Japanese automotive company Isuzu Motors on Monday laid the foundation stone for its greenfield manufacturing facility in the Sri City industrial park in Andhra Pradesh, located about 60 km from Chennai.

The₹3,000-crore project, which will manufacture Sports Utility Vehicles and pick-up trucks initially, will enable Isuzu Motors to tap into the growing domestic market as well as serve some of the markets in the region.

The foundation stone and ground-breaking ceremony was symbolically held at Hyderabad in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, senior officials from Isuzu and Mitsubishi Corporation, and Masanori Nakano, the Consul-General of Japan, who is based in Chennai.

The plant will have an initial capacity to manufacture 50,000 units a year. This will be gradually ramped up to 120,000 units. Isuzu hopes to commission the plant by April 2016.

‘Significant step’ Hideyuki Nabeshima, Member of the Board and Senior Executive Vice-President, Mitsubishi Corporation, said India has been chosen as a strategic region and the plant is a significant step in expanding the presence of Japanese companies.

Reddy said for Andhra Pradesh this was a major investment, and the first by a car company. He hoped more such companies will invest in the State. soon from the manufacturing unit so that he could also acquire one.

The Japanese company is currently assembling its big SUV MU-7 and pick-up truck D-Max at the contract manufacturing unit of Hindustan Motors in Chennai.

Corridor The Consul-General of Japan said bilateral trade between India and Japan is expected to get a boost as more Japanese companies are expected to expand their presence in India.

Referring to the Japanese Premier’s visit recently, he said this was significant in the backdrop of greater cooperation between the two countries He said a master plan prepared by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency on the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and its potential will be ready by the end of the year.