Since Isuzu’s D-Max V-Cross costs close to Rs. 30 lakh for its top-spec variant, here we analyse the future possibilities in the lifestyle pickup truck space
The lifestyle pickup truck segment has never really got going in India despite some manufacturers giving it a try. The launch of the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross’ BSVI version got us thinking about how things could actually change for good. The private customer based pickup truck space is highly popular in many of the developed as well as emerging markets.
More closely, the Southeast Asian markets, some of them having similar driving conditions as India, have a large base of lifestyle pickup trucks from top draw manufacturers like Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Isuzu, and others. The BSVI compliant Isuzu D-Max V-Cross is offered in four variants namely Hi-Lander, Z 2WD AT, Z 4WD MT and Z Prestige 4WD AT.
It is priced between Rs. 16.98 lakh and Rs. 24.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Tamil Nadu). The on-road price of the top-spec variant will go all the way to Rs. 30 lakh and this makes us wonder if there is light at the end of the tunnel. The segment remains largely unexplored despite Isuzu being around in India for five years with the D-Max V-Cross.
In addition, we heard recent speculations that the Ford Ranger could be brought into the country via CBU route taking advantage of the homologation relaxations. The Ranger is based on the same platform as the body-on-frame Endeavour SUV while the top-selling Toyota Fortuner shares its IMV platform with the highly popular global Hilux pickup truck.
With customers not shying away from paying a premium for what they want, the lifestyle pickup truck could be looked into as a possible option due to its practicality, off-road abilities, apparently the suppleness dealing with the customisation and the undeniable road presence. Just as the Ranger, the Hilux is also being evaluated for India.
If locally manufactured, aggressive pricing can be expected but the chances of the big players testing waters by debuting them as CBU imports are highly at least initially. Hyundai recently introduced the global Tucson-based Santa Cruz pickup while MG sells the Extender and Mahindra’s SsangYong Musso based on Rexton G4 is also in the business abroad. In the near future, things could really open up in the pickup truck space but who gets the first-mover advantage perhaps holds the key for success!