Latest Car News in India

Friday, January 31, 2014

By Kamal Swami

Partner new initiative from Ashok Leyland

Today is a red letter day in the history of Ashok Leyland Ltd, Indian second-biggest truck maker. For the first time in over 60 years of its existence, the company can boast of having the entire product range of trucks. It finally plugged the gap in its product portfolio and is now present across all major segments of the Indian commercial vehicle segment after it launched Partner - a light commercial vehicle that can carry load of 4 tonne. 
With this, the company is present at the less than 3.5 tonne LCV segment (through Dost), in the 3.5 to 7 tonne LCV segment (through Partner), 8 to 16 tonne segment (through Boss range of trucks) and in the 16 tonne and above (through Captain range). "We finally have the complete line up and the entire product range is refreshed. They have the latest generation power trains, brand new cabins and best in class fuel efficiency," said V Sumantran, vice-chairman, Ashok Leyland. The company also launched a LCV passenger carrier MiTR.
Ashok Leyland has for decades been a distant number two, after Tata Motors, in the Indian commercial vehicle space. It always had a strong presence in the medium and heavy trucking segment. It finally entered the LCV space through a joint venture with Nissan motor Company, Japan. The JV led to the launch of Dost and now Partner. Ashok Leyland's foray into LCV segment came at a time when the Indian truck industry was undergoing a metamorphosis with volumes shifting in favour of LCVs as against medium and heavy trucks. A decade ago the share of LCVs in the total vehicle population was 40 per cent. Today it is 68 per cent, said Sumantran.
Partner will be Indian first LCV with air-conditioned driver's cabins. The truck comes with 97 per cent local content and is targeted at food products retailers, courier companies and ambulances. With the launch of Partner and MiTR Sumantran announced that the first phase of LCV products from Ashok Leyland - Nissan joint venture is over. He said the next few years will see launch of variants to existing products.

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