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Rs. 100

Buorseasbs? c Escorts thinks end to end • Terex Vectra fine tunes strategy


At the heart of the indian trucks & bus industry

Volume 3 Issue 12 • September 2009


Straightdrive Over the last couple of days, Pune has presented me with the sight of heavy rain amidst bright sunlight. The views are undoubtedly beautiful, but people without umbrellas are confused. They wonder… what will prevail… the sun or the rain? That is very much the scene with the Indian economy and indeed the CV industry. Modest signs of recovery are visible, but will this last the distance without pickup in infrastructure spending and export markets? The big picture is still not clear. Economists cannot decide if we are witnessing a ‘V’, ‘U’ or a ‘W’ shaped recession. While the former is a straight forward down-up movement for a year, the latter two, involve a fair bit of downside(s) for at least two years. This is worrying, since we are barely a year into the slowdown. The flow of finance and export demand for India will depend on which of these curves prevails. Our cover story profiles a company that set shop bang at the onset of the slowdown. But Deutsche Kipper, an Indian company founded by a German, did not lose heart. It has decided to target niche areas with innovative products. These include heated tippers, three-way tippers and even efficient waste managers built on the Tata Ace platform. Escorts Construction Equipment Limited has also similarly kept its options open in the quest to fight back the slowdown. Business is expected to come back to near normal levels after a 40 percent crash last year. And the company is plotting a series of alliances and manufacturing plans to become an end to end manufacturer. Another construction equipment maker, Terex Vectra Construction Equipment is staying focussed. It has just introduced a 76 HP version of its 90 HP backhoe loader. Its skid steers will also find use beyond the defence forces. A greater thrust is also expected on the compactors and an upcoming ‘digging’ machine. Now onto two component makers. Goraya-based GNA is expanding its product portfolio beyond the rear axle shafts that it is known for. The new offerings, inclusive of output shafts and kingpins, will help the company reach out to newer export markets and also The big picture is still not clear. make a bid for the domestic aftermarket. Economists cannot decide if Automotive cables-maker Remsons is we are witnessing a ‘V’, ‘U’ or also banking upon a slew of new orders and a ‘W’ shaped recession. upcoming CV launches. Orders are expected from the likes of Tata Motors, Piaggio, Force Motors and M&M who want to tailor their transmissions to more stringent emission norms. The last two stories pertain to logistics. On the one hand, we map the Mumbai-Pune route for the best public transport options. As it turns out, what is in the customer’s interest also turns out to be in the public transport operators’ too. MSRTC’s buses score over private buses and cool cabs, because they are also the most efficient. Car-carrier Janta Roadways too votes for better logistics practices. Car carriers are typically allied with a single manufacturer. This means there is a problem in terms of return loads. The solution therefore is a hub and spoke model. We have a bit of logistics to be taken care of too. The next issue will be our third anniversary special!! Sridhar Chari

Commercial Vehicle Magazine 401B, Gandhi Empire, 5th Floor, 2 Sareen Estate, Kondhwa Road, Pune 411 040. India Tel +91-20-32930291 / 2 Fax +91-20-26830465 Email us at Executive Editor Test Editor European Editor Staff Writers Group Art Director and Production-in-Charge Art Director Senior Designers Assistant Designer Photographer Production Executive Administrative Executive Publisher Associate Publisher

Sridhar Chari Aspi Bhathena Michael Smith Ahfaaz Khan, Ram Kumar Ramaswamy, Kiran Bajad, Bunny Punia, Adhish Alwani, Ajay Joyson Atul Bandekar Ramnath S Chodankar Praveen B Nambiar Ravi Parmar Varun Kulkarni Sawan Sekhar Hembram Dinesh Bhajnik Roshni Bulsara Khushroo Bhadha Marzban Jasoomani

Regional Marketing Manager (North & East) Ellora Dasgupta Regional Manager (Tamil Nadu and Kerala) A. Mageshwar Assistant Manager Advertising (Delhi) Chanchal Arora Area Advertising Managers Niladri S Majumdar (Mumbai), Pramod Udupa (Bangalore), Y. Lingeswaran (Chennai) Sr. Response Executives Vidya Venkatesan (Mumbai), Sachi Kumar (Delhi) National Manager — Circulation & Subscription K Srikanth Assistant Circulation Managers Kapil Kaushik (Delhi) Sanjeev Roy (West) Subscription Supervisor Sachin Kelkar Tel +91 22 67525220 Fax +91 22 24448289 Regional marketing offices Next Gen Publishing Ltd. 2nd Floor, Khatau House, Mogul Lane, Mahim (W), Mumbai – 400016, India Tel +91 22 43525252 Fax +91 22 24448289 24 & 30 Okhla Industrial Estate, Phase III, Okhla, New Delhi - 110020, India Tel +91 11 42345678 Fax +91 11 42345679 #903, 9th Floor, ‘B’ wing, Mittal Towers, MG Road, Bangalore -560001, India Tel +91 080 66110116 Unit No. 30, 3rd Floor, Modern Towers, No. 35/23 West Cott Road, Royapettah, Chennai - 600014, India Tel +91 44 39149889/90/91 Fax +91 11 39149892 Chandan House, 3rd Floor, Mithakhali Six Roads, Ahmedabad - 380006, India iews and opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily V those of Next Gen Publishing Ltd. Next Gen Publishing does not take the responsibility for returning unsolicited material sent. No part of the magazine may be reproduced in part or full without the prior express written permission of the publisher. Published by Khushroo Bhadha Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, Khatau House, Mogul Lane, Mahim (W), Mumbai - 400016. Printed by Khushroo Bhadha Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, Khatau House, Mogul Lane, Mahim (W), Mumbai - 400016. Printed at Kala Jyothi Process Pvt. Ltd, 1-1-60/5 RTCX Roads, Hyderabad - 20. Published at Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, Khatau House, Mogul Lane, Mahim (W), Mumbai - 400016. Copyright 2006 COMMERCIAL VEHICLE All readers are recommended to make their own independent enquiries before sending money, incurring expenses or entering into commitments in relation to any advertisement appearing in the publication. Commercial Vehicle does not vouch for any claims made by advertisers for their products and services. The editor, publisher, printer and employees of the publication shall not be held liable for any consequence in the events of such claims not being honoured by the advertisers. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Mumbai only. Executive Editor Sridhar Chari

september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 

What’s inside Straight Drive

what’s inside

Sridhar Chari




CV News


GNA looks at Indian aftermarket

The confidence stems from a new line-up of king pins, output shafts, drive shafts, half shafts and various powertrain components and sub assemblies.



Motherson eyes thermal systems biz Through its JVs with Spheros GmbH and Zanoti S.p.A, the Sumi Motherson Group is eyeing both the bus and truck AC market.


On the busy MumbaiPune route, passengers choose between various modes of transport based on the cost-time equation. We tell you, how these choices impact the economics of each mode.

Remsons registers a strong comeback The Mumbai based automotive cables manufacturer is witnessing good times, thank to a slew of products that are going to be introduced by CV makers.


MAN enhances the comfort factor

Travelling in MAN’s tourist coaches will be that much smoother, courtesy the TipMatic Coach gearbox.


Buses or cabs?

Cover Story

Deutsche Kipper shows Promise


A new entrant to the list of tipper body builders, the Pune-based company is concentrating its attention on certain niche but high growth ideas with innovative solutions.

Mitsubishi Fuso’s timely move

Japan’s prominent truck maker gets ready for future with its recently announced range of Euro V compliant Fuso Canter vehicles.


Two new vans from Citroen

Citroen adopts an application oriented focus with the launch of the Berlingo XTR+ and Berlingo 725 L2 crew van.




Into the power zone

Take a look at John Deere’s 8R series of high powered row crop tractors.


Volvo gets serious with Safespot

Accidents could well become things of the past if Volvo has its way in developing some advanced safety solutions.

Siam data

68 70


We welcome suggestions, feedback, comments, bouquets and brickbats on how the magazine is shaping up and what you would like to see and read more about. Write in to:  / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

Escorts thinks end to end From cranes to digging, material handling and road construction equipment, the span is pretty huge. Escorts intend to have them all in its portfolio over the next 2-3 years.

To Subscribe turn to page


Terex fine tunes strategy

Janta Roadways seeks hub and spoke paradigm

There is a more fuel-efficient backhoe now. Compactors are next in line.

The Chennai-based car carrier says that the unidirectional transport of cars is hurting viability. The solution is to have regional warehouses.

