Japanese auto-maker Isuzu Motors, which is currently establishing its operations in India, is mulling setting up of a diesel engine plant in the country.
According to an Isuzu official, the company is looking for land for the purpose. “We have not finalised it yet.” The company is globally known for its diesel engine capabilities.
It also specialises in the manufacture of light commercial vehicles or LCVs and sports utility vehicles (SUVs). Last month, it announced an investment of `3,000 crore for setting up a factory near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh for making its pick-ups and SUVs for the Indian market.
Takashi Kikuchi, MD, Isuzu Motors India, confirmed that the company is indeed considering setting up a diesel engine plant as part of its larger expansion plans for India. This, he said, would help increase localisation of its vehicles.
However, there is no clarity on the investment size.
Despite being one of the late entrants, Isuzu is betting big on its India operations. The new facility at Sri City, Hyderabad, will come up in 2015-16. Its initial capacity of 50,000 units per year would be increased to 1 lakh units in three years. Isuzu plans to have 70% localisation at this planned facility, which would be increased to 100% eventually.
Isuzu had said its India operations could become an export hub. “Our target from India would be neighbouring countries, South Asia and Africa,” Kikuchi had said.
Isuzu is already assembling its MU-7 SUV and the D-Max pick-up truck at the Hindustan Motors (HM) plant at Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu.
The HM plant has a capacity of manufacturing 5,000 units per year.
Isuzu’s India connection dates back to the late 1980s when it formed a joint venture with HM for manufacturing engines and transmissions for the Contessa at Pithampur near Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
The JV initially made petrol engines, but later started manufacturing diesel engines for the Contessa and Ambassador cars.