Ashok Leyland, Hinduja Group's flagship brand, has launched its Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) Stile. The model is based on the immensely popular utility vehicle platform and was unveiled by the company's brand ambassador, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of Indian cricket team. The launch took place in New Delhi, country's capital, amidst a lot of buzz and enthusiasm. The major factor behind the launch at this time of the year could be the festive season and the increasing demand of utility vehicles in the Indian auto market. There has been a sudden boom in customer requirements for a utility vehicle. There was a time when maximum sales went to hatchbacks, however, there has been a change in the preference of buyers. It must be noted that hatchbacks retain their popularity but utility vehicles have also started gaining importance in the eyes of domestic buyers.
The company has set a target of 1000 units per month for Stile, successor of the popular model Dost. This comes as a second offering from the joint venture between Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor Company. It would be interesting to see if the company will be able to carry forward its success in the Light Vehicle segment. The deal between Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor is currently working on three platforms. The first one happens to be on the Dost platform that is already on roads and would have its variants very soon, the second one is called the NV200 platform that would be based on the van style of working. The third is termed as Partner platform having Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) such as truck, buses and light transportation systems having bigger tonnage.
The latest launch by Ashok Leyland is a multi-purpose people mover in the segment of LCV that finds resemblance to Evalia, coming under the banner of Nissan. The basis of differentiation are modified headlamps, new grille and an obvious different badge. The target customers happen to be commercial vehicle users who are interested in passenger cars such as taxis, ambulances and courier vans. At present, Stile has been launched at a starting price of Rs. 7.49 lakh (ex-showroom Bangalore). It is a 7-8 seater inspired from the immensely popular model, Dost, from Ashok Leyland. It gets a 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine with a 5-speed manual transmission system churning out a maximum power of 74 bhp and a torque of 185 Nm.
Stile has been manufactured at the production plant of Nissan at Oragadam whereas Dost and Partner will be produced at Ashok Leyland's manufacturing facility in Hosur. The company also has plans to export Stile to other countries as per sources. However, according to Seth, Ashok Leyland would like to perform in the domestic market and analyse the situation before venturing into exporting. As per statistics and reports, the joint venture between Ashok Leyland and Nissan has been allotted an investment budget of approximately Rs. 2500 crore that is expected to continue in the near future as it is a 50:50 deal. The company's main focus is to expand the dealership network from 125 to 200, especially in the eastern part of India. The venture wants to concentrate on the profitability rather than emphasising on getting a big market share.