49 september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 

letters to cv

Rs. 100


Readies for a take off

JCB’s excavators perform well • Swaraj looks at product innovations

of r e t Let month More focus needed on school buses The story on school buses was awesome. shaw is that much easier and the

I have always felt that this segment doesn’t get the kind of attention it deserves from the manufacturers. To substantiate my view, I would just like to quote one point from your story which says that around 2, 50,000 students are transported by three wheelers in the city of Pune. The safety of 10 to 12 children crammed in an auto rickshaw can be well imagined, when the three-wheeler is meant for only three adults or say… around five children. Now let me get back to the Pune example. If you need to shift these 2, 50,000 children into buses, you will need a minimum of 2,500 units of 15 seater buses considering six visits per bus. And we are speaking only about one city. If we take all the major cities into consideration, the demand would be substantial enough to keep all manufacturers busy throughout the year. So the question is why OEMs are not able to tap into this market. Is it that they are not able to roll out the required number buses or are there some other issues that are hampering their progress? As per my understanding supply is not an issue for the OEMs – therefore cost is the most likely reason. Most of individuals who operate school buses are primarily single owners, for whom it is a means of livelihood. These individuals are also financially not that sound and therefore acquisition of an Rs 6-8 lakh mini-bus is a bit of a task for them. On the other, spending Rs 1 lakh on an auto rick-

At the heart of the indian trucks & bus industry Volume 3 Issue 11 • August 2009

also comparatively less risky. Even if an individual wants to operate a school bus, the cost of acquisition is an issue which NO STOPS FOR deters him from going for it. So does that mean that this gap will persist and children will continue to travel in cramped three-wheelers? I think the answer could be in the negative, if manufacturers look at offering dedicated school vans on a platform like the Tata Magic. The cost of acquisition of these vehicles would be lower. Moreover, the safety of a four-wheeler is far better as compared to that of a three-wheeler and therefore even operators would be in a position to bargain a little more from parents, who would like their children to travel in the safest means possible. Also there are still certain areas in cities where even a mini-bus cannot navigate easily - and a small school van would be handy in these areas. There is a huge scope for developing solutions for transporting school children. It would be better if OEs get a bit more innovative.


09 CV_August_cover.indd 1

■ Gajanan Shinde, Mumbai

What is meant by integrated transport? This is with regard to a news article mentioning the Karnataka Government’s plan to have an integrated public transport system. At the outset, this seems like a sound idea – it will surely save passengers the ordeal of having to stand in multiple ticket lines. But it would be wrong to assume that all travel woes would be addressed with this one move. The point is that, while the usual passengers will find their commute easier, no new ones will be added. After all, it is no use if a combination of a metro and a bus can only take you so far and no more. The basic problem that commuters face in using

public transport is last mile connectivity. Suppose, I want to go from place X to place Y and despite all the integrated transport, I can only travel till point Z then my problems are not solved. I may need to either walk to point or take an expensive rickshaw or a taxi, to point Y. In other words, integrated transport should not be assumed to be an end in itself, it will work only if there is integration with commuters’ needs. If that happens, the question of single or multiple tickets may not very important at all. ■ Bala Fernandez, Bangalore

Pen down your views and queries to Commercial Vehicle, NextGen Automotive, 401 B Gandhi Empire, 5th Floor, 2 Sareen Estate, Kondhwa Road, Pune 411040, INDIA. or Fax +91 20 26830465 or Email  / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

7/31/2009 3:39:46 PM

CV Monitor


news / cv monitor

Volvo to sell the world’s longest bus to Bogota

M&M rides on UVs and PTL


&M has registered a thumping first quarter thanks to a 28 percent increase in YoY UV sales - from 37,919 units to 48,720 units that increased the company’s market share in this segment from 51 to 65 percent. Its net profit at Rs 400.85 crore grew by 152 percent vis-à-vis the same period last year. Correspondingly, at Rs 4,675 crore, net sales also scaled up 26 percent. But, it must be noted that these figures also includes a component from Punjab Tractors Limited, which was integrated into M&M in July 2008. While, M&M’s own tractor sales grew by just 8.3 percent at 30,502 units that for PTL climbed 32 percent to touch 11,628 units. Tractor sales in India have been flat for a while now. And even exports to mar-

by M&M to be the answer to the gauntlet thrown by the Tata Ace. Secondly, the logo and branding for the upcoming Mahindra Navistar range of CVs will be unveiled by December. A 25tonner may debut at the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi. kets like the US have crashed by 35 percent. But, the festive season is expected to bring about a growth of 8-10 percent in the domestic market. Moving back to UVs, M&M officials say that the margins have been good due to cost cutting measures, but that sales may not grow as fast for the remainder of this year. M&M is also due to launch a diesel pick-up in the US by 2010. Distribution arrangements have been signed with 330 dealers in that country. UVs are also expected to be exported to China sooner rather than later. In other quarters, the company is getting ready to launch its sub-one tonner LCV by October. This mini-truck powered by a three-cylinder engine is touted

The China advantage M&M is bullish on the Chinese tractor industry, which has registered a CAGR of 25 percent over the last 4-5 years. India’s tractor industry, on the other hand, has seen only 5-7 percent growth during the same period. Add to this, the fact that Chinese tractors are at least 25 percent cheaper than India and this makes China a very attractive market. M&M acquired an 80 percent stake in a venture with Jiangling

Motors Corp in 2004. Last year, the company bought a 51 percent stake in the holding company of Jiangsu Yueda Yancheng Tractor Manufacturing Co at an investment of USD 26 million. At the moment, the Chinese companies are producing very little. But, over the next 5 years, 30 percent of their production could be exported. In the FY 08-09 fiscal, M&M sold 1,19,708 tractors, of which exports accounted for 7,013 units. It is also suggested by M&M officials that some auto components could be sourced from China. ■  / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009


olvo Buses has received an order for 50 articulated buses for one of the largest and most efficient bus-based transport systems, Transmilenio, in Colombia’s capital city Bogota. Ten of the buses will be the longest type of bus in the world - Volvo’s bi-articulated bus - at 27.2 meters long. Volvo’s articulated buses comprise a large portion of the buses in Transmilenio - some 560 of them. As well as placing an order for 40 new articulated buses of the Volvo B12MA model, the BRT system is now taking a step further by purchasing ten bi-articulated buses, also of the Volvo

B12MA model. At 27.2 meters, the bi-articulated bus is the longest in the world with a capacity to transport 240 passengers. The Transmilenio BRT system has been a resounding success, particularly in terms of its effect on the environment in Bogota. At present, 1.6 million passengers are rapidly and conveniently transported each day on the buses in the system. The chassis are built in Volvo’s plant in Curitiba, Brazil, and the bodies are manufactured by Superpolo in Colombia, which is a subsidiary of the body builder Marcopolo. The customer is Ciudad Movil, one of the operators in Transmilenio. All of the buses will be delivered during August and September. The first five bi-articulated buses were delivered in mid-August. The sixth of these buses will be delivered in September and this is important, since it will be the first bus fitted with a Euro IV engine to enter service in South America. Euro IV engines will not be mandatory in the BRT system in Colombia until January 2010. As a result of the use of articulated buses with high passenger capacity, it has been possible to remove a large number of smaller buses from the streets. Combined with the decision by many of the city’s in-

habitants to leave their cars at home and instead take the bus, this has led to a 59 percent reduction in exhaust fumes from traffic. This has resulted in Transmilenio receiving approval from the United Nations to sell carbon dioxide emission rights. ■

Tata Motors may buy out Thai JV partners’ stake


ata Motors may acquire the remaining 20 percent stake in its JV with Thonburi Automotive, its partner in Thailand. This is because the venture – Tata Motors Thailand Limited (TMTL) may not be able to raise enough equity by itself. As per the terms of the JV, Tata Motors can guarantee only 70 percent of the Rs 121.7 crore in long term and short term loans extended by Citibank. But that may not be enough to ensure the flow of more funds. It may be noted that Tata Motors has itself lent more than Rs 100 crore to TMTL. ■ september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 

CV monitor / news

MAN acquires 25 percent stake in China’s Sinotruk


n a bid to increase its footprint in the promising BRIC markets, German CV giant MAN SE has picked up a 25 percent plus one share stake in Chinese truck maker, Sinotruk Ltd. The USD 780.6 million investment will lead

to a development of a new line of heavy duty trucks for China. MAN will license its flagship TGA truck technology, including that for axles, engines and chassis in order to create the new line-up. Sinotruk has a 20 percent stake in

China’s heavy duty truck market, with a production of 1,00,000 trucks last year. Its revenues tallied to an impressive USD 3.8 billion during the same year. This deal represents the single biggest investment by a German company in a listed Chinese company. MAN has paid a 21 percent premium over the 60-day trading average price of the company in subscribing to convertible bonds and existing shares. Upon conversion of these bonds, MAN will become the single largest minority shareholder, with Sinotruk’s parent company China National Heavy Duty Truck Group (CNHTC), retaining control with a 51 percent majority stake. This will be MAN’s second foray into China, after the first one came apart due to impropriety on the part of the then Chinese partner. Irrespective of this fact, MAN has been coasting the wave in BRIC countries. In March 2009, MAN invested Euro 1.8 billion to acquire Volkswagen’s Brazilian heavy truck operations. Incidentally, Volkswagen is MAN’s single largest shareholder with a 29 percent stake. ■

