analysis, which showed that future driveline sustainability will stem from electric solutions. It had to be less polluting and more efficient. We looked at hybrid, which we are producing since 2009. We have delivered 5,000 hybrid and fully electric buses. Under the hybrid portfolio we also looked at electric hybrid. We recently introduced a full-electric bus at Gothenburg in Sweden. Electric solutions will gradually take over as a urban mobility source for reducing CO2 emissions, noise, etc. Electric solutions are confined to infrastructure. Hybrid therefore looks like a sustainable infrastructure. Three cornerstones for us include hybrid, hybrid-electric and electric. We are offering battery per km cost so that the customers know, and we want to create common infrastructure. We have sold hybrids all over the world. We are trying them in parts of Asia. We are in dialogue with the government to participate. We believe that some of our competitors are also trying new solutions. Some of these may have failed to find sustenance in
other markets.

Good growth to embrace off-highway equipment sector in 2016

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Subdued demand in the off-highway sector has led to an amount of restlessness. Expectations are that 2016 will be a year of growth on the back of an uptick in construction and mining activities.

Signs of gradual improvement is what the 2015 financial year has offered to the off-highway equipment sector. With a new government at the helm, some of the key developments that helped in the gradual improvement were a rise in business expectations, exports and recuperation of industrial production to a certain extent. Apart from steps like the industrial corridor development, an announcement to construct roads worth 8,500 km; build 16 new ports and waterways; airports in tier 1 and tier 2 cities through a PPP model, and broadening the financing base provided the necessary impetus. Impetus was also provided in the announcement during the last fiscal that the Japanese government will invest USD 35 billion in the country over the next five years to build smart cities and finance infrastructure projects. Japan would also provide financial, technical and operational support for the introduction of Bullet trains in India.

To boost infrastructure growth, which will in turn drive growth into the off-highway equipment sector, the government at the centre is known to be working towards easing the task of funding, expediting the approval process, de-bottling the system and simplifying the bureaucratic complexities. An uptick in the mining activity should provide immediate respite. It is no secret that last year was not the best year for off-highway equipment. Growth was modest. Demand for off-highway equipment (mining and construction equipment) contracted by over 15 per cent to 47,000 units from 72,100 units three years ago, in 2012. While the volume decline was felt across all product segments during the 2014 calendar year, segments such as backhoe loaders and heavy mobile cranes were some of the worst impacted. Wheel loaders, in comparison, fared a tad better. Road compaction equipment suffered a sharp slowdown in implementation of road projects during the election period in the first half of FY15. A moderate growth was recorded thereafter.

According to ICRA analysts, the off-highway equipment sector did not witness traction in demand during the first half of 2015 calendar year. Like 2014, the first half of this year too has been lack lustre, and mainly due to projects being stalled or shelved, or simply abandoned. There have been other sector specific issues too, including product viability due to promoter cash flow constraints. A report released by ICRA mentions that demand in the Indian off-highway equipment sector will pick up towards the end of the current fiscal (FY16). Growth will be in the region of six to seven per cent, followed by a sharper pick up of 20 to 25 per cent in FY17. According to ICRA sources, 2016 looks promising. It looks like a year that will bring good growth to most of the product segments as a result of the ongoing policy measures leading to absorption of surplus inventory in the market. Industry sources claim that the scale up in demand for the off-highway sector are often non-linear and is a reflection of assured job orders and cash flows that trigger strong buying. Developments in the coal mining sector is expected to provide some respite on an immediate basis. Pick up in road projects continues to be slow even though the government is known to be taking steps towards removing the road blocks. What is looking interesting is the pace of development that will touch the railways. Projects to lay new lines and modernise the existing network will drive growth into the off-highway sector claim sources. Even corporatisation of ports and the starting of work on building waterways.

While growth is being pursued, some interesting trends in the near past could prove useful. In the span of last six months, absolute demand for backhoes suffered significantly more than the demand for excavators. Equipment utilisation was found to be abysmally low at 50 to 60 per cent. Wide disparity in demand across several states was also observed apart from the return of few large contractors in niche pockets. Ironically, the efforts put in by the government at the centre to extend easier funding did not seem to turn real. This was attributed to the rising delinquencies, making equipment financing a potential constraint for the market. A ray of hope continues, and an example is the environmental clearance granted for Mumbai’s coastal road project by the environment ministry at the centre. In the pipeline for the last five years, this project, expected to be based on the PPP model, is valued at Rs. 8,500 crore and will span over 35 km from Nariman Point to Kandivali.

