Tata Motors has expanded its ambulance portfolio, as the demand for ambulances has been going up through the pandemic. Tata Motors has seen a doubling of its ambulance sales in FY21 and it is expected to grow in FY22 because of the second wave and on the back of the recent cut in GST from 28% to 12% for ambulances till September 2021. The company has reduced prices which are expected to fuel demand further.
The company launched two new ambulance models this year. The LP 410 ambulance was launched in June 2021, while the Magic Express ambulance was launched in March 2021. The Winger BS-6 facelift ambulance was launched last June. The Winger ambulance has been in the market since August 2007. The company also offers the Xenon 4×4 ambulance for the defence forces.
Vinay Pathak, vice president, product line – Small Commercial Vehicles, Vans & Pick-Up, Tata Motors, says sensing an urgency, the company started the Pune plant to manufacture ambulances. The company had already developed the BS-VI Winger so they could start manufacturing immediately. Since then, the demand for ambulances shot up across the country.
The Winger ambulance is priced in the `15 lakh to `23 lakh range. During the first wave of the pandemic, Pathak said, they realised that the market was looking for smaller ambulances. So they worked on the Magic Express, which is priced in the `7 lakh to `8 lakh range and met this emerging demand. Governments remain the largest customer in the country’s ambulance market but during the pandemic, the demand from the private markets grew at a faster rate, says Pathak. The total market for ambulances is very low compared to the geography and population and remains an underserved segment in the country, says Pathak.
Anand S, head – sales & marketing, passenger commercial vehicles, Tata Motors said they now have three different products with Magic at the base level, Winger at the next level and the LP 410 at the high end. The last 12 months, they saw an increase demand for ambulances with advanced equipment and life saving devices. During the second wave, the need for oxygen increased and the ambulance with room for cylinders were in demand. There has also been an increase in demand from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, says Anand.
Tata Motors makes the Magic Express ambulance in Pantnagar, Winger in Pune and the LP 410 ambulance comes at Dharwad.
Post-GST reduction, the Magic Express (Type B) price has come down to `7.05 lakh from `8.06 lakh; Winger ambulance AC (Type B) is down to `14.20 lakh from `16.23 lakh while the LP 410 Ambulance AC (double stretcher) price reduced by ` 3.05 lakh to `21.35 lakh (ex-showroom Pune).
There would be around 30,000 to 40,000 ambulances running in the country. The demand pattern so far had been driven by few large government orders, but now it is a more steady demand of 300 to 500 units per month, Anand said.
While demand is growing, the ambulance segment is still at a nascent stage in the country. The company expects that the government would continue to play a big role in this segment.
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