Construction equipment rentals start improving


onstruction equipment rental companies are starting to see fleet utilisation rates and payment cycles coming back on track. This is on the back of the UPA government’s announcement to award Rs 1,00,000 crore in road building contracts this year. Significant investments are also expected in the ports and energy sectors. The pickup in the real estate segment has also brought some cheer. Overall fleet utilisation rates are now not far below the usual 85-90 percent rates – which in any case is the highest in the world. Secondly, payment cycles have come back to the nor10 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

mal 110-120 days as opposed to 150-160 days during the slowdown. This is in contrast to what occurred in the recent past. According to some estimates, fleet utilisation for the roads sector dropped 20 percent, while that for the real estate sector crashed by a massive 60-70 percent. What made matters worse was that even contractors/developers who owned equipment, decided to let them out in order to meet their EMIs. There may be definite improvement now, with further revival expected post

monsoon. But certain quarters of the industry are not so impressed. They reckon that if the machines have to be mobilised post monsoon, activity needs to be starting now. This activity has not yet commenced in right earnest. ■

CV monitor / news

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Goa to implement High Security Registration Plates

VRDE comes out with electromagnetic compatibility test centre


he Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE) has come out with India’s first electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing centre. It will measure the radiation emitted by a vehicle’s electronic components and the result of such radiation on other equipment in the vehicle. This test is important since the extent of electronics in vehicles is increasing in order to enhance fuel-efficiency and safety, while reducing tailpipe emissions. In military and commercial vehicles, electromagnetic radiation can cause significant damage to critical hardware. ‘The EMC Tech Centre will cater to the long-felt needs of the Indian automotive industry and the defence sector,’ said Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union minister for heavy industries and public enterprises. ‘The proportion of electronics incorporated in vehicles has increased dra-

matically in recent times and the trend is rising at a faster pace. In such a scenario, this kind of a testing centre was a must.’ The EMC centre, based in VRDE’s Ahmednagar facility will save India abundant foreign exchange. Prior to its coming into existence, Indian OEMs used to send their vehicles to overseas facilities at a cost of Rs 50 lakh. Now the same can be accomplished here at a cost of just Rs 3 lakh. Needless to say, the EMC centre can be used for both emission compliance as well as development purposes. Besides the EMC centre, VRDE has a very sound testing infrastructure consisting of: a semi-anechoic chamber, a chassis dynamometer on a turntable, instrumentation for radiated and conducted emission/ immunity, a bulk current injection system, a generator, strip-line testing and on-board transmission testing. The facility also of-

G fers platform-level testing of wheeled and tracked vehicles as per military standards. ■

Liugong sets shop in Pithampur


hinese construction equipment major, Liugong has opened its facility in Pithampur. This makes it the first Chinese construction equipment company to open a plant outside China. The company has 16 manufacturing plants and all but one are in China. Covering an area of 1,77,000 sq. metres the new wheeled loader factory in Pithampur, near Indore, currently employs about 200 people – 90 percent of whom were recruited from India - the remainder are Chinese. Liugong is launching the new plant in three phases and will invest a total of USD 30 million in the project by 2012. By its final phase, the 20,000 square meters facility will be capable of producing up to 2,000 wheeled loaders per month as well as excavators, backhoes, compactors and forklift trucks. The company said wheeled loaders are already rolling off the production line to meet the needs of India’s booming construction market. It took less than a year to construct the new plant. ■ 12 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

oa has now become the third state to introduce High Security Registration Plates (HSRPs), following Meghalaya and Sikkim The Government of Goa had issued a Letter of Intent to introduce HSRPSs as early as 2005. But several legal hassles meant that it took a Supreme Court judgment to vindicate the stance of the Goa government. The HSRPS to be implemented by Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd have smart security features. These features will ensure safety as well as increse the government’s revenues by nabbing tax-evaders, detecting fake documentation, identifying offenders in hit and run cases and smoothening the registration process. The smart features include a hotstamped chromium based hologram which will prevent counterfeiting: an ingressed IND Legend, ie a laser etched standardised mark that ensures national identity, a nine digit code which act like a watermark, which will aid in sequential identification of individual license plates all over the country. Then, a security inscript will be visible on the alpha numerals and in borders, thus prevent

painting or screen painting. Added to that, a tamper-proof snap lock fitted on the rear license plate of the vehicle will self-destruct if tampered with. Further, a superior grade reflective sheeting (white for noncommercial vehicles and yellow for CVs) which has an enhanced visibility of 200 meters, will help prevent accidents during the night. What is more, embossed alphanumerals and borders will ensure enhanced readability and easy identification. Apart from curbing vehicle-related crimes, these smart plates will make data mining easier, owing to the creation of a database of vehicle population.This data will empower as well as increase state revenues, create secondary validation processes in documentation of key-unique numbers such as chassis number, engine number and the registration number together.

Thus, besides regulating resale and curbing tax evaders by proper implementation, the plates will provide the state additional revenues to the state by payments of royalty, sales tax and VAT. Public benefits In Goa, it will be mandatory to register vehicles within two years of the implementation of the HSRPs by filling up forms at the RTO office.A payment of Rs 550 for two-wheelers and Rs.1,200 for light motor vehicles, which includes all taxes is to be collected by the RTOs themselves. The conversion may entail a significant expenditure, but the public will benefit from improved chances of recovery if their vehicle is stolen, a reduction of expenses on anti-theft devices and reduction in accidents due to better visibility. On account of all these features, insurance premiums will also fall too. Vehicles registered in other states, (which may not have implemented HSRPs) that enter Goa will not face a problem with authorities. But, when they permanently move to Goa, they will need to convert to Goan registration or upgrade to HSRPs in their states itself if the HSRPs programme is being implemented. ■

september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 13

CV monitor / news

news / cv monitor

CV makers see revival on the horizon


iding on positive outlook, the CV industry is on a recovery path now. The Union budget’s higher allocation of funds for infrastructure may soon pull up MHCV sales. In fact, the HCV market which saw a decline of 51 percent in the last 6 months of the calendar year 2008, fell by just 9 percent in July 2009. The tipper market, which accounts for 26 percent of heavy duty truck demand is expected to go up too on the back of increased construction and mining activity. LCV sales, lead from the front with expected growth of 23.7 percent in July. The bus markets are fairly well off, with demand for city buses under JNNURM and a stable school buses market. As a result, Tata Motors reported an increase of 27 percent in sales volume in July 09 versus July 08, while VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd, reported a 35.3 percent increase in 14 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

CV sales. Ashok Leyland though remains in the red, with a 35.3 percent decline in July sales. Meanwhile, industry experts however warn that, percentages may mean nothing, as the base was really low last

year. The slowdown had already kicked in by that time last year, though many did not recognise it. In fact, what has hit the CV industry hardest has been a combination of a downward phase of a 3-4 year cycle combined with a sharp shrinkage of finance. Till they began to fall about 15 -18 months ago, CV sales showed a CAGR of 30 to 35 percent over the past 3 to 4 years. Besides the often cited reason of finance, overcapacity of vehicles was a key factor hurting industry sales. As 12 to 16 tonners began to be replaced by 25 to 40 tonners (multi-axles and tractor trailers), the capacity increased well over 100 percent in a short period of time. Good roads further reduced turnaround times – meaning that even more capacity was available at any point in time. Hence observers believe that sales would have fallen even if there was no financial crisis. But all said and done, the lull in sales has resulted in some of this extra capacity being absorbed. This is reflected in the 10-15 percent increase in freight rates. Moreover, as interest rates have also declined by 1-2 percent, sentiments will further improve. The recent government thrust on infrastructure building – if properly implemented will- also provide further fillip to sentiment. Yet experts reckon that it is too early to celebrate – this is only the start of a long uphill climb. Much will depend on whether private sector spending can take over, once government spending slows down in face of concerns over a mounting fiscal deficit. ■

ALL holds its head high despite setbacks


he three cyclical factors of cash, capital and confidence have badly impacted Ashok Leyland, but the company is far from being down and out. The net profit for FY 08-09 may have dipped to Rs 190 crore from Rs 469 crore in the previous year. But the CV major still gains comfort from its ‘unbroken record of profitability’. Sales dropped 34.7 percent to touch 54,431 units overall after seeing a peak of 83,307 vehicles in the previous fiscal – leading to a 1.8 percent loss in market share. Annual sales stood at just Rs 6,666 crore, compared to Rs 8,947 crore in the last fiscal. ALL has reckoned that this weakness is because the company’s traditional stronghold of South India is not faring so well, while in the East, which is going strong, it has little market presence. Therefore, the dealership network has been upped to 170, while the authorised service centers and workshops have gone up by 146 and 2,000 numbers respectively. In the same breath, the MHCV segment has fallen by 33 percent, even as exports decline. The company is facing challenges in Sri Lanka post the civil war. Secondly,

it has managed to sell only 30 vehicles in the Dubai, a fall from 300 last year. To overcome this vulnerability, ALL will go after other foreign markets. This trend has made the company apply brakes from circa January 2009. Headcount in this fiscal has come down from 13,304 to 11,939 employees in FY08, even as expected capex over the next three years has declined from Rs. 3,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore. The company has implemented the ‘IMPROVE’ program for cost reduction, where several employees contribute value to the company. While these are some of the measures on the commercial vehicle segment, there has also been a conscious focus on noncyclical business. Revenues from engines,

