Ashok Leyland-Nissan to launch Stile, Dost variants in early October
September 24, 2013: The Ashok-Leyland Nissan joint venture, which launched the Dost small commercial vehicle about two years ago, will launch three more products between October 2013 and January 2014.
While the Stile will be launched in early October in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, the Partner LCV and bus will debut in January 2014, according to Nitin Seth, executive director, LCVs, Ashok-Leyland Nissan. These products are based on three platforms that form the basis of the Leyland-Nissan JV.
The company will also launch a CNG-powered Dost variant and a passenger variant (13-seater) in Delhi in early October. It has already conducted road shows ahead of the official launch and has delivered 100 CNG vehicles to dealers. The choice of Delhi is because the capital city is among India’s largest CNG markets.
Leyland hopes to leverage the festive season bonanza as it launches these vehicles. The Partner is based on a global Nissan offering that is sold as the Atlas in Japan, Europe and South East Asia. The bus (badged Civilian in Nissan’s line-up) will have 27- and 16-seater options. The Partner-based bus offering will target the tourist, school bus and BPO office segments.
Underlying All-Nissan’s LCV product launches is a strategy based on slightly higher pricing as compared to existing products as well as additional customer value add. The JV has leveraged Leyland’s vendor fraternity to achieve near-100 percent localisation.
Ashok Leyland-Nissan is also in the process of expanding its dealer network and will have around 175 to 180 outlets by the end of the current fiscal year, up from 130 at present. The dealer network has roped in people with a passenger car background, Seth added.
While the Stile will be made at Nissan’s Oragadam facility, the Partner products will roll out from Leyland’s Hosur unit. Plans for a separate unit to produce these vehicles are currently on hold pending an improvement in overall market conditions, sources said.
The Leyland-Nissan launches will come at a time when the LCV market that enjoyed a five-year bull run (and growing at 25 percent or so) has seen a negative growth over the last for months. OEMs are looking to salvage some of the situation as the festive season kicks off.
While the overall industry is witnessing a slowdown, the LCV business is expected to see an upside due to several factors including increasing urbanisation and the fact that the LCV segment is not capital goods based but based on consumer goods. The LCV market has benefitted from a slew of products that include the Tata Ace, Magic and its variants, Mahindra Maxximo and more recently, products from Ashok Leyland ( in partnership with Nissan).
The sector is expected to record sales of a million vehicles by 2016-17. At present, as compared to the global industry where LCVs account for 70 percent of the CV segment as the whole, the Indian figure is estimated at 55 percent.
April-August 2013 sales data reveals that LCV sales are down 7.76 percent to 184,944 units (Goods carriers: 163,249, Passenger carriers: 21,695) , compared to 200,496 units a year ago.
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