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December 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Ashok Leyland-RAKIA Joint Venture’s vehicle factory inaugurated • To soon roll out the European AVIA range of trucks
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His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah today inaugurated the state-of-the-art vehicle factory of Ashok Leyland (UAE) Ltd, a joint venture between...

His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah today inaugurated the state-of-the-art vehicle factory of Ashok Leyland (UAE) Ltd, a joint venture between Ashok Leyland, the flagship of the Hinduja Group and the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), at Ras Al Khaimah. The function took place in the distinguished presence of His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, UAE, Dr. Khater Massaad, Chief Executive Officer, RAKIA, Mr. Srichand P. Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group, and other dignitaries from the Hinduja Family and senior management of Ashok Leyland.

The facility, which is UAE’s first vehicle factory, was dedicated to the people of RAK by His Highness at another event that closely followed the inauguration, where he also launched the AVIA range trucks manufactured by AVIA ASHOK LEYLAND LTD, Czech Republic. The vehicles will soon start rolling out from this facility at RAK.

“For the Hinduja Group, this event is an important step in reinforcing our presence in the Middle East”, said Mr. Srichand P. Hinduja. “The support and co-operation that we have received from His Highness and his Cabinet for getting this factory up and running has been overwhelming and it is our goal to make this a benchmark manufacturing facility in the world,” he added.

Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland, said: “This facility is an important building block in our quest to be a global player. Ashok Leyland has enjoyed a dominant position in the popular bus market of the Gulf region and therefore it was only natural for us to set up a manufacturing base closer to our customers. This facility will not only cater to the growing markets in GCC but also to African and in the event, European markets too.”

“This new facility will be a great fillip to the local economy,” said Dr. Khater Massaad, Chief Executive Officer, RAKIA. “It will provide more employment opportunities, world-class vehicles and the ‘Made-in-RAK’ tag will surely find great acceptance in the local markets which will in turn help the economy grow."

Set on over 100,000 square meters of land with a built up area of 20,000 sq. meters, the vehicle factory is a world-class facility with an initial annual capacity of 2,000 buses and trucks of international quality. There are two separate weld lines that can handle multiple models; a conveyorised paint line consisting of paint booth, baking zone and cooling zone, two conveyorised trim lines, an extremely flexible vehicle assembly line suitable for current and prospective models, supported by modern facilities to test multiple product features.

Capitalising on the built-in flexibility of the manufacturing facilities, the product range is being enlarged, with the production of trucks. In a significant move, the European brand of trucks, currently produced at Prague headquartered AVIA ASHOK LEYLAND MOTORS, are set to roll out from the Ras Al Khaimah plant. The D-Line series of AVIA trucks will complement Ashok Leyland’s medium and heavy duty trucks, in serving the traditional markets of Africa, UAE and neighbouring regions.

The launch models for the market are the D75-140, a 7.5 tonner powered by a 140 hp engine and the D120-180 (12 tonner, 180 hp engine), with wheel base options. Noted for its stylish aero dynamic contours, its clean, modern lines were designed by European Styling House I.D.E.A and Hawtal Whiting in the UK. Both the cab and chassis designs meet and exceed the most stringent of GCC legislation. The cab qualifies for crash test requirements as per ECE 29-02. AVIA cabs have the unique double zinc steel sheets with full immersion cataphoretic (ED) coating, for unbeatable corrosion protection. AVIA trucks would be the first in GCC to offer brake systems as per EU standards in the 7.5 tonne category. The well equipped cab is designed for high levels of driver comfort in the sophisticated European market. The menu of features includes air conditioning, electric windows, adjustable steering wheel and air suspended seat. The cab also has an air filter to purify the air entering the cab.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
ASHOK LEYLAND APPOINTS A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland, announced the appointment of Nitin Seth to the position of Executive Director – LCV. In this role, Nitin will work closely with the Ashok Leyland – Nissan Joint...

Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland, announced the appointment of Nitin Seth to the position of Executive Director – LCV. In this role, Nitin will work closely with the Ashok Leyland – Nissan Joint Venture to launch a new range of Light Commercial Vehicles in the market.

Nitin will operate under the direction of Dr. V. Sumantran, Executive Vice Chairman, Hinduja Automotive, who has been spearheading the Group’s growth in the LCV segment. He brings with him over two decades of experience in the automotive industry in sales and marketing.

Prior to joining Ashok Leyland he was in a key leadership role in the Car Product Group at Tata Motors.

Nitin is an alumnus at BITS Pilani and also the recipient of a Fulbright – CII Fellowship.

Monday, December 13, 2010
Ashok Leyland bags 600-vehicle order from VRL Logistics * Order worth over Rs. 125 crores * New dealership facility inaugurated
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Hinduja flagship, Ashok Leyland has bagged an order for 600 vehicles from VRL Logistics that comprise 500 numbers of 3123 Multi-Axle Vehicle (MAV) in the 8x2 configuration, a newly developed, first...

Hinduja flagship, Ashok Leyland has bagged an order for 600 vehicles from VRL Logistics that comprise 500 numbers of 3123 Multi-Axle Vehicle (MAV) in the 8x2 configuration, a newly developed, first of its kind for the Indian commercial vehicle industry, along with 100 nos. of the Company’s 12-metre buses. The order is cumulatively worth in excess of Rs. 125 crores, deliveries against which are expected to commence in a month’s time.

“Our entire business strategy revolves around a deeper understanding of our customers’ requirements and pain points to develop transport solutions that best meet their needs,” explained Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland. “A case in point is the 3123 (8x2) MAV that we have collaboratively developed with VRL, customized to suit their specific load-carrying requirements as India’s leading logistics company. The 3123 (8x2) is unique for it is the first time that a CRS engine is being offered on a vehicle platform in India. It is the only 31-tonner in the country with a 230 hp engine and its 30.5 feet load span makes it ideal to meet VRL’s requirement of weight and volume combination,” he added.

The 3123 (8x2) offers a higher rated payload and its 230 hp engine promises faster turnaround time that will together ensure higher productivity for its users. Ashok Leyland has been primarily responsible for creating the 31-tonne segment which is fast gaining acceptance across the country owing to the superior operating economics and better turnaround time that these trucks are able to deliver.

