Ashok Leyland is developing left-hand drive light commercial vehicles (LCVs) to enter overseas markets including Russia in larger scale.
First, the commercial vehicle maker will enter into the Russian market with its newly developed left-hand drive LCVs, which are expected to be launched in January 2018.
Introducing Dost + LCV in Bangalore today, Nitin Seth, President, LCVs, Ashok Leyland, said, “Ashok Leyland will increase its focus on overseas LCV market that dominates with left-hand drive vehicles.”
The company will be exporting its left-hand drive LCV models like Partner and Mitr to Russia by next year. Currently Ashok Leyland is manufacturing only right-hand drive LCVs for the domestic market and the same are being exported to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the countries that adopt same driving pattern as in India.
The Hinduja Group-owned vehicle maker exports around 10 percent of its LCVs to these countries and the export share will jump up to 25 percent when it launches left-hand drive LCVs in the coming months, Seth added.
He also said the Dost + with 2.75t Gross Vehicle Weight will address the needs of the upper end of Small commercial Vehicle (SCV) segment and has a payload capacity of 1.475T. Its price starts at Rs 5.68 lakh (ex-showroom Bangalore).
The new vehicle will be launched in phased manner across the country. Already it was launched in Telangana and now in Karnataka.
At present, 1.7 lakh DOSTs are on Indian roads. With the introduction of Dost +, the company’s LCV sales is expected to expand significantly.
Globally LCVs account for 70 percent of total vehicle sales and it stands at 60 percent in India. Hence, Ashok Leyland has decided to concentrate more on LCV business in the coming years.
The company has earmarked to invest around Rs 400 crore in its LCV business in the next 18 months and has decided to launch one new product in LCV segment in every six months.
Ashok Leyland sold around 33,000 DOSTs in 2016. The commercial vehicle maker has been manufacturing LCVs at its production facility in Hosur in Tamil Nadu. The Hosur plant has an annual capacity of 50,000 units and the company has been already manufacturing close to 40,000 LCVs there.
“When need arises we may expand our production capacity in Hosur or we may look at our Greenfield site in Oragadam near Chennai,” he said.