Ashok Leyland on Saturday unveiled its new truck platform — U-Truck — by launching a tipper and a tractor, and announced plans to shift its entire product range to the new platform by 2013. “Starting April this year, we will roll out 25 products in the next 18 months from our newly-launched truck platform,” said Ashok Leyland Managing Director R. Seshasayee.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Seshasayee said: “The U-Truck is a sublimation of our in-depth understanding of the customer and his requirements… It is an innovative platform that will set a new benchmark in terms of a holistically superior trucking experience, including higher return on investment. It would straddle the entire range of tractors, tippers and haulage trucks in the 16-49-tonne segment. The range will be powered by BS III and BS IV engines that can be upgraded to BS V norms.”
The company also launched ‘Leyland Direct’, a national helpline for customer care promising quick break-down service.
Stating that each model on the new platform would have different variants, Mr. Seshasayee said the company would roll out vehicles from its Uttarakhand facility that would start production by March this year with an initial capacity of 50,000 units.
About the joint venture with Japan’s Nissan, he said there would be no joint branding of products. “Some products in the value segment will bear Ashok Leyland name, while those in the niche segment will have Nissan badge,” he added. In 2007, Ashok Leyland and Nissan had formed a joint venture company — Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. — for making light commercial vehicles (LCVs), powertrains and developing technology, and setting up of a plant near Chennai, envisaging a total investment of Rs. 2,300 crore.
Mr. Seshasayee said due to land acquisition problems, there had been a delay in setting up the plant, but the products would hit the market by the end of next fiscal. “Land issues have not been sorted out. We have decided to split our product range into two plants. Some will roll out from our Hosur plant and some will come from Renault Nissan’s facility at Oragadam near Chennai,” he added.