Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship, has commercially launched in Maharashtra DOST – its first entry in India’s fast expanding LCV segment. It also marks the first vehicle to be launched from its Joint Venture with Nissan Motor Company. Competitively priced at Rs. 3.79 lakhs to Rs. 4.37 lakhs (ex-showroom – Mumbai), DOST will be sold through a modern dealership network with brand new infrastructure which will grow to 60 main nodes by the end of the current fiscal.
Ashok Leyland said it expects its joint venture with Japan's Nissan Motor to sell 55,000 light commercial vehicles in the first year of sale. As Asia's third largest economy grows at nearly 8 per cent, demand for LCVs, which carry goods across the country and are a key barometer of a nation's economic health, is on the rise. Light commercial vehicle sales in India have grown 27.4 percent so far this fiscal year, according to data released by an industry body, while demand for cars has taken a beating in the worlds second-fastest growing major auto market. The 2008 JV has invested 12 billion rupees ($246 million) so far in product development. Its annual sales target for 'Dost,' which means 'friend' in Hindi, is about 17 per cent of the smaller LCV market in India. "The LCV market is underserved, so we are seeing enough demand for the next couple of years," V Sumantran, chairman of Nissan-Ashok Leyland Powertrain Ltd, told reporters at the sidelines of the launch event.
Dost -- priced between 379,000 rupees and 437,000 rupees -- will first be launched in six states. The pricing is competitive with similar models from Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra , which are priced between 350,000 rupees and 450,000 rupees.
It will be made available across India after production ramps up at its manufacturing facility in southern India, the company said. "The joint venture will make incremental investments depending on how many products we want and at what intervals," said Nitin Seth, executive director, LCV at Ashok Leyland. The JV will launch vans in 12 to 15 months, followed by the larger trucks and buses by 2015. The smaller LCV segment has a market of about 325,000 vehicles per year, Seth said.
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