Isuzu Motors' first car plant in South India to produce light commercial vehicles and sports utility vehicles is expected to become operational by 2016, Isuzu Motors India president and managing director Takashi Kikuchi said.

The company, which supplies diesel engines for Hindustan's ancient ['50s Morrris Oxford based] Ambassador, has rolled out its first locally assembled MU7 SUV from that automaker's Thiruvallur plant near Chennai, the Economic Times of India reported. 

Isuzu has a contract manufacturing agreement with Hindustan for the MU-7 and Kikuchi said the company would continue the deal after the new plant in Sri City opens in 2016. 

Declining to elaborate, he said: "We are still in planning stage (of what will be manufactured in Sri City)." 

The company wants to increase MU-7 localisation to 70% when its own plant becomes operational, executive vice-president Shigeru Wakabayashi said. 

"After three years (by 2019), we want to have 100% localisation," he added, saying the company would look at manufacturing one tonne pickup trucks at the new factory. 

The firm would supply India from the Hindustan Thiruvallur plant, he said, but would look at exports from Sri City after 2016. 

Isuzu Motors India had earlier sold 180 MU-7s in India as completely built up units (CBUs).

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