The 12-metre buses are also customized to meet VRL’s requirements and will be powered by 225 hp (BS III) CRS engines.

These 600 vehicles will be inducted into VRL’s fleet, 80% of which are Ashok Leyland vehicles.

Mr. Vijay Sankeshwar, Chairman, VRL Logistics said, “VRL has grown from a single truck company in 1976 to a leading logistics enterprise with a fleet of 2,691 vehicles, a 12,000+ strong team and operations spread across 911 branches covering 2,629 locations. Our growth has resulted both by constantly improving our internal efficiencies and, at the same time, drawing innovative product ideas and support from our partners, like Ashok Leyland, to create new product segments and drive growth for both partners.”

Elaborating on Ashok Leyland’s over three-decade-long relationship with VRL Logistics, Mr. Seshasayee added, “VRL has been a tough yet discerning customer to serve; they are a benchmark in terms of operations and maintenance. Our association has been a long and fruitful one and we are particularly proud to have been a part of their growth over the years.”

VRL Logistics’ association with Ashok Leyland goes beyond just vehicles to include areas like driver training, maintenance support and ‘Leyparts’ stocking facilities.

Among the many achievements of VRL is that they have been listed in the LIMCA Book of Records as the largest fleet operator in the private sector, and have also won the Best Logistics Provider for both the Retail and FMCG Sectors in 2009 by Frost & Sullivan Annual Logistics Benchmarking Award.

Mr. Seshasayee also inaugurated the new facility of Bellad Ashok Leyland, in Hubli today. Spread across over 80,000 square feet, of which 20,000 sq. ft is built-up area, this facility has a 10-bay workshop and the unique auto loop dispensing system, seen for the first time in servicing of commercial vehicles.

October 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Ashok Leyland’s Q2 profits up 89%; revenue up 72%
Published From:
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Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland has registered a rise in profits by 89% at Rs. 167.06 crores (Rs. 88.61 crores) during the second quarter of this fiscal. Revenues also jumped by 72% at Rs. 2,713...

Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland has registered a rise in profits by 89% at Rs. 167.06 crores (Rs. 88.61 crores) during the second quarter of this fiscal. Revenues also jumped by 72% at Rs. 2,713.95 crores as against Rs. 1,577.28 crores for the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

This increase in both profits and revenue ride on a record sale of 45,989 vehicles (21,990 nos.) for the first half of the current fiscal which helped in pushing the Company’s market share in Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles to over 27%.

During the quarter, all vehicle segments witnessed healthy growth. International operations in the quarter also registered a growth of 39% at 2,350 nos. (1,695 nos.).

Profit from operations before other income, financial expenses and exceptional items at Rs. 242.20 crores was higher by 110% compared to Rs. 115.07 crores.

Other expenses at Rs. 199.30 crores was higher than Rs. 136.21 crores for the second quarter of the previous fiscal. Financial expenses were also higher at Rs. 39.49 crores (Rs. 17.00 crores) reflecting the impact of borrowings made during the last twelve months. Depreciation was higher at Rs. 64.06 crores as against Rs. 50.58 crores consequent to the commissioning of the Pantnagar plant. Margins have improved over previous quarter primarily due to higher sale volume.

“With the economy continuing to be strong, industrial productivity remaining steady and freight generating sectors showing robust growth, everything points towards the market remaining bullish going forward,” said Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland. “Although the present quarter could be a trifle slower due to the change in emission norms, we see the market strengthening in the last quarter on the back of a good agricultural output and continued buoyancy in the economy,” he added.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Dheeraj Hinduja takes over as Chairman of Ashok Leyland
Published From:
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Mr Dheeraj G Hinduja has today been appointed Chairman of the Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland. He takes over the reins from Mr R J Shahaney who was Chairman of the Company since August 1997. Mr...

Mr Dheeraj G Hinduja has today been appointed Chairman of the Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland. He takes over the reins from Mr R J Shahaney who was Chairman of the Company since August 1997.

Mr Hinduja, who has been Co-Chairman of the Company for the past three years, is a third-generation member of the Hinduja Family. He has over a dozen years’ experience at strategic and leadership levels covering a wide variety of businesses across diverse sectors such as Automotives, Energy, Infrastructure, Finance & Banking, IT & ITes, Media and Healthcare. He has been leading the Human Resources function for the entire Group, driving an agenda of transformation. As Director of the Group, Mr Hinduja has been setting and driving an aggressive growth agenda across entities and leading a corporate team to develop strategies for enhancing the Group’s portfolio, explore new opportunities and oversee investments. After completing B. Sc. (Hons.) from the University College, London, Mr Hinduja obtained an MBA in 1994 from the Imperial College, London.

“I have very ambitious expansion plans for Ashok Leyland and right at the top of my priority list is to fast-track the Company’s global thrust through both organic and inorganic modes,” said Mr Hinduja. “Ashok Leyland is crucial for the realization of the Group’s goal to becoming a major force in the global automotive space and I am delighted to be taking over when the Company is poised at a very exciting point in its development,” he added.

Mr Hinduja succeeds Mr Shahaney who was earlier Ashok Leyland’s first Indian Managing Director. Mr Shahaney, who joined Ashok Leyland in 1978, was primarily responsible in spreading the Company’s manufacturing footprint in India with the establishment of facilities at Hosur, Bhandara and Alwar. Mr Shahaney injected a passion for engineering into the Company that saw Ashok Leyland successfully introduce products and services that have become industry norms. His tireless efforts bore fruit in taking the Company’s business beyond the borders to Sri Lanka and in forging an enduring relationship with the Indian Army on the strength of which the Company is today its largest supplier of logistics vehicles.

“It has been a long but a very satisfying innings with fortunately more ups than downs,” is how Mr Shahaney summed up his tenure. “Today’s challenges are very different in nature but they are just as exacting and formidable as they were before. I have participated in Ashok Leyland’s growth to the stature and size it now has acquired; all the engines of growth are in place and it is now for Dheeraj and his team to lead the Company to even greater heights in the coming years. I shall always follow its fortunes with passion because Ashok Leyland is very much a part of me,” he concluded.

