Ashok Leyland-Nissan unveil 1.25-tonne goods carrier

March 29th, 2011 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, March 29 (IANS) The Hinduja Group’s Ashok Leyland and the Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Company Tuesday unveiled their joint venture’s 1.25-tonne light commercial vehicle (LCV) Dost.

The joint venture plans to roll out a broad range of trucks and passenger vehicles from a greenfield plant three years later, a top company official said here.

Truck major Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor have a 51:49 manufacturing joint venture - Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles - to produce LCVs.

Owing to delays in getting land allotment, the joint venture partners decided to roll out vehicles from their own plants initially.

“The land has been allotted by the Tamil Nadu government a couple of months ago. We will start production from the greenfield plant in the second phase, which will be after three years from now,” V. Sumantran, executive vice chairman of Hinduja Automotive and chairman of Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain, told reporters after unveiling Dost.

According to him both the partners of the joint venture have invested around Rs.650 crore each in the venture.

Sumantran said Dost will be rolled out by Ashok Leyland from its Hosur plant and will be retailed by a new set of dealers to be appointed by the truck maker.

According to him, the second product of the joint venture will be launched by Nissan from its car plant near here.

“Between 2011 and 2013 three vehicles will be launched and exports will begin in 2012. The company will produce components for other manufacturing sites,” Andy Palmer, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Company and chairman of Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles said.

During the first three years, Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles will be launching around 150,000 units to be split equally between the two promoters.

The officials did not divulge the retail price of Dost.

“The sub-3.5-tonne cargo vehicles log annual sales of around 280,000 units and is growing annually at 25 percent. The expectations of the customers have changed,” Sumantran said.

Ashok Leyland will appoint 25 dealers to sell the LCVs, who in turn can have several sub-dealers, he said.

He said the engine for the LCV was designed and developed by Ashok Leyland while Nissan provided inputs on the body design.

According to Palmer, the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has not impacted Nissan’s joint venture with Ashok Leyland.

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