Chennai, Truck major Ashok Leyland Ltd, with its new light commercial vehicle (LCV) ‘Bada Dost’, will be able to address a larger part of this market segment within and outside India, Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said on Monday.
Addressing reporters at the launch of Bada Dost model, he said: “Globally LCVs account for 70 per cent of the overall commercial vehicles market.”
According to him, Bada Dost – i3 and i4 – variants along with other current offerings, close the gap in Ashok Leyland’s LCV product portfolio.
Hinduja said the new LCV comes with right and left hand drive options, enabling the company to look at international markets.
The company would launch an electric model of Bada Dost too, he added.
Powered by BS-VI engine, the i4 has a payload capacity of 1,860 kg and i3 of 1,405 kg.
The new models will be initially launched in seven states and over the next three months, they will be available pan India.
The ex-showroom prices (Mumbai) is Rs 7.75 lakh and Rs. 7.95 lakh (i3 LS and LX) and Rs 7.79 lakh and Rs 7.99 lakh (i4 LS and LX), the company said.
It was two years back, Ashok Leyland decided to fill up the gap in its product portfolio and invested about Rs 350 crore in developing a new LCV platform, Managing Director and CEO Vipin Sondhi said.
According to Sondhi, nearly 40 per cent of the Ashok Leyland’s turnover is from LCVs – Dost, Partner and Mitr.
“We plan to build on this and expand the LCV market and increase our global foot print,” he added.
On the rationale for branding the new offering Bada Dost instead of a new name, Chief Operating Officer Nitin Seth said the vehicle comes from the Dost lineage and the company is building on an existing successful brand.
“It gives the customer a confidence. There are no plans to phase out Dost,” he said.
According to Sondhi, the company will come out with electric Bada Dost with a battery.
The Central government recently permitted registration of electric vehicles, with or without battery.