Swedish commercial vehicle major Volvo has launched its UD brand buses in India, targeting value segment that is currently dominated by local players like Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors.
The company has handed over its first two Volvo UD buses to Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) today.
Volvo has launched its UD range buses for the value segment to address a huge potential in the economically priced mass bus market in India.
The state-owned public sector transport corporation BMTC has taken the UD buses for trial runs to operate in Bangalore city.
After handing over two Volvo UD buses to BMTC, Akash Passey, Senior Vice President of Volvo, told presspersons, “Today marks the global launch of our UD buses in India with two buses given to BMTC for trial runs.”
He said the UD buses will be assembled in the company’s manufacturing plant in Hosakotta near Bangalore. “Since we made huge investments in Karnataka, it is natural that we have given our first UD buses to BMTC for trial runs.”
The UD bus targets the value segment in India and the pricing and other details will be announced later. However, he indicated that the UD buses will be priced anywhere lesser by 30-40 percent compared to its premium buses in India.
He also said the company’s Hosakotta plant has a capacity to manufacture 1,500 buses per annum and the company is under preparation for the mass production of UD buses at its Indian plant. The company is likely to add a separate assembly line at its Hosakotta plant for UD buses, he added.
Flagging-off the bus service at BMTC depot today, Karnataka State Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy told media persons that BMTC will run these buses on trial basis for some time. If satisfied with the performance, the government will consider placing commercial orders to purchase these buses.
Dr Ekroop Caur, Managing Director, BMTC, said the transport corporation earlier bought premium city buses from Volvo for its service in Bangalore city. For the past two years, she said the BMTC is not buying premium buses.
The Volvo UD buses are for the mid segment with semi low floor option but loaded with several latest technologies. She said the 12 meter UD bus is powered with 230 hp 8-litre 6-cyclilnder diesel engine compatible to Euro IV (Bharat IV) emission norm with a turbo charger and intercooler. The Air-conditioned UD buses will be operated on trial basis in Bangalore city route.
The current fleet size of BMTC stands at around 6,500 buses, of which Volvo accounts for 700 premium buses. Ashok Leyland is playing a major role in BMTC’s fleet with its 3,500 units of buses followed by 2,500 units of Tata Motors brand vehicles.
Sharing their insight on the new Volvo UD buses with Automotive India News, India-based auto industry analysts said the value segment in the Indian market is currently dominated by the commercial vehicles manufactured by local players like Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. With Volvo coming into the value segment with high technology backed vehicles , the economically priced bus segment will witness brutal competition between Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Volvo.