Rajkot based three-wheeler maker Atul Auto which has witnessed a healthy growth in domestic sales during the fiscal, is in the last legs of developing a smaller product (around 0.35 tonne) for the export market. Meanwhile, the company is also eying the African market to set up a completely knocked down (CKD) unit assembly facility in the coming years.
Atul plans to focus on exports from April onwards, said Vijay Kedia, director, Atul Auto, adding that the company is in the process of developing a 0.35 tonne three-wheeler for exports. The new vehicle will be introduced in petrol, CNG, LPG and diesel variants.
"While designing the vehicle we have taken care to provide extra space for comfortable seating of the passenger as well as extra space in the luggage area. Further care has been taken to ensure that the driver is comfortable and safe for an eight hour duty operation. The vehicle is also equipped with mobile charger and water bottle carrier,"Kedia said while outlining the features of the new vehicle.
He informed that the company has incurred an expense of Rs 3.63 crore last fiscal and around Rs 10.26 crore during the current fiscal for the development of new product as well as capacity addition initiatives. Atul Auto is all set to almost double its production capacity from 26,000 units per annum to 48,000 units per annum at its Rajkot plant by April this year.
Meanwhile, the company is also eying the African market to set up a CKD units assembly facility in the lines of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Commenting on whether the company is looking at an Africa unit, Kedia said, "Yes, however, the company would take a call later once the Sri Lanka plant is operational."
Atul has applied to the Board of Investments in Sri Lanka for setting up a CKD unit in the country, and as Kedia puts it an approval is expected in a month's time.
The decision was taken in the wake of a recent import duty hike in Sri Lanka, which has hiked the import duty on three-wheelers from 51-61 per cent to 100 per cent.
Atul had forayed into the Bangladesh market in 2011 with a six-seater vehicle Atul Gem in a tie-up with Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory for assembling the passenger vehicle.
Atul Auto's domestic sales during April to January 2012-13 was up 27 per cent to 14,284 units, while its exports during the period was down by 24 per cent to 163 units.