Japanese automobile maker Isuzu expects its sales in India to grow around 60 per cent this year riding on strong demand for pick-up trucks in smaller cities and towns, according to a senior company official.
The company, which sells pick-up trucks and an SUV here in India, is also planning to scale up exports from its plant in Andhra Pradesh.
"In the short time that we have been present in India, we have been able to make gradual progress. Last year we doubled our sales to around 5,000 units. This year we are expecting a 60 per cent growth over it," Isuzu Motors India Deputy Managing Director and Executive Vice-President Ken Takashima told PTI.
Isuzu manufactures and sales pick-ups (passenger and commercial variants) and SUV here in the country. Its plant in Andhra Pradesh, which has an initial capacity of 50,000 units, became operational in April 2016.
When asked about the growth drivers, he said, "We are seeing an equal demand for both commercial and passenger variants."
In the last five years since its entry in India, IsuzuNSE 2.93 % has sold a total of 10,000 vehicles in the country.
What is encouraging in India, Takashima said, is the fact that there is good traction for the pick-ups in smaller cities and towns, where the company intends to enhance its footprint.
At present, the company has 35 outlets in different cities across India.
"Our intention is to strengthen service network as well so that we develop a long-standing relationship with our customers," Takashima said.
Commenting on the company's plans for exports from India, he said, "Right now, Isuzu's main plant in Thailand takes care of exports to most of the markets globally. What we are looking at is neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan, which we have started in a small way."
Moreover, he said, the company would consider countries like South Africa or markets in the Middle East, mostly the regions which are not served by the Thailand plant.
"Our plan is to scale up exports from India as well, although our primary focus will remain the market here," Takashima said.
On component sourcing in India for global operations, he said this has been an ongoing process and Isuzu would scale it up gradually to supply to global plants, specially to the Thailand units.
"We have around 100 vendors in India now and we have reached up to 70 per cent localisation in our single-cab pick-up. We intend to increase it further," he said.
The company has already started manufacturing engines from the plant in Andhra Pradesh, Takashima added.