Among equipment, it is the volume-driven backhoe loaders that are expected to record a slight growth in the 2015 calendar year. The backhoe market has been declining for the last four years. Excavator are expected to record a 10 per cent growth during the current calendar year. According to ICRA analysts, reforms on the cards are expected to support performance of the user industries. Meaningful recovery however is expected only in the next calendar year. Also worth considering at this point in time is the transition between backhoes, excavators and wheel loaders. One of the worst performers in the off-highway equipment industry, cranes are expected to witness a dull period ahead, due to supply glut. Some recovery, claim ICRA analysts, is expected in the lower capacity segments towards the later part of the year. A low volume and diversified user product demand recovery for dumpers is expected to be in the range of 10 to 15 per cent in the second half of the calendar year 2015. Characterised by low volumes, growth in the dozer segment largely hinges on an uptick in mining activities. Moderate pick-up is expected in the second half of the 2015 calendar year.

A sense of restlessness prevails. Demand revival continues to evade most stakeholders in the off-highway equipment sector. Dealers have witnessed a de-growth in sales volumes during the first four months of this year claim ICRA analysts. A good deal of them are yet to feel the impact of the policy measures announced by the government at the centre. Hope remains, and that projects will gain speed against the current scenario where machine utilisation levels are low. A deficient monsoon could spoil the party as off-highway equipment manufacturers as well as those that make tractors continue to focus upon the rural markets of the country. Growth there has been dull, and resulted in the tractor industry facing one of its worst performing years. Domestic tractor sales volume growth declined by 8.3 per cent during the first nine months of FY15 in response to unfavorable, underlying short term drivers. In the first half of last fiscal, the tractor segment exhibited mixed trends, and posted a sharp decline of 21.8 per cent in the third quarter of the 2015 fiscal year over the corresponding period last year. Conditions among the domestic farm community have been depressed. Some of the key reasons being non-seasonal rains that led to crop damage and lower crop prices to farmers. Non-agri pull for tractors has been dull too. Mainly on account of the dullness that has been prevailing in the infrastructure sector.

Clearly discounts have been at play to keep the sales momentum going. If this is worthy of a comparison with the way sales are driven in the truck and bus segment by offering discounts, the export market for tractors recorded fair growth in FY15. It grew by 19.7 per cent in the 9 months (three quarters) of FY15 in comparison to the growth in the corresponding period during the
last fiscal.

Eicher-Polaris launches Multix utility vehicle

Article by: Gaurav Nagpal

Eicher Polaris Pvt. Ltd., a 50:50 joint venture between Eicher Motors Ltd. and Polaris Industries Inc., has launched the Multix utility vehicle (UV). Positioned as India’s first personal utility vehicle (PUV), the Multix is targeted at independent businessmen and seats five people apart from offering cargo space of up to 1,918 litres, with the rear bench folded away. X-PORT power take off (PTO), which generates up to 3 kW, and can be used for lighting homes and powering professional equipment (like drilling machines, DJ systems and water pumps). Multix is powered by a Greaves four-stroke single-cylinder BS3-compliant 511 cc diesel engine developing 9.92 PS at 3,000 rpm and 27.1 Nm at 1,400-2,200 rpm. The company claims a mileage of 28.45 kmpl under test conditions.

Speaking on the occasion, Siddhartha Lal, MD and CEO, Eicher Motors Ltd., said that the untapped segment of independent businessmen was the target of the, “new and strongly differentiated automotive solution,” in the form of the Multix. The total investment in the project so far is Rs.350 crore.

Mike Dougherty, VP, Asia Pacific and Latin America, Polaris Industries Inc., averred that the partnership sought to, “build on the synergies of our core competencies in order to bring a valuable and effective automotive solution to India”.

The Multix is equipped with an independent suspension system, and has a 225 mm ground clearance. Tubular frame structure, roll-over protection system (ROPS) and a Flexituff body.

Commenting on the launch, Radhesh C Verma, CEO, Eicher Polaris Pvt. Ltd., said, “The Multix is a true ground up innovation, where all aspects of value proposition delivery – encompassing the vehicle, its accessories, the retail experience, and the service – have been duly considered and set norms have been challenged.”

Initially to be launched in 30 cities, deliveries of the Multix will commence in August. The vehicle has reportedly been tested for the equivalent of over 18,00,000 km for off-road reliability, safety and durability.

