Ashok Leyland to launch 'Jan Bus' in Kolkata this week: MD

Written by PTI | Chennai | Updated: Jul 27 2014, 19:44pm hrs
Commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland has lined up a number of new launches this fiscal which include the formal launch of 'Jan Bus' in Kolkata on July 30, a top official said.

"There are many products. A whole slew of launches. We have variants of Bus, lot more of Captain. Jan Bus is being launched on 30th (July) in Kolkata, first time, a national launch in collaboration with the government. We are very happy about that..." Ashok Leyland, Managing Director, Vinod K Dasari told reporters.

Noting that the company has been going on with its upgradation of products, he said, the company was also looking at launching variants of its small commercial vehicle Dost, PARTNER 4 Tyre, Neptune engine.

Asked if the company has introduced "Neptune" engine developed by Ashok Leyland, he said, "We are still doing extensive trials. We have given to 50 customers and they have seen exceptionally good results. In fact, we have launched in power-gen and marine segments already. We will be launching it in truck segment in next four months."

On sales of small commercial vehicle Dost, he said it had taken a big hit. "We just relaunched "Dost" as another variant. It has got independent suspension but also with a rigid front suspension. We are launching PARTNER with four tyres."

Dasari said the company's tie-up with Japanese car maker Nissan for launching the Stile platform was a "problem" and there was a need to address it as sales of the vehicle was not as expected.

"Stile is a problem, we have to address, we are looking at it. Nissan has come up with some ideas, because it affects both Evalia and Stile. We will be implementing some changes in that," the managing director said.

On debt reduction programme undertaken by the company, he said it had come out very well. "I think in a month or two we are hoping to bring it down, to our target of 1:1," he added.

To a query about company's market share in the southern region considered as one of its strongholds, he said, "We do not look at market share in one month. We look at market share over the last five years. Our market share has actually improved."

"In the inter-mediatory segment, we have tripled that market share. Take East (North Eastern) market, we have crossed five to six per cent market share. Last two years, we have been able close to 20 per cent in the market share".

He further said, that the three prime focus areas of the company have been - reducing cost, not giving away on pricing front and improving performance from one per cent EBITDA last year to 4.7 per cent this year.

"Everybody says, discounting, discounting, here is the proof. We actually increased the price by four per cent in the last few months and our products are doing well," he added.

Ashok Leyland has a good mix of non-truck business that is helping in the combination of mix and most importantly, "better pricing", he said.