In recognition of his meritorious service to Ashok Leyland, the Board has conferred on him, the position of Chairman Emeritus. He will continue to be involved with the different businesses of the Hinduja Group, as advisor to the Group.

September 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010
Ashok Leyland has a new Executive Director – International Operations
Published From:
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Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja flagship, announced the appointment of Mr. Per Gustav Nilsson as Executive Director – International Operations. Born in Sweden, Mr. Nilsson brings with him rich global...

Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja flagship, announced the appointment of Mr. Per Gustav Nilsson as Executive Director – International Operations. Born in Sweden, Mr. Nilsson brings with him rich global experience and market knowledge, having handled international assignments with leading commercial vehicle manufacturers.

Prior to joining Ashok Leyland, Mr. Nilsson had been heading the group companies of SCANIA and MAN in the CIS countries. In fact, he helped set up Scania Finance in Russia and established MAN in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Armenia.

He was one of the founders of Higher School of Business, National Lois University (NLU), which is the business school arm of NLU in Europe and was also its first Principal.

Mr. Nilsson holds degrees in Business Administration, Political Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Ashok Leyland bags order for 2,850 buses from IRT Includes MTC’s requirement for 150 BS IV vehicles – first from a STU
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Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja flagship, today announced that they had bagged an order for 2,850 buses from the Institute for Road Transport (IRT), the nodal agency for procurement of vehicles for the...

Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja flagship, today announced that they had bagged an order for 2,850 buses from the Institute for Road Transport (IRT), the nodal agency for procurement of vehicles for the state of Tamil Nadu. The order includes a requirement from MTC for 150 vehicles conforming to BS IV emission norms and is the very first such order to be received from a State Transport Undertaking.

“The key aspect of this order is that it reflects the trust reposed in us by such an esteemed customer and represents almost 95% of the entire requirement of buses for the state,” said Mr. Rajive Saharia, Executive Director – Marketing, Ashok Leyland. “While, on one hand, it goes a long way in consolidating our market leadership status in the bus segment both in India and, more particularly, in Tamil Nadu, it also reveals our readiness to address the more stringent emission norms that are expected to come into effect in October 2010,” he added.

This order for 2,850 buses is from across the seven STUs in the state namely MTC, SETC and the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations of Villupuram, Salem, Coimbatore, Kumbakonam and Madurai.

August 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Ashok Leyland bags 1,000-bus order from People’s Leasing, Sri Lanka • Order worth US $ 26 million • Deliveries to be completed before March 2011
Published From:
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Chennai, 10th August, 2010: Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has bagged an order for 1,000 buses from the People’s Leasing Company in Sri Lanka. Worth around US $ 26 million, this...

Chennai, 10th August, 2010: Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has bagged an order for 1,000 buses from the People’s Leasing Company in Sri Lanka. Worth around US $ 26 million, this represents the Company’s largest single order for buses from that country. Delivery of the 1,000 ‘Viking’ buses, varying from 42 – 58 seaters, will commence with immediate effect and have to be completed before March 2011.

Ashok Leyland is a leader in the Sri Lankan bus market having sold 8,000-plus buses over the past 6 – 7 years. “With Lanka Ashok Leyland, a joint venture between the Government of Sri Lanka and Ashok Leyland that was formed in 1983, we have been playing a vital role in helping develop the country’s economy not only by delivering appropriate transport solutions but also by providing employment for the local populace,” said Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland. “This order is one more important step in that direction,” he added.

With the cessation of hostilities, the north and east of Sri Lanka have once again opened up for trade, commerce and people’s movement and these buses which will be sold by the People’s Leasing Company to the country’s private sector to be used to improve connectivity to these regions.

The order is being part funded by the Asian Development Bank.

July 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Ashok Leyland to acquire a 26% stake in UK’s Optare To invest USD 7.5 million in long-term strategic cooperation Optare to be a part of Ashok Leyland’s global strategy for buses
Published From:
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Ashok Leyland Ltd., the flagship company of the London-based Hinduja Group announced today that it had reached agreement with Optare plc, a leading bus manufacturer in the UK, to subscribe for a 26...

Ashok Leyland Ltd., the flagship company of the London-based Hinduja Group announced today that it had reached agreement with Optare plc, a leading bus manufacturer in the UK, to subscribe for a 26 percent stake as a part of long-term strategic cooperation. The investment is estimated at about USD 7.5 million. The deal is expected to further benefit Ashok Leyland in its endeavour to accelerate technology, new product development and to address new markets. Optare, founded in 1985, has a turnover of about USD 125 million. Optare has been recognised for its innovative, weight optimised ‘Low Carbon’ range of low-floor, mid-size buses as well as a modern range of city buses. Optare has been a pioneer of the low-floor double-decker in the UK. Their new electric bus product has already secured several orders as more countries in Europe promote cleaner, greener mobility.

Ashok Leyland, a recognised market leader in buses in India, has been advancing its bus business with purpose built bus-plants in Alwar in India and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, and a new range of both city buses and inter-city coaches. It has expanded its foundations to address growing needs for modern urban mobility in India as well as several international markets. With the agreement, Ashok Leyland and Optare will embark upon leveraging the synergies they have mutually identified. Ashok Leyland will have access to Optare’s technology including a modern range of mid-size and full-size city buses which will appeal to several global markets.

Optare will seek to improve its competitiveness in the UK and its export markets through access to Ashok Leyland’s lower-cost supply chain, cooperation in new product development and improved management of its working capital. Ashok Leyland will nominate two nominees on the Board of Optare.

The agreement brings together two quality bus-making companies who can trace their lineage to common roots – the Leyland brand, with links to the long history of that company, when it was the largest bus maker in the world. Commenting on the move, Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland and Executive Vice Chairman, Hinduja Automotive said: “This strategic alliance is a critical part of our Global Bus programme, which is under development. In Optare, we have found a European manufacturing partner who shares our vision for state-of-art buses at affordable prices. Together, we will be able to offer future-ready products of high quality and design that are competitively priced to customers in almost all regions.”

