Friday, April 21, 2017
Could This Be the Future of the Jeepney?
The jeepney is a part of Philippine road culture. And while coming up with a vehicle made up of scrap parts may seem like a moment of ingenuity for Filipinos, it’s now facing some challenges thanks to stricter safety and emissions regulations.
With the Jeepney Modernization Program moving forward, the Department of Transportation seeks to ban all jeepneys 15 years and older from plying the streets. Could this spell the end for the jeepney? With e-jeepneys still not a realistic option, Centro Manufacturing Corporation has come up with a modern interpretation of the jeepney, but this time powered by a traditional diesel engine.
Based on the Isuzu NHR light-truck platform, Centro Manufacturing’s modern jeepney prototype can seat a maximum of 17 passengers (it can be lengthened to accommodate 23 passengers) and is powered by a 2.8-liter diesel engine. Though it still has the traditional jeepney’s perimeter-style seating, Centro’s version has its entrance on the passenger’s side for safer ingress/egress. It also has doors on both sides of the front cab, something rarely seen in traditional jeepneys.
Centro Senior Sales Manager Vic Belisario said that Centro chose the Isuzu NHR light truck platform because it is already tried and tested for Philippine roads in terms of endurance and durability. In fact, it’s the very same chassis that Centro uses to create the Isuzu iVan, the country’s first microbus conversion which first came out in 2011.
“It makes sense that the jeepney will be powered and produced by Isuzu since the majority of the jeepneys around the country now use Isuzu engines”, says Hiroto Nakaguro, head of Sales Department of Isuzu Philippines Corporation. “Since Isuzu is popular among transport operators and drivers, they are confident with Isuzu as a brand. They know that if it is Isuzu, then it is meant to be a workhorse –heavy duty and reliable”.
Since it’s brand-new, the Isuzu-Centro jeepney carries with it not just a robust warranty and after-sales support, but it can also be financed through banks.
The Isuzu-Centro jeepney prototype is currently on display at the 2017 Isuzu Truck Fest at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City until April 23, 2017.