Ashok Leyland, a brand owned by the Hinduja Group, launched the Stile Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) on 8th of October. The company has pinned a lot of hopes to this MPV and according to reports, plans to sell around 1000 units of the Stile every month. Industry experts feel that it would be interesting to see whether Ashok Leyland will be able to carry its success to the utility vehicle segment. Reportedly, the company has launched Stile due to two main factors, rise in demand of utility vehicles and the potential of festive season. Nitin Seth, Executive Director (LCV & Defence) at Ashok Leyland, spoke about the potential of the Stile at its launch event. "The total number of utility vehicles sold in this country is around 43,000 vehicles a month of various kinds of price points. We will be happy if we can sell approximately 1,000 vehicles a month to start with," he was quoted as saying.
Launched at a starting price of Rs. 7.49 lakh (ex-showroom Bangalore), the Stile is 7-8 seater that follows the Dost, which was a highly successful model for Ashok Leyland. Notably, the Ashok Leyland Stile has been manufactured at the production facility of Nissan, which is located at Oragadam, close to Chennai. Also, Stile is a product of joint venture between Nissan and Ashok Leyland. There had been talks about the firm planning to export Stile to other countries. However, according to Seth, Ashok Leyland wants to perform in the Indian market before starting export to foreign countries.
Seth spoke about the joint venture between Ashok Leyland and Nissan, describing future plans. He said, "JV between Ashok Leyland, Nissan Motor is working on three platforms, one is Dost platform- it is already on roads and will have variants as well; the second is NV200 platform which we call as van platform and third is Partner platform that has LCV truck that is to be launched in January. First platform Dost has been launched, second platform is what we are launching now and third platform will be launched in January- it is trucks and buses, light commercial vehicle of bigger tonnage."
Officials from the firm also talked about the kind of investments that have been planned for the progress of the joint venture. Statistics and reports claim that the joint venture between Ashok Leyland and Nissan has been allocated an investment budget of around Rs. 2500 crore, out of which around Rs. 1200 crore. Also, the investment is likely to continue in coming years as this initiative is a 50:50 venture. Apart from investing in the venture, the firm also wants to expand the dealership network to 200, which current stands at around 125 at the moment. The only region where the joint venture does not have a presence is the east, something it would like to change in the future. Also, officials said that the firm would like to primarily focus on the profitability of the joint venture, which means that there will be no emphasis on obtaining a big market share.
Speaking about the light commercial vehicle segment, Seth added, "Currently, Dost and Partner will be produced at Ashok Leyland plant in Hosur, Stile will be produced at Nissan's manufacturing plat at Oragadam, near Chennai. When we will have our green field plant ready all the three products will move to the greenfield plant. "LCV has various categories in the market;....Dost has 18 per cent market share in its category, Van is getting launched now- it is very complicated market and I don't want to put any number now- if I tell you I have to sell 500 to 1000 per month then in a relevant segment it should be 5-7 per cent of market share."