buses, spare parts, and defence business increased from 34 percent of turnover last year to 50 percent of turnover. This has allowed ALL to declare a 100 percent dividend on sales. Interestingly, ALL has realised that the bus segment, where it retains a 46 percent market share has degrown by only 10 percent. The JNNURM has been a real shot in the arm as the company has bagged more than half of all orders. ALL sees the airports as a growing segment and has pioneered in producing India’s first HCNG engines. Weak Q1 In Q1FY10, the company’s standalone net sales went down by 51.6 percent to Rs 912 crore. The standalone net profit declined 84 percent at Rs.7.7 crore from Rs.50.6 crore on a YoY basis. Ashok Leyland wants to bounce back this year,with new launches. The company expects 10 percent sales volume growth this fiscal with a target of 60,000 vehicles. This, may bring the company’s OPM Operating Profit Margin back to 10 to 11 percent levels. ■

september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 15

CV monitor / news

Low cargo volumes reveal declining imports and exports


he freight data from major ports is showing a dismal trend, reflecting declining exports and imports in the wake of the global financial crisis. This calls for a quicker recovery of domestic demand. The cargo handled at the country’s 12 major ports in April-July grew only by a marginal 1.17 percent, (YoY) to reach 180.1 million tonnes. The growth during the same period last year was a good 8.26 percent. The major ports fell short by 5 percent in traffic volumes in terms of the targeted 189.6 million tonnes set by the shipping ministry for the April-July quarter. This means that the government’s target of see 1 billion tonnes of cargo being handled at all Indian ports by March 2012 seems unlikely to be achieved.

Chinese demand for iron-ore has not come back to the original levels after recovery from recession. After all, last year’s high demand was on account of the Beijing Olympics. And after all the hype about the event subsided, China has had to contend with a huge unused infrastructure – not very good news for steel makers or iron ore exporters. This trend is expected to last till the end of this year. Industry experts at the Kolkata port blame this on the export duty levied on Indian iron ore, which makes it more expensive than that offered by competitors from Brazil. Besides the global slowdown, there is also one in India’s manufacturing sector. This has caused domestic steel production to come down. The natural corollary to this issue is that the import of coking coal has also decreased. To put it in figures, iron ore cargo handled at 12 major ports declined by 1.9 percent YoY to 30.2 million tonnes, even as coking coal fell 24.3 percent to 8.3 million tonnes during the same period. In the 16 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

corresponding last fiscal,the iron ore handled in fact, had risen by 12.85 percent to 30.8 million tonnes, while coking coal scorched up by 40.44 percent to 10.9 million tonnes. Container traffic came down by 5.4 percent with these major ports handling 2.2 million tonne 20 feet long units. During Q1 2008, container traffic had in fact, increased by 11.28 percent. POL (Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants) cargo increased only by 1.96 percent to 56.7 million tonnes compared to last year’s 2.25 percent growth. The chief data pertains to iron ore, POL, fertilisers, coal and container cargo put together. Interestingly, production in these six core industries shot up by 26.7 percent percent in June alone. The increase in the index of six core industries, stands at 6.5 percent, which is a 16 month high. For this quarter, the increase has hence pushed up this segment’s growth to 5.8 percent, which is only marginally higher than the 3.5 percent growth in the same period last fiscal. ■

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Tyre exports nosedive by 25 percent during April-May


n sharp contrast to an increase in domestic market sales, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) has reported a dip of 25 percent in tyre exports. Sales numbers dipped from 9,85,273 units to 736,070, units during April-May 09, as opposed to the same period a year earlier. The truck and bus segment, the biggest for the export segment – and the harbinger of superior margins declined by 10 percent. The numbers fell to 2,82,247 units as against 3,14,938 units last year. Secondly, passenger car tyre exports sunk by 19 per cent at 1,25,542 units, as against 1,55,934 units. Finally, exports of light commercial vehicle tyres declined by 35 per cent- from 3,09,450 units to 2,01,478 units. These figures are especially concerning since the tyre industry, plagued by perennially low margins is dependent on the higher margin exports segment to the extent of 15 percent of turnover. The decline in exports is mainly because the global markets have yet to recover from the economic slowdown. Secondly, aided by subsidies, Chinese tyre makers are making aggressive forays at the expense of Indian

A tyre makers. The decline in Indian exports is reflected in the export Free On Board (FOB) value. The monthly FOB value which stood at 42.96 million dollars in 2007-08, declined by 4.9 percent to 40.88 million dollars in 2008-09. Alarmingly, the current year’s figures have sunk 21.2 percent to USD 32.20 million. This decline would have been even more pronounced if not for the depreciation in the Rupee vis-à-vis the Dollar. The Rupee was at an average of 40.23 to a

Dollar in 200708. This figure fell to 46.47 to a 2008-09, a depreciation of about 14 percent. What hurts Indian tyre makers the most is that their global competitors are raiding their home turf. The Chinese and the Koreans are aggresively flooding the domestic market, with imports increasing by a huge 47 percent. India has imported 2.4 million tyres during April-Jan 2009, as opposed to the same year period last year. The tyre industry calls for more stringent anti-dumping duties. ■

WB govt. slackens scrappage rules for 2-stroke 3-wheelers


he West Bengal government has partly reversed an earlier decision to phase out 31,000 2-stroke three-wheelers in Kolkata. There are 34,000 three-wheelers in the city, of which, only 3,000 are four-stroke. Of the remainder, 10,000 two-stroke three-wheelers have been manufactured after August 1, 2000- the date when Indian OEMs adopted Bharat Stage emission norms. These three-wheelers have been exempted from scrapping, if they get a retrofitment of LPG kits. This decision has attracted criticism from environmentalists, since it has not been vetted by the High Court. This is not the only instance of the WB government buckling under public pressure. It has allowed pre-1993 buses to be replaced by less expensive 4-cylinder buses. Currently, 2,557 buses and 522 minibuses need to be replaced. ■ 18 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

Apollo partners with M&M for farm equipment radialisation

pollo has bagged M&M’s mandate to supply its Farm King radials for the Mahindra Arjun tractor. This makes Apollo the first supplier of radials as OE fitment. Buoyed by this development, Apollo, the largest producer of radials for the farm equipment sector is set to boost production starting from October. The key benefit to the end-user is ultimately, a great comfort in driving and maneuvering. As farm equipment, plying in rugged terrain do not have suspension systems, radial tyres will help ease driving discomfort for the farmer. The other added benefits relative to cross ply farm tyres, include greater fuel economy, higher tyre life and low soil compaction. Radialisation of farm equipments has been growing at a good pace since the launch of the Mahindra’s Farm King radial range in 2001. Farmers in advanced agricultural states such as Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana

and Maharashtra have been pioneers in adopting radials. Radialisation in Indian farm equipment has been growing at 20 percent, albeit on a low base, considering that the current extent of radialisation is only 2-3 percent. Going good Apollo Tyres is also increasing overall production levels from 800 tonnes a day to 1,000 tonnes a day. This is because; the company expects an 11 percent improvement in sales this year. The consolidated

sales for Apollo including the Dutch and the South African markets posted an annual 20 percent rise from the previous levels of Rs 4,984 crore. Currently, the company has an operating margin of 16.5 percent and a net margin of 8 percent. Apollo’s Indian profits has also risen to Rs 94.67 crore in the first quarter of this fiscal from Rs 48.63 crore last year. Meanwhile, the combined effect of revival in the auto sector, lower interest rates and input costs has led Apollo’s competitor JK Tyre to report a 100 percent increase in net quarterly margins too. ■

Aftermarket nets highly improved margins for MRF


RF Ltd has seen a massive increase in its margins on account of a greater focus on the aftermarket and a decline in input costs. The company reported a net profit of Rs 125 crore on sales of Rs 1,433 crore, which is noticeably higher than the previous year’s corresponding quarter when a net profit of just Rs 31.86 crore on sales of Rs 1,273 crore was recorded. MRF officials were quick to clarify that the focus on the aftermarket was not at the expense of the OEM segment. Sales to OEMs have remained flat on account of a decline in the production of tyres for that segment. Two of MRF’s factories - in Arakkonam and Puducherry had encountered a lockout due to labor issues during April - May. Production at these sites is now getting back to normal. Low input costs have also contributed to the buoyant first quarter. The prices of natural rubber, which accounts for as much as 60 percent of tyre manufacturing costs, had fallen by around 17 percent in the April-June period. ■

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Caterpillar stoops to conquer in China

Butadiene price increase threatens tyre makers



he price of key feeder material Butadiene (BD) has been rising fast, worrying the tyre industry. Butadiene is the feedstock for SBR, which is Styrene Butadiene Rubber, a key ingredient in the manufacture of tyres. BD prices have hit as high as USD 1,000-1,050 per tonne, CFR (Cost and Freight) Northeast Asia (NE) – a rise of USD 200 per tonne. These prices are being closely watched by SBR producers, whose profit margins are coming under severe strain. They need a margin of USD 400-500 per tonne to have a profitable business. The situation is further worsened, since SBR makers have already signed deals with tyre makers to supply SBR at USD 1,300-1,400 per tonne for the third quarter. Therefore, even while, some SBR makers have tried to raise prices, others have opted for a shutdown. In any case, tyre makers are surely bracing for SBR price increases in the fourth quarter. This issue could just postpone whatever mild signs of recovery have been seen so far in the tyre industry. Although Asian tyre makers are not as badly hit as their counterparts in Europe and the US, there is an impact nevertheless. Tyre major Goodyear has announced that it will shut down its Philippines plant entirely. That implies a job loss for 500 people. European and US tyre producers such as Continental and Michelin have already shut down their factories, and laid off employees. ■

