India Watch : Leyland lives! Ashok’s new pick-up
The Flying Plughole lives! Ashok Leyland and Nissan have this week announced the first product of their Joint Venture, a small 1.25-tonne pick-up truck named the Dost. The commercial launch of the Dost is expected in June with prices to be revealed nearer the time.
The vehicle is powered by a 55bhp, three-cylinder, turbocharged common rail diesel engine and in informal discussions, Ashok Leyland’s officials say that the truck is built to take overloading.
The LCV is produced under a joint venture of Ashok Leyland and Nissan, in which the Indian company holds 51 per cent stake. However, the Dost will be sold as an Ashok Leyland vehicle through the company’s existing Dealer Network. Next year, the joint venture will launch a Nissan LCV and, the year after, a second Ashok Leyland LCV.
The Dost will be built in Hosur and its Nissan equivalent at Ogradam until the new Joint Venture factory is opened at Pillaipakkam near Chennai. The JV will ultimately produce vehicles on three distinct platforms in the 3.5 tonnes to 7 tonnes range.
Ashok Leyland has been a truck maker for half a century, but selling LCVs is a new area. Selling big trucks is a different ballgame altogether. The buyers are typically large fleet operators who are sophisticated businessmen, armed with sufficient financial muscle. While the number of medium and heavy duty trucks sold may grow year after year, the set of purchasers is rather the same. Most of the medium and heavy duty truck makers vie for a share of this market.
There are no plans for the Dost to come to the UK but, if it does reach here, we hope it ends up wearing the Sherpa nameplate.
[Source: Business Line]