Special Correspondent

Company will have new platform, codenamed Unitruck

Capacity will range from 16 tonnes to 49 tonnes

CHENNAI: Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hindujas, has begun work on the development of an all-new full range of trucks (including chassis, engines and cabins) in its bid to become a player with significant relevance in the developed markets.

If its plans were to fructify according to schedule, Ashok Leyland will have a brand new platform, codenamed ‘Unitruck’, a new family of six cylinder inline engines, codenamed ‘Neptune’, and a fresh ‘Newgen’ cabins progressively by 2013. These are all modular and will have universal appeal.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, said, “these products will straddle not only India and second hemisphere markets, but also developed countries.”

He said that the roll-out would start progressively from 2010 and added, “Our horizon is getting wider. In terms of performance, these products will be comparable to the best in the world at much lower price points.”

The modular nature of the products, he said, would help the company develop its variants to address the needs of different markets. By 2012-13, the new range would replace all existing products.

The new truck models would cover capacity ranging from 16 tonnes to 49 tonnes. The Neptune engine would have capacity ranging from 4.7 litres to eight litres and would conform to BS3 and Bs4/Euro IV emission norms.

To begin with, the new chassis would be introduced with the existing H series engine and cabin.

This would be followed by the launch of Neptune engine and next generation modular cabin.

Mr. Seshasayee said that there was no reason to feel despondent though the market was down a bit.

“We are not cutting back on investment. Our expansion plans in Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand are on schedule,” he said adding that “the India growth story is in tact.”