In the last 48 hours Ashok Leyland has launched a new intermediate commercial vehicle. It is expanding its light commercial vehicle, or LCV range, the new vehicle is called Boss, launched at a price of about Rs 10.5 lakh. Vinod Dasari, MD of Ashok Leyland talks about new launch as well as the market in general.
Boss was the Avia range of vehicles that the company used to sell in Europe, he says. Boss will be sold both in India as well as in the international markets, he adds. The company will start exporting the new launch after 3-6 months.
Dasari says overall exports have historically been between 10 percent and 15 percent and they will continue to be the same. Though this year since the domestic market has fallen so drastically, the percentage of sales in export market will be higher may be closer to 20 percent, he says.
Below is the verbatim transcript of Vinod Dasari's interview on CNBC-TV18
Q: Can you begin by telling us about your new vehicle Boss that you launched yesterday?
A: In a short interview, it will be very difficult for me to tell you everything about the Boss but let me tell you that this was the Avia range of vehicles that we used to sell in Europe. We have created a brand new world line in a completely dedicated production facility for this in Pantnagar and we will be using this to launch this vehicle worldwide. What we term it as a truck. It will be sold both in domestic and export markets, it will be sold worldwide including Europe and US.
I would like to say that this is for the first time in India you will see a truck for the customers but a car for driver because the driving experience is so superior. The fit and finishing inside the vehicle is so superior that you get a car like feel. It is better than many other cars. We look at it as a truck car rather than just a truck.
We are offering many things that are for the first time in industry, like it is for the first time that we are officering an inline BS III in this range, first time there is an automated manual transmission, first time there are LED tail lights, simple things like that. However, we have done a whole bunch of other things like tying up with insurance companies, with finance companies, parts retailers as well as service providers, the entire eco system so that the customer gets a truly superior experience.
Q: You spoke about export markets, what is the percentage of your sales that come from exports and have you been doing better now because the rupee has depreciated?
A: We won’t start to export Boss vehicle till we have completed the launch in India which will take three to six months but overall our exports have historically been between 10 percent and 15 percent and they will continue to be. Export markets are also enduring the slowdown especially the SAARC market but we have been able to pick-up sales in other market. So this year since the domestic market has fallen so drastically, the percentage of sales in export market will be higher may be closer to 20 percent.
Q: The latest print of the monthly sales numbers for September has indicated 32 percent drop for overall sales for your company, do you see any green shoots at all or do you think this weakness is set to continue?
A: It is very difficult to predict that exactly what will happen to the market. There are some green shoots here and there for example the government has released some defense orders and some JNNURM orders. These will all take some time to catch up but it will take Q4 before we start to see some turnaround. It is anybody's guess whether this is the bottom or it is going to get worse this quarter. Our sales in September were lower partly because of the Southern markets both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh because of the problems that we are facing in Andhra Pradesh not doing as well but some of those problems are over. Both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh markets typically come back in Q4 so I am hoping that before the end of the year things will start to improve.
Q: Worry about the sales numbers in September was that even Dost that was doing very well in the earlier part of FY13 has started to show an impact, the September sales fell by about 17 percent, do you see this reversing or the trend continuing?
A: Dost is still continuing to do very well. The market has fallen and they continue to maintain their market share that they had built up in less than a year and they are expanding to more parts of the country so pretty soon they will have a pan India coverage and as and when they have more coverage, their sales will go up even more.