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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code