The recent implementation of the Euro-4 emissions requirement for all new vehicles has forced some of the most popular choices for families and businesses (Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure, Mitsubishi L300) into retirement.
Isuzu Philippines, after recently discontinuing the long-running Crosswind, is looking into the possibility of bringing in another vehicle to fill in the gap left by the ubiquitous L300 from Mitsubishi, and possibly even compete against the Canter.
At the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS), Isuzu Philippines Corporation displayed the VT02, a closed business van with similar dimensions to the country's longest produced model.
While still technically a concept vehicle and not a production model, the VT02 is based on the Isuzu Traga from Indonesia. Isuzu envisions the VT02 as the future of business mobility as a lightweight truck concept.
The Traga is one of Isuzu Indonesia's smallest truck cab and chassis platforms. It's much smaller than the QKR platform. In fact, dimensions and specifications-wise, it's very close to the Mitsubishi L300. The VT02 shown by Isuzu Philippines is manufactured in Indonesia, as evidenced by the right-hand drive configuration of the model at PIMS.
Isuzu Philippines is very interested in the model and sees a wide range of applications for it in our market. First of all, it will slot right below the QKR and serve as an ideal business vehicle for small and medium enterprises. It can also serve as a viable platform for a Class 1 modern PUV. No official standards have been released for PUVMP Class 1 yet, however, judging by the consensus that it must be able to carry 12-13 passengers, the Traga with a passenger cabin could fit the bill.
There are a few obstacles, however, that must be overcome. First of all, the Traga is only manufactured in Indonesia in a right hand drive configuration. How it can be converted into a left-hand drive, and the accompanying factory retooling and training have yet to be determined. Second, its current engine, currently only Euro-2 compliant, must be modified to comply with Euro-4 emissions standards, or an alternative compliant engine must be found.
If these issues are solved, the Traga could potentially be a very popular choice in the country, further widening Isuzu's lead in the commercial segment over its competitors.