20 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

WABCO to supply OptiDrive AMTs to ALL


abco Holidings Inc, a global tier 1 supplier of braking and transmission systems to the CV industry has signed an agreement with Ashok Leyland, for the development of Transmission Automation Technology and a long term commitment for supply of the OptiDrive Automated Manual Transmission systems from 2010 to 2015. Ashok Leyland will be the first among Indian OEMs to to adopt WABCO’s OptiDrive System in volume production. This system is also targeted at other emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia and China. The OptiDrive modular AMT system supplied by WABCO’s arm - WABCO Vehicle Control Systems’ can change gears in fully automatic mode or as initiated by the driver.By effectively shifting gears at the most efficient speed, the technology yields significant fuel consumption reduction. WABCO claims that the system requires less maintenance and therefore has reduced downtime and greater operating efficiency. Driver comfort also increases along with improved vehicle controls and enhanced safety. The USD 2.6 billion WABCO has been a pioneer in several ways. As early as 1986, the 140-year old company introduced its first electronic transmission for commercial vehicles, and it continues to be at the helm of transmission automation technology. ‘This agreement with ALL is WABCO’s first new major contract since taking control over WABCO -TVS two months ago, thus anchoring our dominance in the local markets as well’ said P.Kanniappan, Director, WABCO TVS, further stressing on WABCO’s success in cross-border connectivity between teams from manufacturing to customer support. ■

onstruction equipment company Caterpillar Inc is moving away from its conventional strategy of selling high-end CAT branded products in developing countries. For instance, in China, it is targeting the mid-price segment with its SEM branded range. The brand accrued to Caterpillar, post its acquisition of Shandong Engineering Machinery about 18 months ago. There are indications that Caterpillar may get into other alliances or acquisitions to boost its presence in China. What is interesting is that the company may locally make some of the older models of motor graders, wheel loaders and bulldozers. These machines, branded under names other than CAT will be priced aggressively to take on Chinese competition in the mid-price segment. These developments are important for Caterpillar, since experts predict that, a decade from now, developing markets will account for 70 percent of construction equipment sales – roughly double the 37 percent currently. Caterpillar has been moving in the right direction. Business from the developing world has doubled from 7 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2008.

China itself constitutes 27 percent of global construction equipment sales. The thinking is that if a construction equipment company has to claim global leadership, it has to first lead the market in China. Caterpillar’s sales and revenue from China totaled USD 2.6 billion in 2008, or 5 percent of total sales. The company wants annual sales from China to reach USD 4.2 billion by the end of 2012. Caterpillar hopes that as its mid-range products gain in popularity and scale, customers will graduate to its CAT branded higher end products. But, this is easier said than done. China already has many manufacturers who specialise in the mid-range space. Secondly, there is a danger that customers may take far too long to migrate to the CAT brand. Until that happens, Caterpillar may continue to suffer lower margins. Amidst this uncertainty, the company may draw some comfort from the fact that as developing countries strive to build their infrastructure; they may need to go for high performing machines as a matter of necessity. ■

Bajaj Auto’s LCV plans back on track


ajaj Auto Ltd, has fine tuned its plans to produce mini-trucks. The buzz is that as opposed to a 3.5 tonner being talked about earlier, the LCV offering will be a 1-tonner, more in line with products like the Tata Ace and Piaggio Ape Truk. This product will have a few tweaks on the originally

proposed design in order to be relevant to market needs. The location of the plant and investments is however yet to be decided. Sources say, that production may not happen at the current Chakan Facility. The product may be rolled out by next fiscal. ■ september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 21

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JCB predicts mixed bag


ndia accounts for a huge 33 percent of production volume for JCB, the global construction industry giant. India also boasts of the biggest backhoe loader plant in the world, near Delhi. JCB sees a month on month increase in this market, on the back of favourable election results. Brazil, another market, which has not been very stable for JCB in the past, has been surprisingly good for JCB. And then, China a smaller market for JCB’s backhoes has also been faring well on the back of the government’s stimulus packages. But, JCB is not so sure of the efficacy of the implementation of the stimulus packages across US and Europe. Excluding India, JCB’s volumes have come down by an overall 60 percent since the start of this fiscal. JCB officials state that these markets are still reeling from the economic crisis. What may come as some relief for JCB is that markets in Russia and the Middle East may revive soon. Yet, complete recovery may not yet be in sight. This may well be a

‘W’ shaped slowdown. Governments have already spent a huge amount on economic stimulus packages to fuel the current glimmer of recovery. But this spending will

have to stop at some time. Recovery will continue, only if the private sector can take over the spending part. Else, we may be in for another dip. ■

Volvo opens new dealership in Chandrapur


ntending to build on its 70 percent market share in India for premium European trucks, Volvo Trucks India, has inaugurated a sales and service dealership at Chandrapur. The aim is to provide aftermarket support to the population of 200 Volvo tippers that is set to grow rapidly around the Western Coalfields Limited. The Dealership is spread across 5,000 sq ft

22 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

acreage with a 2,000 sq ft warehouse. There are air conditioned aggregate overhaul rooms and four workshop bays. Additional features include inspection

pits,washing ramps and tooling rooms. In fact, there are conference rooms, customer lounges , resting bays for technicians and drivers, and a cafeteria as well. In addition to this, the dealerships will have an effluent treatment plant as well as a rain water harvesting facility. ‘Volvo trucks are highperformance machines and normally utilized as long as 20 hours in a day. We are confident that we will not give anything but more than 90 percent average machine uptime. Our dealership in Chandrapur will be a motivation for our customers from across the country who participate in Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) contracts. In addition to taking firm steps in network expansion we are heavily focusing on our soft offerings aimed at making a positive difference in the Volvo truck Customer’s operational capabilities,’ said Somnath Bhattacharjee, President, Volvo Trucks India. ■

Eicher Engg. gets into supply of gearboxes to US tractor makers


icher Engineering Components, part of VE Commercial Vehicles has started exporting gearboxes to tractor manufacturers in the US. In fact, Eicher Engineering has bagged an order from 15 US companies, one each in Europe and Africa as well as six countries in South-Asia. The gearboxes will be shipped to tractor manufacturers from Eicher’s Pithampur SEZ plant. The facility has a capacity to produce 5,000 gearboxes monthly. These can be split into 3,000 units of 15 kg gearboxes, 1,500 gearboxes below 150 kg and 500 gearboxes exceeding 150 kg. The factory’s 10-acre sprawl indicates that, it can easily be scaled up by 9 times to meet future needs. The plant was commissioned in July 09. Eicher Engineering also has a plant near Thane, (near Mumbai) that makes gears for the domestic tractor and CV markets. The company’s Dewas facility in Madhya Pradesh makes transmission gears

and shafts. Speaking about numbers, the company expects an annual revenue of Rs 35-40 crore from this business, and to double it

as soon as markets come back on track, globally. Currently, however, exports to the US and European market are down 70 percent. ■

Timken ties up with Spearage for industrial oil seals


imken Company, t h e world’s leading friction management and power transmission products manufacturer has forged an agreement with Spareage India to offer oil seals to the industrial sector. Key sectors where the seals will be offered include: cement, metals, mining, energy and geardrive sectors. At its regional headquarters in Bangalore,

Ajay Dass, Managing Director, Timken India Ltd, said, ‘Introducing this range of oil seals is part of our strategy to bring a more complete line of friction management products to the industrial distribution channel. Customers have come to rely on Timken’s expertise in managing friction in a wide array of applications, and we are continually providing new products and services to help them improve their performance.’ About the agreement, J.S. Sabhar-

wal, Director, Spareage Seals Limited, said, ‘Being specialists in our respective fields, this collaboration will bring greater productivity and efficiency to our end customers.’ The product range extends from the smallest size of seals to those almost 4 meter diameter for critical and non-critical mobile applications. Additionally, Timken sells large and small bore seals, as well as metric and high temperature varieties. Timken also provides after market support to all their products as in installation, deter seal and bearing damage as well as in the prevention premature seal leakages. Timken, with a sales value of USD 5.7 Billion is present in 26 countries worldwide. ■ september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 23

