The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ashok Leyland revs up, to take on Tata vehicles

Calcutta, Aug. 27: Ashok Leyland Ltd (ALL) plans to launch a range of models both in the passenger and commercial vehicle segments.

The move is attempted to take on arch rival Tata Engineering (Telco), which has decided to refurbish its entire range of commercial vehicles and relaunch them over the next three months.

Company sources said Ashok Leyland plans to launch a mini bus in the current financial year, along with a high-powered bus as well as low-floor, rear engine buses. “We also have plans to hit the market with higher productivity tipper models,” they added.

“Our objective is to offer new standards for comfort and safety so far as passenger vehicles are concerned. The new offerings from our stable are going to hit the market soon,” they said.

In the commercial vehicles segment, the Hinduja group flagship is going ahead with its plan to launch upgraded 3015 tractor and a fuel-efficient 10-tonner truck.

Sources added that the company is also in the process of unleashing a new E-Comet range consisting of 6-10 tonne payload trucks.

“The E-Comet range has a huge market in the country. With these launches we are optimistic of increasing our market share in the current fiscal,” they added.

Ashok Leyland, which has an installed capacity of 55,000 units, holds a 30 per cent market share. The company is making all efforts to increase market share by at least 5 per cent in the next couple of years, sources said.

The management is optimistic about the company’s performance during the current fiscal, with the growth target being pegged at 10 per cent.

Although the company is eyeing a bigger market share with increased volumes, it does not have any immediate capacity expansion plans.

“Already, the commercial vehicle segment is plagued by surplus capacity since the economy is not growing at the expected level. Ashok Leyland and Telco collectively have a 160 per cent capacity,” sources said.

“If you have high capacity which cannot be serviced because of a demand glut, there is bound to be bloodshed in the market place,” a senior Ashok Leyland executive said.

The company, however, expects a positive demand growth in the medium term particularly because of the increasing spending in the infrastructure sector.

Moreover, the demand for CNG buses is also likely to increase following the Supreme Court’s latest ruling against the non-environment friendly buses in metropolitan cities. “This is certainly going to spur demand for the CNG buses in the short term,” the executive said.

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