Ashok Leyland takes on M&M with new pickup Bada Dost

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on September 14, 2020

Bus and truck maker Ashok Leyland Ltd has introduced what it calls the future-ready and industry-first small commercial vehicle (SCV) Bada Dost, a pickup that is expected not only to challenge the segment leader Mahindra & Mahindra, but also help the company grow its international sales.

The Bada Dost comes in the 2-3.5 GVW (gross vehicle weight) category with payloads of more than 1 tonne, in which Mahindra has been the leader. In FY20, this segment clocked volumes of 2.32 lakh units. While Mahindra had an about 65 per cent share with a range of products, Ashok Leyland had an 18 per cent share with just one product – the Dost. Tata Motors was in the third position with a 15 per cent share.

Ashok Leyland has launched two variants of the new SCV — Bada Dost i4 and Bada Dost i3, in the payload categories of 1,860 kg and 1,405 kg, respectively. The ex-showroom prices (Mumbai) are ₹7.75 lakh and ₹7.95 lakh (i3 LS and LX) and ₹7.79 and ₹7.99 lakh (i4 LS and LX).

Now with Bada Dost, Ashok Leyland will have multiple offerings in the segment from low price points to high. With aggressive pricing and higher payload capacities, Bada Dost will take its key competitor Mahindra’s Bolero pickups head-on.

“Bada Dost i3 and i4, the first two vehicles being launched on this new platform, along with other current offerings, close the gap in our LCV product portfolio,” said Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman, Ashok Leyland.

Bada Dost will be the fourth product in company’s LCV portfolio after Dost, Partner and MiTR (passenger vehicle), and second in the SCV segment (which comprises sub1-tonne mini trucks and above 1-tonne pickups).

Presently, LCVs (Dost, Partner and passenger vehicle MiTR) account for about 40 per cent of the company’s overall sales and Ashok Leyland has been keen on growing its LCV volumes significantly.

“The LCV segment holds huge potential for us. The recovery of the CV industry is being led by this segment in the current market. With Bada Dost, we will now address an important part of this market which has tremendous promise. LCVs are one of our growth businesses and it continues to grow this year as well,” said Vipin Sondhi, MD and CEO, Ashok Leyland.

Bada Dost is the first product to be built on an all-new LCV platform and is equipped with an 80 hp BS6 engine. It features a 3-seater walk-through cabin that offers superior comfort, said a release. A foldable backrest and a collapsible hand-brake are among other new features.

The new vehicle will be available in both right-hand-drive and left-hand-drive options, enabling the company to look at international markets. An electric version of the same will also hit the market soon.

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Published on September 14, 2020
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