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BFL to focus on non-auto biz


orging major, Bharat Forge is looking at the non-auto business to provide it relief from the global slowdown in the auto industry. It’s Scottish and US arms have been badly hit. Bharat Forge Scottish Stampings Ltd and Bharat Forge America Inc, are having to rely on workforce reduction, cost control, efficient working capital management and new product development to stay afloat. While supporting these measures, Bharat Forge has also announced a pause on capital expenditure this year. Considering that revenues rose by just 2.6 percent to Rs 4,744 crore and profits fell 81 percent, to only Rs 58 crore. This has prompted Bharat Forge to target upping its non-auto business from 21 percent currently to 40 percent by 2011-12. In line with this strategy, BFL has formed joint ventures with: NTPC Ltd for balance of plant for the power sector; Alstom to make turbines and generators for sub- and super-critical power plants; and, Areva to manufacture heavy forgings for power sector applications. The company’s Mundhwa and Baramati plants are set to start full fledged production of these components very soon. What has led to the delay is that fact that these plants started operations, just as the slowdown started. Therefore, expansion is dependent on the right arriving to the table in the form new clients. The thrust into the non-auto space represents the third phase for BFL. In the 1990s, it began an aggressive drive towards exports as the first wave, and then in the second, just as the global auto industry was booming, the company went on an overseas acquisition spree. BFL now has four plants in India, three in Germany, two in China, and one each in Sweden, Scotland and the US. ■ 24 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

news / cv monitor

Pricol’s relocation hurting local suppliers


uto component maker Pricol’s move to relocate part of its production out of Coimbatore has raised the hackles of the local vendor community. Almost 75 percent of the local vendors count the Rs 614 crore Pricol as their sole customer. In all, the 130 vendors directly employ about 3,500 workers with the addition of 1,500 indirect employees. The Tamil Nadu State Government earned Rs 16 crore last year as sales tax from them. But for Pricol, which has traditionally had its home base in Coimbatore, acquiring supplies made here and transporting them to its plants in Pune and Gurgaon is becoming logistically tenable – more so in these trying times. As a result, the company has moved 20 percent of its local supplies to other locations over the last two years. ■

Peugeot to decide India entry by year-end


rance, PSA Peugeot Citroen will decide by the end of the year as to whether it wants to enter India. The No.2 car maker in Europe is evaluating whether it makes sense to set up a plant here. Sourcing possibilities are on the horizon too. At one stage, Peugeot’s entry into India was almost certain. But, the global slowdown has forced a rethink. ■

Chinese public transport ahead of Indian counterpart


comparison at cities in China and India reveal a large number of differences. India and China are comparable in urbanisation as nearly 70 percent of the GDP of China comes from its cities, while for India, it is nearly 50 percent. The urban density i.e. persons per hectare in China however is much lower at 146 people, while for Indian cities such as Mumbai and Chennai, it is cramped as 204 people per hectare. There are a big number of disparities between the two countries’ urban lives. Expressways which greatly increase the speed of travel and cut down on travel time are a tremendous asset to any nation. While China boasts of a total length of 60,300 km of expressways, at par with the USA and Europe by the end of 2008, the number is very small in India. India only has a length of 66,590 km of national highways out of a total of 2,24,352 km of roads. Kachcha roads constitute a considerable 27 percent of the total figure. Public transport is tremendously cheaper and efficient in China, as occupancy rates are 53 persons on an average against

38 percent in Indian cities like Mumbai. The reason: affordable and frequent public transport connecting various parts of cities providing convenient connectivity. One yuan of money can take you on a city bus from any corner to another in Beijing. Barring the local train service of Mumbai, the Delhi Metro and BMTC Bangalore’s cheap-ticket initiatives, there is no cheap and effective public transport in India. With nearly 50 percent of people living in unauthorised settlements, an average Indian spends as much as 20 to 30 percent of family income on just the daily commute.

Rural development is better in China, as the funds are available at decent levels. Chinese local government revenues constitute 6 percent of the GDP while in USA and Canada, it is eight and nine percent respectively. India, on the other hand has only 0.75 percent GDP coming from local governments. In addition, to this, Indian municipal governance is bogged down by archaic laws and inefficient funding, almost absent from private hands. As Indian cities struggle with drawing funds for economic planning, Chinese cities are way ahead, as they compete with each other in attracting investments. An example of the healthy competition between Shenzhen and Guangzhou was pointed out during the Urban Development Session at the Shanghai Forum 2009. Ahmedabad in India has to a certain extent tapped the capital market for long-term funds. Barring this exception however, there has not been any significant initiatives by Indian cities in this front. The government ought to learn from Chinese efficiency, and channelise public money more efficiently in renewing urban life. Indian cities need more planning and laws as restrictions in rural-urban migration should help urban governance more efficiently. China, under its Hukuo system, has achieved good strides in restricting migration from rural areas to cities by limiting benefits to the migrants. ■

Governance and development Chinese governmental initiatives have proven to be much efficient than those in India. Efficient governance, albeit sprinkled with corruption has proven to be the key factor in China’s development. september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 25

need of the hour

janta roadways

janta roadways / need of the hour

Janta Roadways seeks hub and spoke model

up 10,000 kilometers, thus transporting more cars at a lower cost. We are ready to invest Rs 50 crore in such a yard, if such an initiative were to crystallise. We are in talks with Tata Motors, Maruti and Hyundai regarding this,’ reveals Rajinder Singh. Besides the challenges of logistics, car transporters like Janta Roadways have to contend with the dearth of qualified drivers and the harassment by corrupt officials. ‘Inter-state laws and all our systems are still archaic and shout for change. Moreover, today a driver’s salary is disproportionate to his efforts. Naturally, talent inflow has continued to dwindle’, feels Rajinder.

Rajinder Singh says that in countries like Germany, there are common car warehousing yards at intervals of 500-600 km.

Car transportation logistics is not necessarily as easy as it seems. Janta Roadways has a few ideas to help smoothen the process.


Story Ramkumar Ramaswamy hennai-based Janta Roadways Ltd has been going strong in the car transportation arena since the early 1980s. Vehicle tranportation happened with a contract from TAFE to deliver tractors to North India in 1982. A tie-up with Maruti ABT in 1984-85 gave Janta their first ever

Operating since the 1980s, Janta Roadways has a fleet of 167 trucks.

26 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

long term contract to transport Maruti cars across India. Janta benefited from the arrival of Hyundai on the scene in Chennai, sometime in 1998. The company which transports 40,000 cars per month, relying on a fleet of 167 trucks is ready to get a move on now. ‘We foresee a very big future for car transportation in a few years from now.

What was a 10,000 car transportation industry 25 years ago, now handles as many as a million cars across the length and breadth of the country each year. A total of 2 million cars are expected to be produced in 2012-13, which calls for a huge upgradation of current capacity. A joint involvement by the car makers and transporters will be very essential to meet this demand’

says Rajinder Singh, MD, Janta Roadways Pvt Ltd. Janta’s key clients include Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motors, Toyota, Tata Motors and Ford Motors. But in order for car transport to reach its logical potential, a few hurdles need to be There is a high imbalance in geographical production of cars in India. More than half of the cars come from a single OEM in north India, Maruti, while Hyundai does a sizeable number by itself in the South. This means, car carriers do not get adequate return loads. With, India’s NorthSouth span being close to 3,000 kms this scenario is unviable. Waiting times for transporters can be as long as 20-25 days. Rajinder Singh has a few ideas to remedy this situation. ‘In Europe and Singapore, there are common warehousing yards or hubs every 500- 600 km in countries as Germany, where the cars are parked in transit. This helps transporters to take in as many as they can, helping improve fleet utilisation. A visit to such a facility at Dusseldorf in Germany was an enriching experience for me. As many as 40,000 cars were parked collectively and effectively managed in the hub. The placement of the hubs in close proximity to the railway line has also been of advantage, the transporters get access to multi-modal transport op-

tions,’ Rajinder Singh explains. If the hub and spoke model comes up, Rajinder feels, with the current capacity, his company can carry 50 percent more cars than now, and with a nominal 25 percent addition in fleet strength, the company can double carrying capacity. India does not wholly lack such initiatives though. Maruti has already set up its own yard at Tumkur in Karnataka. More importantly, warehouses in India should emerge by a collective understanding among OEMs and not being brand specific set-ups. ‘Today, a Delhi-Chennai round trip takes almost 25 days, covering 6,000 kilometres per month. If a hub and spoke model comes up, we can definitely notch

The fleet The first batch of 28 car carriers run by Janta was built on Ashok Leyland platform in Chennai, with local expertise. The current strength is 167 vehicles, which includes 79 rigid trucks and 87 tractor trailers. The vehicles are built on Tata 1512, 1613, 1616, 3516 and 3015 models. There are also 10 Eicher 3025 trucks. While a rigid truck car carrier costs Rs 15-18 lakh, a tractor trailer is worth Rs 25 lakh. The car carriers were initially open top. But, as orders from the likes of Hyundai started flowing in, closed construction started in 1998 by using the services of established body builders like PL Haulwell. Generally, each OEM has its own specifications for car carriers, and hence, one vehicle may not suit the other, before making a lot of design changes to carry a different model. Hence, the OEMs typically sign contracts on long term, scrutinised and reviewed comprehensively every year. A car carrier typically carries 8-10 cars.

Janta Roadways transports 40,000 cars per month.

Each car carrier typically carries 8-10 cars.

