Ashok Leyland gets BS VI ready, plans overseas business expansion

by Sumantra B Barooah 04 Nov 2019


Chennai-based commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland today showcased its range of Bharat Stage VI trucks and buses. The company says it has received certification from the Automotive Research Association of lndia (ARAI) for BS VI compliance and has become the first Indian OEM to meet the new emission norms across the full range of heavy duty trucks (GVW of 16.2 tonnes and above). The company says it will begin production for BS VI-compliant CVs from January 2020.

Ashok Leyland is deploying a combination of iEGR, SCR and DPF to meet BS VI emission norms. It claims the technology combination offers "better margin to meet future norms" as SCR doesn't have to operate in optimal capacity. This move is in contrast to its peers, who are betting on the SCR and DPF combination to meet the stringent BSVI norms. For smaller engines, mainly for LCVs, Ashok Leyland may use LNT (Lean NOx Trap) instead of iEGR to bring down technology cost. 

Along with the BSVI ready engines, Ashok Leyland has also unveiled its new highly modular M&HCV platform. Both aim at  projecting Ashok Leyland as an innovative OEM with strong in-house R&D capabilities to meet market specific needs. From April 1, 2020, Ashok Leyland will have a single platform for all its M&HCVs. It currently has three.

Ashok Leyland says its BS VI technology, with a compact after-treatment compartment uses less AdBlue, has better total cost of ownership and return on investment as a core philosophy. It also offers better margin for future norms like RDE (real world driving emissions) that's coming up. 

Commenting on the new BS VI vehicles, Dheeraj G Hinduja, chairman, Ashok Leyland, said: "Ashok Leyland has a rich legacy of technological innovations, be it the in-line pump for BS-III or the iEGR for BS IV. In focus with our aspirations of being amongst the top 10 global commercial vehicle makers, we have yet again come up with an innovative technology to address BS VI norms.."

Anuj Kathuria, COO, Ashok Leyland, said, "We have developed an entire new modular vehicle platform for the M&HCV range and are confident of meeting the increasingly dynamic customer requirements, with multiple options of loading spans, cabins, suspensions, and drivetrains. These combinations would be offered to the customers through a custom built product configurator. With the highly competent line-up we are offering, we are also enhancing the competency of our sales and service workforce through rigorous internal training and dealer mechanic training. "

Dr N Saravanan, CTO, Ashok Leyland said, "We have effectively met the BS-VI emission limits through a combination of proven iEGR and a best-in-class SCR system, while making minimal changes in the engine. All this ensures that we build upon our dependable engine platforms and deliver better TCO to our customers. Our priority is to provide efficient, clean, safe, accessible, and an affordable value proposition to our customers. We have been testing this new technology and have successfully covered over five million kilometres of field running."

"Once we are BS VI ready, the whole world is available for us (as a market)," added Dr Saravanan.

Ashok Leyland to enter Russia soon 
Meanwhile, Ashok Leyland is eyeing gains from the export market. Every made-in-India new platform truck will also have a left-hand-drive version, essentially targeted at overseas markets. 

The company plans to enter the Russian CV market with fully built vehicles within the next 12 months. It has already exported aggregates for buses to a firm in Russia. It also has Indonesia, Malaysia and some other markets on its radar and will look to tie up with local partners for new markets.  

Ashok Leyland, ranked 24th globally in terms of sales volume, has an ambitious plan to be in the top 10 list in less than nine years from now. With an estimate of all other major CV OEMs growing at 3-4 percent annually, Ashok Leyland expects itself to reach an annual sales volume of around 400,000 units to be among the top 10. That is double its annual sales during the last financial year. With LCVs contributing to around 70 percent of the global CV industry, Ashok Leyland, which sells around 35 percent of its volumes in the LCV segment, will have to be a much more stronger player with presence in multiple sub-segments, to realise its ambition. That will be the job for another platform (with multiple models), named Phoenix, and perhaps with a little different emission control technology than its heavier sibling.