Opportune time for Indian OEMs to seek global position: Dheeraj Hinduja

This is the opportune time for Indian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to seek global position by showcasing manufacturing prowess and demonstrating the products of global standards of quality and reliability, says commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland Ltd (ALL) Chairman Dheeraj G Hinduja.

Ashok Leyland increased its investment in Research and Development (R&D) by around 2.31 per cent to Rs 673.35 crore in 2019-20 from Rs 658.13 crore in 2018-19 as it plans to expand global presence and on new technologies.

In a letter to company's shareholders, Hinduja said, "Long-term outlook for the sector continues to remain positive, with the current phase seen only as an aberration. As the governmental measures to reactivate the commercial sector are awaited, the management has taken the opportunity of the last few months to re-examine the business and operating models without any presumptions."

With AVTR and the upcoming LCV range, he said, "ALL is ready to expand its presence in India and multiple overseas markets. ALL expanded its global footprint across retail markets in Africa, ASEAN and CIS countries."

Another thrust area for ALL is Defence. Being one of the largest providers of logistic vehicles to the armed forces, ALL is set to continue to position mobility products and solutions in an accelerated manner.

In 2019-20, ALL supplied 359 units of completely built up units (CBUs), including bullet proof vehicles and 888 kits. The defence business expanded its portfolio by foraying into the tracked vehicles business for supplying aggregates and components for T-72 and T-90 battle tanks. ALL is also working on enhancing exports volumes for its products.

On the launch of new LCV range, Hinduja said the company was ready with an in-house developed new LCV range but the launch was deferred due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Last year, the company expanded on the product lines with 10x4 Tipper, Sunshine LX model for ICV School segment, 12m i EGR Bus for intercity segment and 11m FE CNG for intracity segment, evoking positive customer response. The ICV and MDV range were strengthened with the addition of the New Guru 1010, Boss 1616, Boss 1916, and the TF2312. The A.C. Midi Oyster bus was successfully launched at Prawaas 2019.

The investment helped the company to launch a new modular platform that allows for configuration of significantly higher number of variants with significantly less number of parts.