Dr. V. Sumantran, Executive Vice-Chairman, Hinduja Automotive and Member of the Board, Ashok Leyland added: “The group has embarked on a course, investing in both the core sectors and adjacent sectors in order to broaden the range of our enterprise. With Optare, Ashok Leyland can build on synergies in the global bus business, and the two companies can simultaneously advance capabilities and market access in a more efficient manner”

“This new venture will deliver direct benefits to UK bus customers while propelling Optare on to the global stage,” said John Fickling, Optare’s Non-Executive Chairman. “We will benefit from the tremendous opportunities offered by Ashok Leyland not only as an industry giant but as a leader in advanced technology” he added.

Jim Sumner, CEO, Optare, said: “For the past year, we have focused on turning around our business. However, we have made no secret of our wish to find a long term strategic partner. Now with Ashok Leyland, I am confident of creating an organisation which will become a significant force in the global industry for many years to come. While for the past 10 years we have been leaders in low-floor bus designs, today we are leading the way in low carbon designs,” he added.

The agreement between Ashok Leyland and Optare will be the subject of a General Meeting of Optare’s shareholders to be held in Leeds on Monday 16th August, 2010.

About the Hinduja Group

Hinduja Group is an investment and banking group with a diversified global portfolio of holdings across the manufacturing services and banking sectors. The Group, founded by Shri P.D. Hinduja in 1914 has activities across three core areas: Investment Banking, International Trading and Global Investments. It also supports charitable and philanthropic activities across the world through the Hinduja Foundation. As part of its Global investments, the Group owns businesses in Automotive, Information Technology, Media, Entertainment & Communications, Banking & Finance, Infrastructure Project Development, Chemicals & Agri business, Energy, Real Estate, Trading and Healthcare. www.hindujagroup.com.

About Ashok Leyland

Ashok Leyland is the flagship of the Hinduja Group and a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India with 2009/2010 turnover of US $ 1.6 billion. With seven manufacturing locations at Chennai, Hosur (three plants), Alwar, Bhandara and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), the Company has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles. Ashok Leyland has associate companies in the Czech Republic and the UAE and a joint venture in Sri Lanka, besides exports to over 20 countries worldwide. www.ashokleyland.com

About Optare

Optare is Britain’s leading maker of advanced low-floor integral buses and employs around 500 people on two sites – in Blackburn, Lancashire and its main production facility in Leeds, Yorkshire. The company produces a wide range of buses of its own design and manufacture, together with a number of double deck buses and midi coaches which use proprietary chassis. The Optare Solo leads the important midibus sector and more than 4,000 have been sold and are operating in the UK, Continental Europe and North America. In addition Optare has pioneered its ‘EcoDrive’ programme across all of its products which delivers a wide range of low carbon power options, including hybrid, full electric and dual fuel models. In 2009 Optare had a turnover of almost £80 million.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Ashok Leyland Q1 Turnover at Rs. 2,348 crores, up 156% Net profit at Rs. 123 crores, up 15 times
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Ashok Leyland Q1 Turnover at Rs. 2,348 crores, up 156% Net profit at Rs. 123 crores, up 15 times Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has registered a 156% increase in turnover to Rs. 2,347.98...

Ashok Leyland Q1 Turnover at Rs. 2,348 crores, up 156% Net profit at Rs. 123 crores, up 15 times

Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has registered a 156% increase in turnover to Rs. 2,347.98 crores (Rs. 918.07 crores) in the quarter ended June 30, 2010. Net Profit at Rs. 122.64 crores was up 15 times against Rs. 7.77 crores in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Sale of vehicles for the quarter was 21,400 numbers (7,693 nos.) with domestic volume at 19,460 nos. (6,790 nos) and international operations contributing 1,940 nos. (903 nos).

Compared to the I Qtr of the last fiscal, the numbers make for very impressive reading with the Company having registered one of its best I Qtr performances, in terms of operating margins and volumes. Profit from operations before other income, financial expenses and exceptional items rose by 8 times at Rs. 173.93 crores (loss of Rs. 25.71 crores) signifying the benefits of larger volumes besides the Company’s ability to effectively contain the increase in raw material prices. Profit before financial expenses and exceptional item increased over 5 times at Rs. 178.66 crores (Rs. 29.29 crores).

Financial expenses at Rs. 31.62 crores (Rs. 25.80 crores) have increased reflecting the impact of fresh loans raised during second half of last fiscal and also due to lower interest capitalization consequent to commissioning of Pantnagar plant in Mar ‘10. Depreciation at Rs. 61.47 crores (Rs. 43.50 crores) is also higher this fiscal consequent to the commissioning of the Pantnagar plant.

“Our I Qtr numbers reflect the momentum that we picked up in IV Qtr of the last fiscal which is reflected in the fact that we have gained market share touching 27%,” said Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland. “If freight demand continues to be robust, this trend should continue. However, there are some growth dampeners lurking in the form of supply chain constraints, rising interest rates, fuel and raw material prices,” he cautioned.

“Going forward, we envisage pre-buying prior to the introduction of the BS III emission norms across the country in October,” added Mr. Seshasayee, hinting that his earlier estimate of an industry growth of above 15% was still holding good.

June 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Ashok Leyland Announces Price Hike
Published From:
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Ashok Leyland, the Indian flagship of the Hinduja Group, has announced an increase in the prices of its Medium & Heavy Duty vehicle models by about 3% with immediate effect. This will translate...

Ashok Leyland, the Indian flagship of the Hinduja Group, has announced an increase in the prices of its Medium & Heavy Duty vehicle models by about 3% with immediate effect. This will translate into a rise of between Rs. 20,000 in the cost of vehicle on some models up to Rs. 50,000 on others. This price hike has been necessitated to partially recover the increase in the price of raw material like steel, tyres, castings, etc..

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Ashok Leyland and Nissan announce that JV is on schedule First wave of products to roll out from mid 2011
Published From:
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CHENNAI: 1st June, 2010: The Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor Company announced today that their joint venture to manufacture and market a whole range of Light Commercial...

CHENNAI: 1st June, 2010: The Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor Company announced today that their joint venture to manufacture and market a whole range of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) was proceeding very much on schedule. The partners also disclosed that the first wave of three new products will start rolling out starting mid 2011 of which two will be manufactured at Ashok Leyland’s facilities in Hosur, while the third will roll out of the production lines of Nissan’s plant at Oragadam.

