Flagship Hinduja company Ashok Leyland (ALL) on Friday announced that it has commenced commercial production of the buses at the plant set up at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.
ALL had conducted the ground breaking ceremony for its greenfield bus factory – its first plant in Andhra Pradesh- in March 2018. Situated at Model Industrial Park, Mallavalli village in Krishna district, the plant is spread over 75 acres and includes latest technologies to deliver the high quality standards of the Ashok Leyland brand.
The plant, with a capacity to produce 4,800 buses per annum, would also have a state-of-the-art learning centre and an advanced service training centre, ALL had said at the time of ground-breaking ceremony.The company has invested `135 crore on the project.
The plant will have the potential to employ over 5,000 employees. While it will have the capability to make the entire range of buses of the Ashok Leyland brand, the facility will also include an electric vehicle development centre, comprising of a conveyor line, pilot assembly line and prototype development. It will be a complete green facility, with rooftop solar panels, LED lighting, battery operated vehicles for in-plant movement, positive water balance and zero discharge, it had said.
ALL had, in February 2020, announced that it had achieved the global No 3 rank in the MHCV bus makers list for the calendar year 2019, based on reports released by Siam, OICA (Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles), and IHS Markit.
Gopal Mahadevan, chief financial officer, ALL recently said that while the bus volumes continued to lag, these are expected to recover with the opening up of restrictions. Bus transportation is the lifeblood of transportation in any state. The company sees primary and replacement demand for buses coming from state transport units next year. “Also with school and offices opening up, things will further improve,” he said.
ALL reported a 69% drop in bus sales during the month of January 2021 to 820 units as compared to 2,682 units in the year ago period. The bus segment continues to be under pressure since STUs and schools segments had not opened up yet fully. During the third quarter, the total industry volumes for buses dropped by around 84% to 1,700 units from 11,000 units a year ago.
ALL had, in November 2020, incorporated a wholly owned subsidiary Vishwa Buses and Coaches (VBCL) with a paid-up share capital of Rs 60 crore to carry on the business of bus body and coach-building.
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