Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the commercial and utility vehicle maker, will start selling chassis to bus body makers through its joint venture company, Mahindra Navistar later, in the year.
The 51:49 Indo-US joint venture company Mahindra Navistar Automotives (MNAL) has started conducting final tests of the cowl and chassis built by it at a facility based near Pune. The two form the main structure of the vehicle, including the driver area. A body frame is mounted on this structure at subsequent stages by the coach body builder.
President, automotive sector, Mahindra & Mahindra, Pawan Goenka said, “We would sell the cowl and chassis for people to make their own buses. We will make the chassis, which is in the final testing stage. Sometime this year, we will start selling the bus chassis.”
While the joint venture company was expected to sell inter-city and intra city buses under the MNAL brand, the company has for now pushed that target by more than a year. “We still have not finalised plans for any factory-built buses. That will take sometime. May be more than a year,” he said.
While some companies prefer to outsource the bus body-building work to another company through an agreement, a few auto makers such as Tata Motors prefer to do it indigenously.
MNAL had earlier planned to launch a 15-18 seater as well as a 42-seater bus in the 3.5-7 tonne category in the next few months. The sector is at present dominated by Tata Motors, Eicher Motors and Ashok Leyland.
The joint venture company sells trucks in the medium and heavy category under the joint brand. It manufactures these trucks at the Chakan Plant near Pune. In addition they also make engines which have been developed from scratch like the trucks.
Goenka said the facility where the trucks are made is in the ramp-up mode and will churn more products at later stages. The company sold 843 trucks during the last financial year.