September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 27

need of the hour / janta roadways

The design of car carriers is not standardised. Recently, the SIAM and ARAI have been taking initiatives to drive this process.

‘We carry cars across the country except the North Eastern region. Our vehicles have evolved continuously along the way. Improvements such as pperforated floors, high-grade material usage and the overall moving over to multi-axle platforms such as the Eicher 3025 from the commonly used 1613 platforms has notched up security to very high levels. With a heavy 10 tyre vehicle as that built on Eicher 3025, toppling of cargo in case of accidents is now ruled out. Quality, safety and respon-

sibility are our watchwords,’ explains fully owned call centre, contingency team Singh proudly. and periodically trained and skilled drivCar carriers dont have comprehensive ers. All the vehicles are fitted with GPS design standardisation laws in India when systems to help provide fullproof fleetcompared with advanced countries. And, tracking assurance to customers. with OEMs specifying designs that are best Car transportation definitely demands suited to their products, car carriers are a more attention in a booming economy as long way from being standardised. Only India. With common warehousing, better now are the SIAM (Society of Indian Au- understanding from government officials tomobile Manufacturers) and ARAI (Au- and standardisation of safety norms and tomotive Research Association of India) designs will make the car buyer definitely taking up initiatives. But some proposals smile a little longer. ■ which have already submitted to the government are still pending. Rajinder Singh sees a big future for Tow Bar trailers that are generally used in the western countries. ’Such concepts are extremely important, if we are to carry more cars, faster and in a more cost–effective manner,’ he states. Janta has other credits on their list too. These include a Any example of multi-level car A curtain sider car-carrying trailer. carriers in Europe. robust ERP system, a dedicated

28 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

assured moves


gna / assured moves

The use of robotics allows for very precise operations.

GNA Enterprises ‘axle’rates There has been a lull in the recent past. But things are looking quite different now, thanks to an exciting product pipeline. Story Ahfaaz Khan and Sridhar Chari Gurinder Singh says that with the help of the new technologies, the yield of the products can be increased to 90 percent.


NA Enterprises Limited will introduce many new components including king pins, output shafts, drive shafts, half shafts and various powertrain components and sub assemblies by next year’s Auto Expo. The company has been working on these products since the end of last year. These components will be directed at both the commercial vehicle and trailer market. Some of them will be manufactured using the new warm forging technology. The company has installed a special imported press for this purpose at one of its plant in Jamalpur-Phagwara. ‘We anticipate that the manufacturers will be unveiling new set of vehicles and we are also upgrading ourselves accordingly with the introduction of new technology like warm forging,’ comments Gurinder Singh, Joint Managing Director, GNA Enterprises Limited. GNA Enterprises supplies its axle shafts to a number of global and domestic CV manufacturers including 30 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

tier I suppliers who in turn supply axles to CV majors. The company has also improvised on its cold extrusion technology recently. ‘With the introduction of new set up yield of our products can be improved to 90 percent’ remarks Singh. Currently exports account for more than 50 percent of GNAE’s total production. In fact our Jamalpur-Phagwara is a

This level of precision is necessary, since exports account for more than 50 percent of GNAE’s turnover.

dedicated export oriented plant set up with an investment of Rs 130 crore. The plant has state of art forging and machining setup and is supplying axle shafts along with others to European and South American clients. However as the market tumbled, the supplies to European majors also registered a downturn. ‘Those were challenging times

for us. During these testing times we capitalise on development of new components specially those components that are not subject to cyclic ups and down common in CVs. Also we enhanced training hours of our staff to improve on skills and optimisation of input costs’ narrates Singh. However recent months have seen some improvement in the global and domestic demand. This has resulted in sales improvement in many of company’s sale territories in Europe and West Asia. The company has also bagged an order to supply its rear axle shafts to major tier-1 company for its South America operations. ‘Once we start executing this order, the production will increase and will basically reach 85 percent of our earlier levels’ says Singh. More focus on domestic market Going further, GNAE is also plans to focus

in a strong manner to the domestic market. ‘With our new press we can launch smaller warm forged components that are ready to be used,’ says Singh. The company currently manufactures rear axle shafts for the very popular Tata Ace, Scorpio, Xylo, Safari and Innova besides supplying to other CV manufacturer for their HCV to LCV applications. It has already supplied a rear axle shafts for the Tata Motors’ World Truck range. GNAE is also on board for the Mahindra-Navistar truck project. The company has developed Spindles and Drive Shafts for TATA’s which it expects will bring in substantial volumes. The company develops components for off-highway equipments in India. Earlier, we had no capacity to accommodate bigger flanges, but with the installation of our new press we have the capacity to accommodate bigger flanges that would be

necessary to make shafts for the off-road segment,’ informs Singh. Talks are also underway with other construction equipment manufacturers. The company feels that it global portfolio will enable it to cater to all future vehicles that will be introduced in India. ‘We have developed around 350 types of axles shafts and producing currently close to 2,00,000 units a month. We have been supplying to customers in Europe and thereby we already have products ready for most of the new generation vehicles that are being launched in India,’ comments Singh. R&D Centre GNA Enterprises is also setting up an R&D centre within the walls of its facility at Jamalpur-Phagwara. Apart from developing new designs, the centre is also equipped to perform torque testing and September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 31

India’s Only ‘CAR’ Magazine

Another example of GNAE’s exacting technology and testing regimen.

fatigue testing of the products manufactured here. ‘In the long run, we will not be able to compete on just the basis of costs. Hence in order to retain our advantage, we would need to offer one stop solution right from designing to testing,’ Singh adds. The defence market holds a big potential for GNAE. The company is developing a 70 kg axle for this segment. Singh expects the defence segment in India to contribute 5 percent of its total turnover over the next 32 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

two years. Another interesting development for GNAE on the domestic front is the entry into the aftermarket with a new product portfolio hitherto. ‘The company is developing new components and currently we are testing the products and hope to start the supply very soon’ comments Singh. The introduction of these components into the Indian aftermarket will also help GNAE to compensate for its absence in the

Abundant brainstorming taking place in advance of GNAR’s entry into the domestic aftermarket


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rear axles shaft aftermarket in India. ‘We supply to more than 85 percent of the OE market and that restricts us from supplying to the aftermarket’ explains Singh. Apart from India, GNAE offers its rear axle shafts in the USA, Europe and Middle East. The company believes that the aftermarket must contribute 20 percent to its total turnover. Singh also has similar plans for India and hope to achieve it over the next two to three years. This year the company expects a 30 percent growth in its turnover. ‘This is a year of revival and growth for us’ believes Singh. â–


6 ) % 7 ) 6 % ) . ) 4 $ % & 4 ( %


Stepping into GNA Enterprises three-year old EOU at Jamalpur-Phagwara reveals a whole new world of automation and finesse. We encounter alloy steel bars (that will soon become axle shafts) being picked up by robots. These bars are then induction heated, following which the trademark ‘red hot bulb’ seen in the shaft forms. Once the right temperature has been reached, the shafts are picked up from the machine for the state of art forging press. There is heat-treatment after forging, using environment-friendly gas fired furnaces. Another interesting feature that one notices is that the shafts are spline rolled, rather than cut into shape. Subsequently, through the process of induction hardening, we have an axle shaft that is hard from outside and soft at the core. The finished shafts are packaged in a special dry ‘Volvo’ wooden packaging to avoid rust during transit by sea.

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below the surface

Buses or Cabs?

Buses or Cabs? / below the Surface

We tell you, what goes for and against each mode of transport on the busy Mumbai-Pune route. Story Kiran Bajad and Ahfaaz Khan Photography Sawan Sekhar Hembram

s e s u B or cabs

Time-7.54 am: Ganesh Kamble, a 42-year old software professional, missed the Pune-Mumbai Pragati Express by just four minutes.

Kamble had an important meeting lined up in Mumbai at 11.30 am. The next train was at 9.10 am, waiting for which would have resulted in Kamble arriving an hour late for the meeting. Time- 8.10 am: Kamble arrived at the MSRTC bus depot, located next to Pune station in search of a Mumbai bound bus. The next bus was just 15 minutes after that, but taking it would have meant reaching Dadar at 12 noon, from where another 20 minutes would be needed to reach the intended venue. Time- 8.20 am: Kamble rushed towards the Pune Mumbai cool cab counter. There, he was assured of reaching the venue well within three hours. On his way to the cool cab counter, he was approached by some private taxiwallahs and agents, but concerns about their professionalism led Kamble to head straight for the cool cab counter. He chose to hire


A fleet of 75 private buses operate on the Pune-Mumbai route

a cab instead of sharing seats-with three other passengers. The journey required Kamble to shell out 6-7 times the amount that he would have expended on an AC bus service. But, obviously, more than money, time was something that Kamble valued. Time-8.30 am: Kamble was on his way to Dadar and he made it at 11:30 am!! Kamble’s story highlights the transport options for passengers on the famous Mumbai-Pune route. And if we take a closer look, we can conclude that if buses are going to be threatened by anything, then it is as much the cool cab service as trains. This is because; there exists an inverse relationship between willingness to spend money and the time at one’s disposal. Kamble for example, had to pay Rs 1,420 for his trip to Dadar. If he had opted for the shared option, he would have shelled out Rs 355. In contrast, a MSRTC Volvo service to Dadar would have cost him not in excess of Rs 225. Ever since it came into being in 2001, the 93 km expressway connecting Mumbai and Pune has thrown up multiple options for the commuter. 34 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

Let us take a peek into the world of cool cabs. In Pune, there are two registered associations involved in operating cabs. One is the Poona Taximen Consumer Co-operative Soceity (PTCCS) and the other is the Mumbai-Pune Taxi Owner Union

(MPTOU). PTCCS has a fleet of around 200 vehicles while the MPTOU straddles 400-450 vehicles. The fleet includes Tata Indicas, Indigos, Suzuki Wagon Rs, Zens, Esteems and Fiat Unos. On an average, these associations, register between 25-30

The Swine Flu scare has dented business a bit, but occupancy still remains healthy.