Addressing the media at a press conference, Dr. Andy Palmer, Senior Vice-President, Nissan Motor Company and Chairman, Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles Ltd., said, “The JV is moving forward at full throttle now although we had been forced to slow down a bit during the recessionary phase last year. The Indian LCV segment has witnessed very robust growth over the past decade and by joining our complementary forces, we have created synergies to launch our products for this market on schedule – just 3 years after the formation of the JV.”

Also speaking at the occasion, Dr. V Sumantran, Executive Vice Chairman, Hinduja Automotive Ltd. and Chairman, Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain Ltd., said, “Within this JV, we have endeavoured to utilize our learnings relative to customer and market needs and taking forward the best Indian traditions of Indian frugal enterprise. The JV benefits from blending these factors together with Nissan’s long heritage of top-class engineering and quality orientation. We have closely observed changes in market dynamics, the greater role for intra-city and last mile goods distribution and rapidly evolving customer expectations. We feel our products, born out of the JV’s cost conscious quality orientation coupled with the substantial advancement of product technologies, will help us deliver very competitive value to our customers,” he added.

The flagship offering from this stable will be the contemporary, feature-rich F24 platform that will feature trucks and buses in the 5–7.5 tonne GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) range. These vehicles will be powered by an efficient, proven 3-litre, 4-cylinder Common Rail Diesel engine which would be BS III and BS IV compliant.

The partners emphasized that they were on course with their plans, which in Phase I would see production emerge from Hosur and Oragadam. They also reiterated their expectation to execute Phase II. The overall scale of the enterprise has seen no change and, in fact, both parent companies have been in discussion with potential future product extensions.

The partners also clarified that they will continue with their original plan of bringing their range of vehicles to the market leveraging the Ashok Leyland and Nissan brands, through their respective dealer networks. Likewise, the JV continues to examine certain specific export markets in addition to the Indian market.

April 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Ashok Leyland Turnover at Rs. 7,244.71 crores, up 21%...
Published From:
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Net Profit at Rs 423.67 crores, up 123%. Capex and investment plans of Rs. 2,000 crores over the next 2 years.   Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has registered a sales turnover of Rs 7,244...
  • Net Profit at Rs 423.67 crores, up 123%.
  • Capex and investment plans of Rs. 2,000 crores over the next 2 years.
 
Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has registered a sales turnover of Rs 7,244.71 crores during 2009-10 compared to Rs 5,981.07 crores in the previous fiscal. Net profit also rose by 123% to touch Rs 423.67 crores (Rs 190 crores).
 
The Company effectively contained the increase in raw material prices especially steel and rubber reflected in the rise in consumption of raw material by just 17% at Rs. 5,217.52 crores (Rs. 4,452.25 crores).
 
Employee cost during the year rose by 18% to Rs. 665.93 crores (Rs. 566.18 crores). Other expenditure went up by only 21% at Rs. 598.42 crores (Rs. 493.21 crores) thanks to the efforts towards cost reduction. Financial Expenses were curtailed by 31.7% at Rs. 81.13 crores as against Rs. 118.71 crores in the previous fiscal largely through better management of liquidity and working capital.
 
An expenditure of Rs. 3.27 crores (Rs. 13.49 crores) for VRS compensation amortised is an extraordinary item. Income Tax claimed Rs. 121.10 crores (Rs. 12.45 crores) to give a Net Profit from Ordinary Activities after tax of Rs. 423.67 crores (Rs. 190 crores).
 
Depreciation for the year was higher at Rs. 204.11 crores (178.41 crores) mainly due to additions during the year, including commissioning of the Pantnagar plant. Other income increased by 42% to Rs. 70.44 crores (Rs. 49.62 crores).
 
“Although the year started sluggishly, the second half has been a very impressive story. The market turned around and we were able to take advantage of the traction in the market to double our sales in the second half compared to the first,” said Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director. “While it helped us finish the year very strongly, it has also given us the right momentum going into the future,” he added.
 
The Company’s total sales volume rose 17% to 63,926 vehicles (54,431 vehicles) during 2009-10. This was on the back of improved sales in the haulage and passenger segments. Bus sales remained robust thanks to orders received under JnNURM.
 
Quarter over quarter, the numbers make for even better reading for the fourth quarter with Turnover up 141.3% at Rs. 2,939.04 crores (Rs. 1,218.12 crores) and Net Profit up 318% at Rs. 222.66 crores as against Rs. 53.32 crores in the corresponding previous quarter. Profit from operations before other income, financial expenses and exceptional items rose 371% at Rs. 319.64 crores (Rs. 67.83 crores). Profit before financial expenses and exceptional item rose 303% at Rs. 321.95 crores (Rs. 79.94 crores).
 
With the inauguration of the modern, fully-integrated manufacturing facility at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, the Company’s annual installed capacity will be 150,500 vehicles.
 
Production at the new chassis and bus assembly plant at Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, has already begun and, at full capacity, can roll out 2,000 buses to international specifications. These products, which will eventually also include trucks, will be manufactured to feed the neighbouring GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) and African markets.
 
The Company has earmarked Rs 1,200 crores for Capex over the next couple of years in addition to investments ear-marked for the various joint ventures to the tune of Rs. 800 crores.
 
Having obtained the RBI license for operations as NBFC, Hinduja Leyland Finance is set to commence operations of providing financing for commercial vehicles and allied vehicle financing, initially from 130 centres across 16 states.
 
The developmental activity for all joint ventures are well on schedule. The first batch of Light Commercial Vehicle products as part of the JV with Nissan Motor Company will roll out by early 2011. The JV with John Deere for the construction equipment business is also well on track with pilot production set to commence at their new manufacturing facility at Goomdipoondi, near Chennai, from October 2010 and products set to roll out by early 2011.
 
About the prospects for the current year, Mr. Seshasayee said, “The future appears promising. On one hand, the macro-economic indicators are positive although, on the other, there are issues of rising fuel and raw material prices. Come October, the migration to superior emission norms will happen and I am happy to state that we are ready with the products and the technology to improve our market share. While one may not expect the 30+% growth levels witnessed in 2009-10, we are optimistic of a healthy growth at over 15% for the commercial vehicle industry in this fiscal.”
Monday, April 5, 2010
Ashok Leyland annual sales at 63,926 vehicles, up 17% March Sales at 10,067 vehicles, up 97%
Published From:
Corporate
Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship in India, has closed the year ended 31st March 2010 with an annual sales volume of 63,926 vehicles (54,431 vehicles), up 17.4%. The domestic market accounted...

Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship in India, has closed the year ended 31st March 2010 with an annual sales volume of 63,926 vehicles (54,431 vehicles), up 17.4%. The domestic market accounted for 57,947 vehicles (47,619 vehicles) up 21.7% and exports stood at 5,979 vehicles (6,812 vehicles).

Sales during March 2010 was 10,067 vehicles (5,099 vehicles), up 97.4%. Domestic sales at 9,299 vehicles (4,428 vehicles) reflected an increase of 110% while exports also showed an increase of 14% at 768 vehicles (671 vehicles).

Total production for the year was 64,673 vehicles (54,049 vehicles).

Thursday, April 1, 2010
Hinduja Leyland Finance to commence operations Gets RBI license. To initially to operate in 130 centres
Published From:
Corporate
Chennai, 1st April, 2010: Hinduja Leyland Finance Limited (HLF), promoted by Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland has received the certificate of registration from the Reserve Bank of India, clearing...

Chennai, 1st April, 2010: Hinduja Leyland Finance Limited (HLF), promoted by Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland has received the certificate of registration from the Reserve Bank of India, clearing the deck for commencement of operations covering financing of commercial vehicles and allied vehicle financing.

HLF is already in readiness to commence operations in 130 centres covering 16 states. Through rapid branch expansion, HLF plans to have a presence in all Indian states in one year’s time and has targeted network strength of 300 centers in three years.

“We hope to replicate the success of Ashok Leyland Finance, drawing from its proven strengths and the immense goodwill among all stakeholders”, said Mr S Nagarajan, Director In Charge. Associated with Ashok Leyland Finance since inception in 1987, Mr. Nagarajan is credited with building the Company to its premier stature among NBFCs before joining IndusInd Bank as Joint Managing Director, following the merger of Ashok Leyland Finance with IndusInd Bank.

The initial capital of Rs 100 crore will be contributed by Ashok Leyland, Ashley Holdings Ltd and Ashley Investments Ltd. The Company is already in discussion with leading bankers for funding to support the planned disbursement of Rs 850 crores in the first year.

“Ready as we are with technologically superior products and additional capacities built to support our growth, HLF provides the vital link of vehicle financing, facilitating vehicle acquisition by our customers. I am confident that under Mr. Nagarajan’s proven leadership, HLF will prove to be a significant tool for market penetration and expansion for Ashok Leyland”, said Mr. R Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland.

HLF will have a larger role in the offing, of supporting Ashok Leyland’s proposed foray into Light Commercial Vehicles and Construction Equipment, wherein product roll outs are scheduled to commence in 2011.

March 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010
Ashok Leyland inaugurates state-of-art technology plant at Pantnagar Shifts operational centre of gravity to North India
Published From:
Corporate Office
Pantnagar, 5th March 2010: The Hinduja flagship, Ashok Leyland’s new, modern, technologically world-class manufacturing facility was inaugurated by Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Chief...

Pantnagar, 5th March 2010: The Hinduja flagship, Ashok Leyland’s new, modern, technologically world-class manufacturing facility was inaugurated by Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand at Pantnagar today in the presence of Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Hon’ble Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enetrprises, Mr. Bansidhar Bhagat, Minister of Industry, Mt. Srichand P. Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group and a number of other dignitaries. The plant will be the Company’s largest and combines the latest manufacturing technologies with best in class industrial architecture bound together in an ecologically sensitive environment. It will eventually augment Ashok Leyland’s present installed capacity of 100,000 vehicles by another 75,000 with the tax concessions available in Uttarakhand, the Company will have a cost advantage to the extent of Rs. 40,000 – Rs. 50,000 per vehicle.

In his inaugural address, Dr. ‘Nishank’ also announced the launch of a unique career-education scheme that would spread the benefits of industrialization to reach the youth of the region. As per this scheme, Ashok Leyland will sponsor primary educated youngsters for 3-4 year on-the-job courses in the plant itself. Conducted in association with a reputed technical training institute, these youngsters will have the opportunity to learn and earn. Their curriculum will cover contemporary management and manufacturing concepts, side by side with an opportunity for practical hands on learning at the modern plant. This training will give them the skills and knowledge to be effective shop floor associates and will qualify them for managerial positions eventually cueing a breakthrough practice aptly called the integrated workforce as it seeks to break the conventional hierarchical divisions on the shop floor.

Mr. Srichand P. Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group, asserted that the Group were long term strategic investors and remained committed to India. “We will continue to support Ashok Leyland in its investment and growth plan,” he said. “Despite the recession, the quick economic recovery augurs well for the auto industry. We have always looked ahead, and are committed to continued expansion in the future. This plant is an example of this commitment. We are delighted to see this cradle of ancient of civilization becoming the home of the latest and the most modern plant of our flagship Company, Ashok Leyland.”

Speaking at the occasion, Ashok Leyland Managing Director Mr. R. Seshasayee said, “With the opening of this new plant, Ashok Leyland's centre of gravity will shift from South to North India. We will further consolidate our North India base when we will transform Alwar bus body making unit into an integrated bus manufacturing plant in the next 3-4 years,” The 190-acre facility would initially roll out its latest U-Truck, and produce various medium and heavy duty vehicles in the later stages.

January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010
Ashok Leyland’s Q3 profits up over four fold Revenue up 81% at Rs. 181,553 lakhs
Published From:
Corporate Office
Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland has reported more than 450% rise in its Net Profit for the third quarter of the current fiscal, at Rs. 10,463.26 lakhs as against Rs. 1,886.82 lakhs for the...

Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland has reported more than 450% rise in its Net Profit for the third quarter of the current fiscal, at Rs. 10,463.26 lakhs as against Rs. 1,886.82 lakhs for the corresponding period in the last fiscal, making it a ‘turnaround quarter’ for the Company. Sales revenue was also up 81% at Rs. 181,553.44 lakhs (Rs. 100,449.45 lakhs). Sales volume for the quarter showed an increase of 101% at 16,129 numbers (8,011 nos.) and Parts sales rose by 91%.

