Two years after it launched the Bada Dost light commercial vehicle, Ashok Leyland has introduced two new offerings in the range – the Bada Dost i1 and i2. The Chennai-based OEM has also launched a limited edition, which has a slew of new features including central locking feature, keyless entry and anti-theft features, normally seen in passenger vehicles.
The i1 and i2 will offer a payload of 1250 kg and 1425 kg respectively. They have been designed to offer a deck of 1750mm width and longest deck of 2596 mm (8.5 ft) for i1 and 2745 mm (9 ft) for i2 respectively, which, the company says is the highest in the category. Both the vehicles have been designed to have a low turning radius for better suitability for inter and intra-city applications and ease of adaptability to different terrains.
Dheeraj Hinduja, Executive Chairman, Ashok Leyland said, “LCVs are a key growth area for Ashok Leyland, and the Bada Dost Range will play a pivotal role in expanding our domestic as well as international sales and propel us in our journey to achieve our vision of being a Global Top 10 commercial vehicle manufacturer.”
Rajat Gupta, Head – LCV, Ashok Leyland said, “ We have 35,000 vehicles successfully running today showcasing the strength of this range. These new products will expand our offerings and cover a wider range of payload capacity and applications, thereby strengthening our LCV portfolio. Our aim is to continue to aggressively gain market share in the LCV segment.”
The two new offerings also feature an ARAI-certified 3-seater walkthrough cabin in addition to the widest cabin in this segment. The wide seat design can be converted into a bed that can be used to rest comfortably in between trips. Also, the vehicle is equipped with an airconditoner, which will allow customers to drive additional distances in summer.
Focus on alternate fuels
Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hinduja Group, is also aggressively driving its alternate fuels strategy through developing vehicles to run on CNG, LNG, hydrogen and electric. It is understood that within the next six months, the company also introduce an electric LCV.
To further its electric drive, Ashok Leyland will leverage synergies with Switch Mobility, its electric bus and light commercial vehicle subsidiary, and benefits from dedicated teams at Switch Mobility sites in Leeds, UK and in Chennai. Earlier this month, on August 18, Switch Mobility unveiled India’s first electric double-decker bus – the Switch EiV 22.
As per a PTI report, Dheeraj Hinduja said: "Globally, LCVs account for 70% of the commercial vehicle market and in our current portfolio we are ready to address this. These products have been designed with a view to exporting to many global markets helping us to get closer in our vision of being the top 10 markets as global commercial vehicle maker.”
The recent upswing in the e-commerce sector along with the change in purchasing habits have resulted in an increase in last-mile transport requirements, which have accelerated demand for small trucks. This is also supported by the agriculture sector, he said and added: "We expect 8-10% growth in the LCV segment."
Uptick in Indian economy and spend powers demand
As per official SIAM industry domestic market wholesales data, in the first quarter of FY2023 (April-June 2002), Ashok Leyland’s domestic M&HCV volumes grew at 189 % to 22,740 units (Q1 FY2022: 7,860) while market share rose to 305 from 27% a year ago. Truck market share stands at 31.1% for Q1 FY2023 as against 26.2% in Q1 FY2022.
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