Auto focus

JBM bets big on bus foray

Our Mumbai Bureau | Updated on November 27, 2014


Nishant Arya, ED , JBM Group

The component supplier has manufactured ‘CityLife’, in an Italian collaboration, and it is aimed at intracity travel


 Nishant Arya is bullish on his company’s entry into buses, a move that is expected to gather momentum in the coming years.

The Executive Director of JBM group, the 7,000 crore plus auto component supplier to almost every vehicle maker in India, believes buses will be the next big leap forward for his company.

Citylife, which was displayed at this year’s Delhi Auto Expo, has been jointly manufactured with BredaMenarinibus of Italy. JBM will ready these vehicles at its two plants in Faridabad and Kosi with an annual capacity of 2,000 units.

Good start

While around 100 orders have already come in from schools and airports, the real big break will happen with orders from state transport undertakings.

Arya says this is already on the anvil which means a formal announcement could be expected in the coming months.

With its huge competencies in sheets, panels, exhaust systems, fuel tanks etc, JBM will have a cost-effective structure in place for its buses. This perhaps explains why Citylife will be 10 per cent more affordable than competing models in the low-floor space.

“Citylife will be available in premium and standard categories with CNG and diesel options. It has been earmarked for intracity travel. These are low-floor buses in the true sense. The structure is more robust and assures longer life with better cost of ownership,” Arya says.

In addition, Citylife offers better headroom for passengers as the entire floor is at one level without a gradient. It is also helpful for the physically challenged, Arya adds.

“Comfort was one of the guiding factors in making this vehicle a reality. Likewise, there is tremendous visibility and driver comfort which reduces fatigue,” he says. The JBM R&D centre for this project has over 350 people working across Italy, Germany and the UK.

Big picture

Arya is keen on exporting the bus in due course of time once the India business plan gets going. There are also interesting possibilities for BRTS operations both here and parts of the world where bus transit is emerging a practical mobility solution.

Of the group’s spend of 700 crore this fiscal, 500 crore is on the bus project and the balance on plants in Indore and Bengaluru which will cater to customers like VE Commercial Vehicles and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India.

Arya says JBM will be ready with a new five-year vision plan next year. 

The bus business is expected to be an integral part of this roadmap as road connectivity is expected to improve dramatically during the course of this decade.

Published on November 27, 2014

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