Ashok Leyland, the second largest commercial vehicle maker in India, is gearing up to launch two new products.
The Chennai-based manufacturer, which has seen one of its best years of growth and profitability, has gained market share in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment. In 2015-16, the company had launched seven new products across product segments.
To give a fillip to its sales and fill the gaps in some segments, the company plans to initially launch two new products. The first notable launch is in the form of its Sunshine school bus, which will be followed by the Guru Intermediate Commercial Vehicle (ICV), both of which were displayed at the 2016 Auto Expo in February this year.
It is learnt that the company will commercially launch the school bus in Andhra Pradesh in early June, followed by other key markets in the country. The Guru is likely slated for launch in July 2016.
The next-generation Sunshine school bus is built a new platform which increased focus on safety and comfort for children. The Sunshine package also incorporates i-ALERT state-of-the-art tracking software through which parents can monitor their child’s movements and location on a real-time basis.
Commenting on the Sunshine schoolbus while announcing the company’s annual results on May 25, Vinod K Dasari, managing director, Ashok Leyland, said, “We are very proud of the Sunshine bus which has been designed by a team of 80 young engineers.”
Guru to lead the charge in ICV market
The Guru ICV is meant to plug the gaps in Ashok Leyland’s product range. “We traditionally have a lesser market share in the ICV segment. To strengthen this, we are launching the Sunshine bus and Guru in an attempt to fill the gaps in this key product segment. This will further improve our market share in the segment,” added Dasari.
Ashok Leyland has traditionally been strong in the medium bus market. According to industry estimates, the school bus segment accounts for nearly 20,000 units annually and is growing rapidly, while the medium bus market comprises nearly half of the school bus segment. With the new Sunshine, Ashok Leyland wants to up the ante in the segment.
In the ICV cargo segment, the company has the Ecomet range and the Boss constitutes the premium segment. However, in the value IVC segment which makes up almost half of the 30,000 unit-strong ICV segment, Ashok Leyland has only a basic presence. Now, this will change with the launch of the Guru.
The Guru, with the lowest kerb weight, offers the highest payload capability in its segment, a load body that offers the maximum volumetric capacity and can carry a higher volume of cargo on every trip. Its key features include aluminium alloy wheels and aluminium load body fitments. The H-Series CRS engine is claimed to offer best-in-class mileage, while the FIP system helps lower maintenance costs. Other highlights include better service intervals and lower lube consumption which, combined with best-in-class warranty and affordable AMC, ensure lower lifetime operating costs.
As the commercial vehicle industry is expected to post double-digit growth in FY2016-17 on the back of an improving government spend on infrastructure as also a better monsoon, manufacturers like Ashok Leyland are looking to strengthen their portfolio with new product launches.