Profit after financial expenses saw a jump to 659% at Rs. 14,069.70 lakhs (Rs. 1,853.48 lakhs).

The phenomenal improvement in profitability is to be viewed in the context of a near collapse situation that prevailed during the corresponding period in the previous year.

Despite a 220% increase in production volume at 19,411 vehicles (6,060 vehicles), financial expenses at Rs. 1,621.29 (Rs. 3,940.86) have reduced considerably by 59%, thanks to prudent working capital management, shift from credit sale to ‘cash-and-carry’ system and an appreciable reduction in inventories.

Employee costs showed a rise of 42% to Rs. 17,361.74 lakhs (Rs. 12,252.69 lakhs) owing largely to the fact that in the corresponding period of the previous quarter, the Company had cut working days and employees had taken a voluntary salary cut. The current year also has the impact of wage settlement at Hosur Units.

For the nine months ended December 2009, even with a 10% drop in sales revenue at Rs. 430,567.03 lakhs (Rs. 476,295.24 lakhs), net profit showed an improvement of 47% at Rs. 20,101.02 lakhs (13,668.13 lakhs).

“This quarter signals the return to normalcy. The common theme in the results is the improved profitability even though sales volume recovery is not quite complete”, said Mr R Seshasayee, Managing Director. “Out of the near-5,100 vehicle orders that we had bagged from various STUs under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Company has delivered more than 2,000 buses by end-Dec 09. We hope to deliver most of the balance vehicles before March ’10.” he added.

On the prospects for the year, Mr Seshasayee said, “A rebounding economy, anticipated industrial growth and renewed activity in the areas of infrastructure development and construction will help drive demand. The Government’s stimulus package has certainly helped in improving the sentiments. I hope Government will continue the stimulus for the Commercial Vehicle industry until growth momentum take stronger roots”.

Thursday, January 7, 2010
Ashok Leyland and Cisco sign MoU for intelligent vehicles Unveil iBUS2 - an Emergency Response Centre on Wheels
Published From:
New Delhi
Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland and Cisco today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the companies intend to develop sector-specific solutions that help enable Vehicle-to-...

Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland and Cisco today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the companies intend to develop sector-specific solutions that help enable Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication. The companies intend to work together to deliver solutions that will focus on transportation management, incident & emergency medical response as well as mobile security targeted initially at Government and Defence sectors.

Ashok Leyland and Cisco hosted a preview of the first solution from this collaboration, the iBUS2, which combines user-friendly mobility with best-in-class connectivity at Ashok Leyland’s stand in Hall 3 at the Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi.

iBUS2 offers state-of-the-art digital communication equipment that wirelessly communicates in real-time with a remote control centre for the exchange of critical information required for decision making. With an integrated wireless communication network (long range mobile and short range Wi-Fi communication), the iBUS2 allows safety personnel to transmit a wide range of critical data including voice, information, pictures and streaming video.

iBUS2 forms part of the iBUS series from Ashok Leyland that integrates relevant technologies with mobility solutions. The new iBUS2 solution answers a long-felt need in security preparedness, with its innovative features facilitating intelligent responses to emergency situations. Cisco’s Smart+Connected Health solutions as well as its Smart+Connected Safety and Security solutions for incident response are integrated into the iBUS2.

The iBUS2 can be uniquely configured for other potential applications such as citizen services, ‘Business-on-Wheels’ for corporate, banking and retail customers as well as ‘Service-on-Wheels’ for healthcare, tele-medicine and interactive e-learning.

Executive Comments: Mr R Seshasayee, managing director, Ashok Leyland:

“Ashok Leyland has been a leader in the Indian bus market, providing the widest range of models and has also pioneered innovations in mass transportation in the country. This MoU heralds the next step for us, of moving from fully-built vehicles to intelligent mobility solutions. We are happy that in Cisco we have a technology leader to collaborate with us in reaching the benefits of technology to the masses, as showcased here in iBUS2.”

Mr Naresh Wadhwa, president and country manager, Cisco India & SAARC:

“This is a significant initiative from Ashok Leyland and Cisco and we are confident the collaboration will break new ground in the transportation industry. The vision of the collaboration is to enhance the value of our solutions by combining the unique capabilities, expertise and experience of Cisco and Ashok Leyland in the combined communication solution that is enabled by the network as the core platform.”

Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities initiative is designed to provide cities and communities with smart and connected solutions for utilities, safety and security, connected real estate, transportation, health care, learning, sports venues and government services.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
THE EFFI 20 Featuring 20 technology enhancements resulting in 20%fuel efficiency improvement and over 20% reduction in CO2 emissions
Published From:
New Delhi
Ashok Leyland sees a future where societies demand environmental responsibility and our customers look for lower operating costs. Addressing these objectives, the Company unveiled the EFFI 20 truck...

Ashok Leyland sees a future where societies demand environmental responsibility and our customers look for lower operating costs. Addressing these objectives, the Company unveiled the EFFI 20 truck with the emphasis on green and efficient transportation. The EFFI 20 embodies 20 innovative ideas that together deliver 20% better fuel efficiency and correspondingly over 20% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Approaching the challenge by addressing all vehicle systems comprehensively, Ashok Leyland’s engineering team went to work systematically across engine systems, transmissions and drivelines, auxiliary systems, aerodynamics and driver assists. For eg. The engine management system can dynamically reconfigure based on load and driving conditions to maximize fuel efficiency. The engine is coupled to a Selective Catalytic Reactor (SCR) emission control system that contributes to fuel efficiency. Even the engine’s cooling fan and thermal management have been optimized to minimize waste.

A high efficiency driveline employing multiple ratio axles ensures optimal operation. The engineers tackled minimization of parasitic losses with the lift axle option, special lubricants to reduce driveline friction and high efficiency accessories for steering and electrical systems. Even losses from brakes have been minimized.

Beyond this, the EFFI 20 has adopted several driver assists including the Gear Shift Advisory, tyre pressure monitoring system enabling the driver to eke out that last little bit of additional efficiency. The cumulative gains from these improvements have been validated by tests at ARAI.

