Eicher-Volvo JV to launch new vehicles

Eicher-Volvo JV to launch new vehicles
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First Published: Sat, Sep 13 2008. 12 26 AM IST
Updated: Sat, Sep 13 2008. 12 26 AM IST
Mumbai: Ajoint venture between Eicher Motors Ltd and Swedish truck maker Volvo AB plans to launch two new heavy-duty commercial vehicles in two years, a top official of Eicher Motors said.
The joint venture, called VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV), includes Eicher’s commercial vehicles business along with its engineering components and engineering solutions businesses, besides Volvo’s India truck sales and distribution network. “We are in the process of development and hope to launch that in the next fiscal year,” Eicher Motors managing director Siddhartha Lal said in an interview late on Thursday.
The JV plans to introduce a new 6x4 tipper and a 6x4 tractor trailer within 18-24 months, he said. “But this would be in addition to making variants of existing models and also improving on them,” Lal added.
Eicher Motors, which lags rivals Tata Motors Ltd and Ashok Leyland Ltd in sales, currently holds about 2.5% share in the heavy-duty market, Lal said. “Two players command over 90% share in India in the heavy-duty market... We want that to change.”
In VECV, Eicher products will continue to be manufactured at its Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh. The plant has a capacity of 180 vehicles a day. “We are planning to increase capacity so as to be able to roll out as many as 300 vehicles by the end of three years,” Lal said.
In addition to VECV, which is a step-down subsidiary of the company, Eicher is now left with its Royal Enfield motorbike division.
Eicher Motors is coming up with two new Royal Enfield models aimed at the international markets, Lal said. The first is scheduled to be launched in October, and the second by December.
The firm was also exploring new avenues to invest in but was yet to home in on one, Lal said. “But the investments will not be in the area of commercial vehicles as we do not plan to compete with our JV.”
The joint venture will also leverage Volvo’s global distribution network to export the Eicher brand of vehicles to developing countries. “The idea is to compete against developing market players with the Eicher product range and expanded distribution network,” he added. Lal said talks were also on with Volvo to bring the Swedish firm’s commercial finance business to India through the JV.
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First Published: Sat, Sep 13 2008. 12 26 AM IST