CHENNAI (TAMIL NADU):The Hinduja Group flagship, Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor Company have announced that their joint venture to manufacture and market a whole range of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) was proceeding very much on schedule. The partners also disclosed that the first wave of three new products will start rolling out starting mid 2011 of which two will be manufactured at Ashok Leyland’s facilities in Hosur, while the third will roll out of the production lines of Nissan’s plant at Oragadam.
According to Dr. Andy Palmer, Senior Vice-President, Nissan Motor Company and Chairman, Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles Ltd., said, “The JV is moving forward at full throttle now although we had been forced to slow down a bit during the recessionary phase last year. The Indian LCV segment has witnessed very robust growth over the past decade and by joining our complementary forces, we have created synergies to launch our products for this market on schedule – just 3 years after the formation of the JV.”
Dr. V Sumantran, Executive Vice Chairman, Hinduja Automotive Ltd. and Chairman, Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain Ltd., said, “Within this JV, we have endeavoured to utilize our learnings relative to customer and market needs and taking forward the best Indian traditions of Indian frugal enterprise. The JV benefits from blending these factors together with Nissan’s long heritage of top-class engineering and quality orientation. We have closely observed changes in market dynamics, the greater role for intra-city and last mile goods distribution and rapidly evolving customer expectations. We feel our products, born out of the JV’s cost conscious quality orientation coupled with the substantial advancement of product technologies, will help us deliver very competitive value to our customers,” he added.
The flagship offering from this stable will be the contemporary, feature-rich F24 platform that will feature trucks and buses in the 5–7.5 tonne GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) range. These vehicles will be powered by an efficient, proven 3-litre, 4-cylinder Common Rail Diesel engine which would be BS III and BS IV compliant.
The partners emphasized that they were on course with their plans, which in Phase I would see production emerge from Hosur and Oragadam. They also reiterated their expectation to execute Phase II. The overall scale of the enterprise has seen no change and, in fact, both parent companies have been in discussion with potential future product extensions.
The partners also clarified that that they will continue with their original plan of bringing their range of vehicles to the market leveraging the Ashok Leyland and Nissan brands, through their respective dealer networks. Likewise, the JV continues to examine certain specific export markets in addition to the Indian market.
Ashok Leyland is the flagship of the Hinduja Group and a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India with 09-10 turnover of US $ 1.61 billion. With seven manufacturing locations at Chennai, Hosur (three plants), Alwar, Bhandara and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), the company has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles. Ashok Leyland has associate companies in the Czech Republic and the UAE and a joint venture in Sri Lanka, besides exports to over 20 countries worldwide.
Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. (NMIPL), a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Limited Japan, was incorporated in 2005 with a vision of ‘Enriching People’s Lives’ through latest Nissan Technology and products. Chennai is a strategic hub for production, R&D and exports for Nissan. In February 2008, Nissan together with its global alliance partner Renault signed a MoU with Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai with an investment of Rs. 450 million over a period of 7 years. On March 17, 2010, the Renault-Nissan alliance plant was inaugurated in a record time of 21 months since its groundbreaking ceremony in June 2008. The plant has an initial capacity of 2,00,000 units per year and will reach 4,00,000 units per year in full capacity in the future.