“As we look to the future and listen to our customers and society, we are convinced that our efforts towards greener and more efficient vehicles will be appreciated in the market place,” said Mr. R Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland. “Given the challenge, we are pleased to see the efforts of our technical staff result in such measurable gains. We are determined to hasten the delivery of these benefits to our customers” he added.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Ashok Leyland unveils HYBUS - India’s first Plug-in CNG Hybrid bus - Greener than CNG, 20-30% more fuel-efficient than a conventional bus - Introduces novel pedestrian safety features
Published From:
New Delhi
Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland today unveiled HYBUS, India’s first plug-in CNG hybrid bus, at its stall at Auto Expo 2010. The latest in green technology for urban mass transportation, HYBUS is...

Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland today unveiled HYBUS, India’s first plug-in CNG hybrid bus, at its stall at Auto Expo 2010. The latest in green technology for urban mass transportation, HYBUS is more eco-friendly than a CNG-powered bus, thanks to integration of hybrid technology. Compared to a conventional bus powered by IC engine, HYBUS offers significant fuel saving of 20-30%.

The HYBUS combines conventional CNG engine with electric propulsion system. The engine is operated at an optimal efficiency to drive the generator for charging on-board battery. The Lithium-Ion battery that powers the electrical drive system provides the propulsion.

The HYBUS intelligently selects the most efficient operating mode to ensure maximum fuel efficiency without compromising performance, comfort or passenger safety. HYBUS has a host of commuter-friendly features including ultra low entry at 390mm with kneeling option, noise-free rear engine, front and rear air suspensions and retractable ramp for wheel-chair entry.

HYBUS also incorporates some innovative pedestrian safety concepts: sound and light alerts while the bus moves, a camera-assisted reversing aid for the driver and night time highlighters near the tail lights. The bus front has a novel design to absorb impact on collision, which drastically reduces severity of injury.

“We are happy to lead with green bus technologies once again, following CNG buses in 1997 and Hybrid Electric Vehicle in 2002”, said R Seshasayee, MD-Ashok Leyland. “For Indian cities where CNG is available, HYBUS is the greenest option with high performance, enhanced fuel efficiency and low greenhouse emissions”, he added and noted that the commuter-friendly features getting inducted in the city buses are already helping in reducing traffic congestion and per capita reduction in fuel consumption and carbon footprint. “HYBUS heightens both the economic and ecological gains”, he said.

Saturday, January 2, 2010
Ashok Leyland launches innovative U-Truck platform to usher in a superior trucking experience
Published From:
Corporate Office
Over 25 models in 18 months The “Tatkaal’ guarantee of vehicle restoration within 48 hours New Delhi: January 2nd, 2010: Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, today launched the new, innovative...

Over 25 models in 18 months

The “Tatkaal’ guarantee of vehicle restoration within 48 hours

New Delhi: January 2nd, 2010: Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, today launched the new, innovative U-Truck platform with the unveiling of the U-4936 (6x4) Tractor and the U-2523 (6x4) Tipper. The U-Truck platform will straddle the entire range of tractors, tippers and haulage trucks in the 16 – 49 tonne segment, with over 25 models and a host of variants to roll out in 18 months starting April 2010. The range will be powered by BS III and BS IV engines that are also protected for BS V norms, ranging from 160 to 380 hp. Joining the proven ‘ H’ series is a new NEPTUNE family of engines - entirely developed in-house - that are stronger and more reliable by design, with higher power and greater fuel efficiency.

The Company also launched ‘ Leyland Direct’ , a national helpline for customer care that comes with the Ashok Leyland TATKAAL assurance of a response team reaching a customer in 4 hours anywhere on the Golden Quadrilateral and restoring the vehicle back on road within 48 hours, with a committed compensation for any delay.

“The U-Truck is a sublimation of our in-depth understanding of the customer, his requirements, his pain points and converting our insight into a product platform best-suited for him. It is an innovative platform that will set a new benchmark in terms of a holistically superior trucking experience including higher Return on Investment” said Mr. R Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland, at the launch. “A standout feature of the U-Truck platform is the wide choice available to the customer, depending on his specific application-based requirement. The platform is contemporary, competitive and future-ready and will be backed up by Leyland Direct which is an expression of an enhanced level of customer engagement. This is only the beginning of a very exciting journey that we are embarking on with our customers,” he added.

One key aspect of the U-Truck platform is its superior, electronic and efficient engine management system. The BS IV versions of ‘ H’ engines have Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology while the new NEPTUNE engines are with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology, to reduce emission. The NEPTUNE engines have been benchmarked for lower operating costs, lower maintenance, longer life, higher vehicle availability and better comfort. The U-Truck platform will be equipped with electronic clusters and advanced Telematics for real-time track and trace, on-board diagnostics and driver management features to ensure the safety of the driver and cargo. The cluster can give alerts on vehicle health, fuel levels, service requirements, and also provide comprehensive reports on fleet productivity and driving habits.

“The U-Truck is a win-win proposition for both the customer and our channel partners” said Mr. Rajive Saharia, Executive Director – Marketing, Ashok Leyland. “For the customer the attributes of quicker speeds, more trips, improved fuel efficiency, greater comfort and safety and more choices of fully-built options translate into higher revenue, lower operating costs and hence better profitability. Reliable aggregates and interfaces with proper matching of consumables ensure long and synchronized service intervals. This along with our bouquet of service offerings will help our channel partners to service our customers a whole lot better” he added.

“This platform represents an organizational transformation for us at Ashok Leyland,” is how Mr. Seshasayee put it. “A completely fresh approach in terms of processes, attitude and product, wherein the sale of a vehicle is not the end but a beginning, because we are ready with a whole range of service products for a life-long engagement with the customer.”

Mr. Vinod Dasari, Chief Operating Officer, Ashok Leyland explained that the modularity of the new platform endowed the Company with the agility to respond quicker to specific customer demands than ever before. “The modularity gives us speed, it helps us to control our inventories and we can help our vendor partners to plan their inventories better. On the manufacturing front, it will cue our transition from stock-and-sell to make-to-order system. Yes, there are some very exciting times to look forward to,” he concluded.