Would it make sense for Isuzu Philippines to to join the passenger van market?
When it comes to passenger vans or people carriers, the first two vehicles that immediately come to mind are the Toyota HiAce and the Nissan Urvan NV350. Sure, there was the Mitsubishi L300 Versa van from before, but the automaker has now shifted its focus on the FB Body.
Then there's Foton which offers the Transvan and Traveller line of people carriers. While some might say they're not as popular as Toyota or Nissan's vans, most transport groups also use Foton's people carriers to help commuters get to their destinations.
With brands like Toyota, Nissan, and to an extent Foton essentially cornering the passenger van market, we started asking ourselves why doesn't Isuzu have a people carrier that can rival the Hiace, Urvan, and Transvan/Traveller. With Isuzu specializing in making body-on-frame, turbo-diesel vehicles that can haul both cargo and passengers with ease, they have the capability and means to build such a vehicle.
Curious, we asked an executive from Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) why the brand hasn't thought about making a passenger van that could take on its closest rivals. According to the executive (who wished to remain anonymous), they also wonder why Isuzu doesn't have a vehicle that can compete with the likes of the Hiace and Urvan. They could easily modify the platform of the D-Max/mu-X and detune the 3.0-liter 4JJ3-TCX turbo-diesel engine in order to use it for a people carrier.
However, the executive also mentioned that Isuzu is satisfied with what they're offering in the passenger vehicle segment; namely the pickup truck market where the D-Max is competing, and the midsize 7-seater SUV segment wherein the mu-X is participating.
But what about the Isuzu i-Van that the automaker used to offer? Well, that particular people carrier is actually based on the NHR (or N-Series) light truck platform and comes with a body shell made by Centro Manufacturing Corporation. Despite its large size, it has a flat roof which allows it to be a Class 1 vehicle when going through expressways. Powering the i-Van was a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine that makes a respectable 91 PS with 196 Nm of torque and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Despite Isuzu having no plans to make a people carrier to take on the likes of the Hiace and Urvan, do you think Isuzu is missing out on this particular segment? Let us know in the comments what you think.