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Nissan Ashok Leyland eyes passenger segment foray in 1-2 years

In its second phase of expansion, the company will launch passenger segment vehicles and goods light commercial vehicles powered by diesel and CNG fuel.

twitter-logo PTI   Tiruchirapalli     Last Updated: December 8, 2011  | 12:20 IST

Nissan Ashok Leyland Technologies Ltd, a JV between Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motors that launched LCVs for cargo transportation this September, has said it will make a foray into the passenger transport vehicle segment in the next couple of years.

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In its second phase of expansion, the company will launch passenger segment vehicles and goods light commercial vehicles powered by diesel and CNG fuel, Hinduja Automotive Ltd Executive Vice Chairman and Nissan Ashok Leyland Technologies Chairman V Sumantran told PTI.

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The LCV for goods transportation will be of 12.5 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight), with a pay load capacity of 5-6.5 tonnes. In the passenger segment, the seating capacity would be for eight to 24 passengers. Commencing 2012-13, one new variant would be launched every year for the next 4-5 years, he said.

The company has plans to ramp up the production capacity of DOST, its LCV model with a GVW of 2.5 tonne vehicles.

"We launched the vehicle in September. The reaction and response from the market has been very positive. The booking had surpassed 3,000 units. In this financial year, the production facility at Hosur plant is getting ramped up. During the first quarter of next year, we will hit 55,000 units production per annum," he said at the inauguration of the company's 21st dealer outlet in Tiruchirapalli.

As of now, the focus was on the southern and western regions of the country, Sumantran said. The network would be expanded to 55 by the first quarter of next year to cover northern and eastern India.

To a question, he said Ashok Leyland intended to keep its LCV segment separate from large vehicles like trucks and buses. It will concentrate on Tier-2 and 3 cities for marketing the LCVs.

On the future plans of the JV, Sumantran said, "By 2012-13, there would be 100-plus outlets across the country. Export of vehicles is also under consideration on account of JV partners outreach in the global market."

Ashok Leyland's Oragadam plant is being modified and expanded to facilitate the manufacture of the new range of LCVs and passenger vans, he added.

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