Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland and Japanese auto-maker Nissan Motor Company on Tuesday rolled out their first Light Commercial Vehicle under the brand, “Ashok Leyland – DOST”.
Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor Company entered into a master-cooperation agreement in October, 2007. The agreement envisaged the two companies entering into the light commercial vehicle business in India for vehicle manufacturing, powertrain manufacturing and technology development. As per the agreement, both companies will together make an investment of Rs 2,300 crore.
After making a soft launch to the media with their first 1.25-tonne pick-up vehicle, branded “Ashok Leyland-DOST”, today, Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain Ltd Chairman and Hinduja Automotive Executive Vice-Chairman Mr Sumantran said they would be manufacturing the product from Ashok Leyland’s Hosur plant in the first phase.
“We are going completely into a new chapter. Ashok Leyland did not have products in the 7.5 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) category. With this association (with Nissan Motor Company) we are going into a segment which is more crowded...,” Mr Sumantran told reporters here.
Stating that the use of their existing facility has made them utilise only “half” of the earmarked investments, he said the growth of vehicle sales in the 3.5-tonne (category) in India was a “phenomenon”.
While the formal roll-out of the product will take place in the second quarter next fiscal, Mr Sumantran said the new vehicle will be available in three versions - a base version, a mid-version with power steering and higher version with a dual tone interiors, power steering and an air condition facility.
He declined to comment on the price of the vehicle, saying it would be released only when the product goes for sale.
He also declined to comment on volume of the products they would be rolling out from Hosur facility. “The plant has a capacity of 150,000 units. Both Ashok Leyland and Nissan would be utilising it for producing the vehicles from this plant in the first phase,” he said.
For retailing the product, Ashok Leyland would appoint a exclusive LCV dealership network across the country in the coming months, he added.
The flagship products to be rolled out from this partnership range from trucks to buses in the 5-7.5 tonne GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) category.
The commercial vehicle unveiled today is equipped with a turbo-charged Common Rail Diesel Engine indigeneously developed by Ashok Leyland engineers. The design and body of the vehicle as been made by Nissan Motor Company.