Officials of Ashok Leyland, one of the leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles in India, confirmed that it is collaborating with Nissan for the development of a small car. Ashok Leyland is a flagship of the Hinduja Group, a conglomerate that is present in industries like automotive, financial services, oil & gas, media and telecom. Defiance Technologies, a company of the same group, will be involved with the Japanese auto maker in its attempt to conceptualise the small car.
Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of Ashok Leyland, threw light on the subject matter and said, “Although the truck and bus maker will steer clear of partner Nissan's "domain" and not get into the car business itself, its IT and engineering arm Defiance is doing "contract service" for its Japanese alliance partner.”
Despite their involvement with Nissan, Hinduja reiterated the fact that Ashok Leyland’s main target and area of focus will be commercial vehicles, along with commercial passenger vehicles. He mentioned that the recently showcased Ashok Leyland Stile has also been developed for both the domestic market and export purposes. Elaborating further, he explained that in order to achieve its target of being ranked among the top 5 and top 10 in the list of bus companies and truck makers, respectively, the group will also be looking for acquisition opportunities.
According to certain sources, Hinduja also talked about the group’s plans to extend its portfolio into segments like construction equipment and finance. “We have expanded our range into adjacent segments like the construction equipment business with John Deere and the financing company which we have restarted apart from Defiance, which is an IT and engineering company. We will try to grow the defence sector as well where we are a major provider of vehicles but we are not going to get into cars ourselves. We will, however, have more passenger applications on commercial vehicle platforms — Stile upwards — like a micro bus for example,” he said.
Ashok Leyland is looking forward to get associated with Nissan in future ventures, as well, thereby strengthening the alliance further. Also, the firm has been discussing the possibility of exporting the hugely successful Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV), Dost, the first product of the joint venture between Nissan and Ashok Leyland.