On solo drive, Ashok Leyland charts own LCV journey

On solo drive, Ashok Leyland charts own LCV journey

On solo drive, Ashok Leyland charts own LCV journey

In a bid to create a full-fledged portfolio of commercial vehicles in India and abroad, Ashok Leyland has planned to expand its light commercial vehicle (LCV) range, even as it draws a greater geographic market strategy.

“Till very recently, our range comprised only the 2.5-tonne truck Dost, of which, we sold 30,695 units between April 2015 and March 2016, taking an India market share of 15%.

On January 18, we launched the 7.2-tonne truck PARTNER, thereby expanding our LCV portfolio,” Ashok Leyland President (Light Commercial Vehicles) Nitin Seth said
The company further enhanced its range this week, when it launched the 28-seater bus ‘MiTR’, targeted at school and staff transport applications.

It must be noted that Ashok Leyland Vehicles ended its 50:50 JV with Nissan of Japan on September 7, 2016, acquiring the latter’s stake, along with intellectual property rights and technologies. “India has the potential to grow as a strong market for LCVs, and we wanted to bring in more products too. Under the JV, we weren’t able to get more products,” Seth told DH.

Accordingly, post the stake acquisition, the company planned to diversify beyond its existing range of heavy 7.5- to 49-tonne trucks, and 36- to 79-seater buses, eyeing the booming day-to-day usage LCVs.

The LCV market in India stands at 400,000 unit sales a year, which would grow to 600,000 unit sales in three years, growing at over 7%. “For Ashok Leyland to grow further, we need some (LCV) products to push our presence. Going forward, we will have products across the three said platforms (Dost, PARTNER and MiTR), and plan to reach 100,000 unit sales in four years. As part of our strategy, we want to expand globally as well, beyond SAARC. There is demand coming from the Middle East, Africa, ASEAN, Russia and Ukraine, wherein we’re also eyeing left-hand-drive markets,” Seth said.

The company will be producing its LCV range at its Hosur plant, where the capacity for the Dost stands at 50,000 units at present. With its plans going ahead, Ashok Leyland may either expand the said facility, or open a greenfield site near Chennai, which was earlier a part of the erstwhile JV.