Ashok Leyland to enter passenger vehicle space in a year

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 28, 2011 Published on September 28, 2011

Dr V. Sumantra, Executive Vice-Chairman, Hinduja Automotive.

The country's second biggest commercial vehicle maker, Ashok Leyland, will mark its entry into the passenger vehicle segment in a year with two new vans and is also planning CNG variants around the same time.

The first vehicle will be a 7-8 seater variant of the recently launched Dost 1.2 ton LCV. The second model, based on Nissan's NV 200 platform, will be an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) on which joint venture partner Nissan is also developing a more premium positioned van to compete with the Toyota Innova.

“A passenger variant of the Dost will come in a year and the MPV next year, where both Nissan and Ashok Leyland will use the platform. We will target both passenger and commercial vehicle markets,” said Dr V Sumantran, Executive Vice Chairman, Hinduja Automotive and Chairman, Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain.

The Dost-based passenger vehicle is expected to compete with Maruti's Eeco and Tata Motors' Venture.

The Chennai-based automaker, which has three joint ventures with Japan's Nissan (vehicle manufacturing, engines and R&D), is also looking at exports of its new LCV and passenger vehicle range.

“We've received enquiries from some markets. We will look at specific product and market for branding. They will be sold as Nissan where they have a network and their brand is well-entrenched,” he said.

The joint venture is also working on a third platform after the MPV for a truck. Based on Nissan's Atlas platform, this will be launched 12-15 months after the MPV and would also spawn buses later.

The partners have already invested Rs 1,200 crore for the first two platforms, out of a plan to invest a total of Rs 2,300 crore.

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Published on September 28, 2011
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