The Multix will be manufactured at a new facility at Kukas, Rajasthan. Spread over 25 acres this facility has an annual capacity of 60,000 units, scalable to 1,20,000 units, outfitted with robotic weld lines and an in-house paint system.

The Multix will be available in two variants – AX+ (open doorways and storage space) and MX (full doors and windows, optional rear cover). The AX+ is priced at Rs.2.32 lakh and the MX at Rs.2.72 lakh (both ex-showroom Jaipur). It will be available in four colours – Red, White, Silver and Yellow.

Isuzu’s D-Max cab-chassis follows fully-built version

Article by: Desiree Pereira

To address a larger chunk of the pickup market in India, Isuzu has introduced a cab-chassis version of the D-Max.

Isuzu India has introduced a cab-chassis version of its D-Max pickup truck to allow its buyers to modify it such that it better suits their business needs. “Currently, the pick-up cab-chassis market size is growing. Since this variant offers a customer the flexibility to build different types of bodies, for different applications, it has substantial potential,” says Capt. Shankar Srinivas, Head – Communications, Isuzu Motors India. With the Indian pickup truck market expected to grow four times in the next eight years to nearly eight lakh units, Capt. Shankar’s opinion that the cab-chassis version will find home in a number of applications hints at a market that is growing, and yet also changing in terms of perception as well as performance. The most prevalent being refrigerated vans and cash vans. These along with some other application types would be tough to build on flat deck pickup. “We are witnessing an increase in the number of customers looking for a cab-chassis variant. Isuzu Motors India has taken cognisance of this trend and is therefore offering the cab-chassis variant,” explains Capt. Srinivas.

Structured on a heavy-duty chassis, and with a cabin that is made up of high-tensile steel, Isuzu India is keen to let the buyer build a body that suits his business requirements. Powered by a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 136 PS of power at 3600 rpm, and 294 Nm of peak torque at 1800-3200 rpm, the D-Max, in the cab-chassis form will be subjected to the body building abilities of various body builders in the country. Given the cost sensitive nature of the market, and the pressure a body builder is subjected to in terms of costs, a questions arises. Will the body builders do justice, both in terms of the quality of build, and the ability to build a vehicle that will satisfy the requirements of the buyer to the fullest?

Some body builders have already built bodies on the D-Max. Navi-Mumbai based Randhawa for example built a reefer body on a D-Max early this year. If body builders like Randhawa are part of the organised body building industry, there are numerous others that are a part of the unorganised side of the business. What if an Isuzu D-Max cab-chassis buyer turns to them to build a appropriate body? Will such a body builder be able to build a body of good quality, and without damaging the chassis or the cab? Questions remain. Capt. Shankar also admits, that improper body building may jeopardise the complete operation. It could even damage the chassis. “Some key aspects like quality, safety and the use of non-standard materials could cause some issues with respect to vehicle bodies. For instance, a vehicle having a dry container built beyond a specific height or width could damage the vehicle, if driven at high speeds,” he adds. To avoid such developments, and to safe guard the interest of the D-Max cab-chassis buyer, the company has designed a standard set of guidelines for building vehicle bodies. The guidelines are so engineered that following them will ensure that all critical elements are considered. For the safety of the driver, goods and the vehicle. “The guidelines will help customers to ensure vehicle chassis is not damaged, and at the same time offer them the flexibility of building a vehicle that suits their need,” says Capt. Srinivas.

Isuzu-India has also introduced an air-conditioned cab version of the D-Max. The air-conditioner is fitted at the factory, and is expected to find 

appeal with those who would buy a D-Max for business as well as recreational use. If a 4×4 model will be offered is not known yet. Chances of it arriving anytime soon look bleak. For, Isuzu India is currently concentrating on expanding its dealer network. To increase its reach, the company plans to open 60 outlets across India by end of this financial year. It currently has 21 dealership facilities at Delhi, Noida, Jaipur, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Madurai, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Cochin, Calicut, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Gurgaon, Indore, Vadodara and Kolkata.

By the second quarter of this financial year, the manufacturing facility of Isuzu India is expected to go on stream. It is being built at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh. Construction commenced in January 2014. If the current manufacturing setup at Hindustan Motor’s plant at Chennai posed some constraint, the plant at Sri City going on stream will help the company to better reach out to its customer base. The plant will have an initial production capacity of 50,000 units per annum. This will be scaled up to 1,20,000 units per annum in the next three to four years. Having sold over 1000 units till date, the cab-chassis and air-conditioned version should widen the appeal of the D-Max.