As part of its plan to become one of the top five bus makers in the world, Ashok Leyland (ALL), through its UK subsidiary Optare, is diversifying the product range, besides entering various bus markets across the world in the future.
To reduce dependency on one category and one market as well as to improve top-line growth, the bus maker Optare, in which Ashok Leyland holds a 75% stake, intends to increasingly focus on markets such as West Asia, South East Asia and African countries, where the company sees opportunities emerging going forward.
ALL had in July entered the Australian market through Optare, with an exclusive dealership appointment. The busmaker believes that while the 8-13 tonne is the company’s primary market, it constitutes only 40% of the overall UK market, and hence there exists ample scope for diversification in order to fuel further growth.
“There are more exciting products that the company will launch in the 2013-14 fiscal to expand the range and enable Optare to compete in more than 90% of the market segment in UK,” Optare’s interim CEO PG Nilsson said without giving the details of the products.
Announcing the company’s preliminary audited results for the 12 months ended March, Nilsson said the future profitability of the company will be driven by the product pipeline including, the double decker and other new products for the export market in 2014.
The Optare board anticipates that the UK market will be flat in the near future but growing opportunities exist in West Asia, South East Asia and African countries.
“There are a number of contracts that Optare is participating in overseas markets and we are awaiting outcomes that, if positive, could, in the board’s view, significantly change the outlook for the business. The board looks forward to a profitable future with the successful launch of the new products, increasing demand and participation in the international market given the successful integration with Ashok Leyland and recognition of the company’s low carbon technology, “ he said.
Elaborating on the company’s future strategies, Optare non-executive chairman John Fickling said that it intends