Present in pain, future iffy for heavy truck makers in India
- Muted demand for heavy commercial vehicles is forcing manufacturers to rethink and rejig strategies.
August was a tumultous month in a series of challenging months in 2020 for makers of heavy trucks and buses in India. With the major players in the segment struggling to gain any sort of momentum, the path ahead is likely to remain a difficult one to trudge on.
Wholesale dispatches of trucks and buses in the month of August saw a decline with Ashok Leyland and Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles Ltd (VECV) registering a 30% decline in volumes. And while small and light commercial vehicles' sale had some signs of life, it was hardly anywhere close to what is required to galvanize the overall commercial vehicle segment.
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Just how grim have things been? VECV's performance in the domestic market went down from selling 3,144 units in August of 2019 to 2,190 last month. For Ashok Leyland, CV sales were down from 8,295 units to 5,824 units.
New challenges often require new strategies and that appears to be the mantra over at Ashok Leyland. The company is looking at making some headway in the electric mobility arena and is doggedly eyeing a bigger chunk in the domestic defense sector. It is also looking at a bolstering its LCV range. "Now we are looking forward to launching later this month our new LCV range. And this is all part of the process of de-risking the company from its core medium and heavy (segment)," Chairman Dheeraj G Hinduja told news agency PTI, adding that 'electric play for Ashok Leyland will be quite substantial.' (Full report here)
Will it be enough?
Most analysts are near certain that the coming months are unlikely to offer much in the way of a lifeline. The troubled state of the economy will have a marked bearing on the heavy vehicles' sector and demand may remain rather muted for trucks and buses, even if LCVs do seem some upward movement.
(With inputs from LiveMint)