September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 35

below the Surface / Buses or Cabs?

Buses or Cabs? / below the Surface The 600 cool cabs on the route register 80-90 trips per day. Cool cabs are popular among casual travellers moving in groups (pic A).


36 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

and 55-60 one-way trips respectively. The majority of these trips are made during 06:00-08:00 hours as well as 18:0020:00 hours. According to Krishna Ganpat, secretary, PTCCS, ‘During the peak morning and evening hours, a cab leaves after every 15-20 minutes. For the rest of the day, the frequency drops and sometimes falls to as low as two hours’. So the question is why passengers flock to cool cabs, when MSRTC’s Volvo, Mercedes Benz and King Long AC luxury buses take off every 15 minutes, from right opposite the taxi stand. The answer: whatever the time of the day, a taxi always reaches 30-45 minutes earlier than a bus. And, if a customer is assured that the frequency of a taxi is the same as that of buses (during peak hours at least), then spending Rs 125 extra to save 45 precious minutes seems fair game. The other category of customers who prefer cool cabs over buses are those who travel in a group of 3-4 with accompanying luggage. For a slightly larger amount over that expended for a bus (Rs 1,420 v/s Rs 675-900), the group can do away with waiting. The privacy and perceived convenience are an added bonus too. Booking agents state that only 20 percent of such group travellers opt for buses. Another advantage with cool cabs is the home pick up and drop facility. An additional amount is charged depending upon pick up/drop points. Such services may entail a premium of upto Rs 700 over the regular fare. But, passengers opting for home pick up and drop service are also the ones who need to travel at odd hours and usually at a short notice. This is the period when buses are unavailable and even provisions to reach/exit the taxi stand are few. On the contrary, a telephone call to the taxi booth ensures a taxi reaching one’s home within 30 minutes. Moreover cool cabs furnish all relevant data about vehicles and drivers, thus ensuring safety too. But all is not hunky dory with cool cabs. As mentioned above, waiting times of upto two hours during the bulk of the day is something which keeps passengers away from cool cabs. The wait is accentuated by the Swine flu scare in Pune. ‘We have seen business drop by 20-30 percent in the last one month on account of the

More for More Items


Private Buses


No of round trips a month (I)




Revenues per round trip Seats (a)

45 x 2 = 90

45 x 2 =90

4x2 = 8

Occupancy levels (b)

65 percent

65 percent

100 percent

Fare per seat (c)

Rs 225

Rs 200


Total a x b x c = (d)




Total Revenues per month (I x d) E




Expenses per round trip

A grizzled veteran at the MSRTC ticket counter.

combined effect of the monsoons and the Swine flu panic,’ states Ramprasad Goel, who has been plying his cab for four years, on the Mumbai-Pune route. Another one is simply the physical travel. ‘Let me be honest, travelling by a cab has more prestige value than that by bus. But the flipside is the waiting period. And even more than that is the thought of being stuck in the backseat with two other passengers of my size,’ admits the 190 cm tall Rajesh Kamdar, a businessman who regularly uses the MSRTC service. Another issue dogging cool cabs is illegal private taxies that ply on a shared basis on the Dadar –Pune route. The illegal taxis, some of whom are Chevrolet Taveras and Tata Sumos, often pack in 10 passengers, while charging as little as Rs 140 per seat. According to Ganpat, ‘There are almost 650 such illegal taxis on the Pune-Mumbai route. They perform 80-90 one-way trips. On many occasions, we have confronted the authorities with proof, but they have turned a Nelson’s eye under monetary inducement from the illegal taxis.’ Weighing options It is an interesting exercise to compare the economics of AC Volvo/Mercedes/King Long MSRTC buses with that of comparable private buses. Around 75 luxury airconditioned MSRTC buses operate on the Pune-Mumbai stretch every day. This is















Attendant or agent











Taxes and Permits




Total (b)




Total expenses per month (I x b) F




Total Margins (E-F)





*For the MSRTC: 30 working days x 2 round trips per day = 60 round trips a month For private buses: 25 working days x 1.5 round trips per day = 37.5 round trips a month ** For MSRTC, an average Volvo driver’s monthly salary is Rs 12,000. This figure, when divided by the number of round trips, gives you the salary per day. In the case of the private sector, drivers are paid Rs 400 per round trip. *** An AC luxury bus attracts an EMI of Rs 35,000, while a cab, Rs 6,000. This figure divided by the respective number of round trips per month, will give us the EMI per round trip. ****Quarterly Road tax, National permit is Rs 70,000 for buses and about Rs 1,500 for cabs. This amount divided by 3 and then further divided by the number of round trips in a month will give us the proportionate expense per trip.

Agents for private buses keep an eye for potential customers.

September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 37

below the Surface / Buses or Cabs?

how a single bus’ economics stacks up (see ‘More for more’). With fares being fixed at Rs 225 per seat, average occupancy being 65 percent, the 45 seaters, stack up revenues of Rs 13,165 per round trip. Against this, they incur expenses of Rs 8,960 on items such as fuel, oil, maintenance, EMIs, tolls and taxes and permits. Taken on a monthly basis, each MSRTC bus with 60 round trips, bags revenues of Rs 7,90,000, incurs expenses of Rs 5,37,600 and nets margins of Rs 2,52,400. As against this, the 75 private buses plying on this route perform very poorly. Fares, which fluctuate seasonally, average only Rs 200 per seat. And, though occupancy levels at 65 percent compare with the MSRTC service, a relative decline in the number of round trips per day, sours affairs for private operators. Slower turnarounds result in total revenues falling, even as the impact of fixed costs tells on smaller volumes and the net effect is visible on the margins. At Rs 71,435, margins per private bus are 3.5 times lower than that for

Buses or Cabs? / below the Surface

It is not uncommon to find such booking shops close to popular bus stops.

MSRTC’s buses. Not surprisingly, barring Neeta Travels, most other private bus operators are either exiting or streamlining services on the Mumbai-Pune route. The reason for this sorry scenario is of course as we had reported a few issues ago, due to the

high incidence of taxation, limited permits and even parking space. But, more than that is a soft issue – punctuality. According to various passengers that we spoke with, each private bus wastes on an average, an hour to collect passengers within the city. The Mumbai-Pune expressway allows buses and cabs to maintain constant speeds of 80kmph, therefore improving turnaround times.

38 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

On the other hand, the much reviled MSRTC turned a new leaf with its ‘Volvo’ service that has a bus leaving every 15 minutes. Naturally, passengers have been drawn to the service – most of whom are well-heeled – who would have otherwise taken their own cars or shared a cab. This does not mean that every MSRTC bus is bursting at the seams with passengers – as we mentioned earlier- occupancy at 65 percent is the same for both private and MSRTC services. The difference lies in the latter being able to charge a non-negotiable premium fare that does not fluctuate seasonally either. What is more, the faster turnaround brings more revenues and margins. On the other hand, cool cab operators make hardly any money until they settle their EMIs. As mentioned above, a cool cab operates on a one way fare of Rs 1,420 between Pune and Dadar. For a two way trip, the fare doubles to Rs 2,840. But the chances of getting a round trip on the same day are very low. The turnaround time for a return trip can be as long as 2 days. According to Kamal Goswami, line operator and ex- secretary, MPTOU, ‘Delays in getting return fares mean that a cab can register only 10 round trips a month’. Therefore it can be safely assumed that a cab owner earns not more than Rs 28,400 for a month. Every to and fro trip costs Rs 750 for the diesel and Rs 400 for the toll charges. Owners also pay Rs 50 as maintenance and parking fees for their respective association for every to and fro trip. So in the end analysis, an owner gets around Rs 1,640 for every to and fro trip. That means revenues of between Rs 8,000 to 9,000 a month. Out of this, an average sum of Rs 6,000 is repayable as EMIs on the vehicle. To make matters worse, there is the small matter of paying on insurance premia, road taxes and annual maintenance. Therefore, hardly anything is left in hand. ‘It is only after 3-5 years when the EMI ends that an owner start making some profits,’ comments Mohsin Sayyad, a cool cab owner operating for the last three years. But the consolation is that a cool cab is permitted to run for 11 years, allowing the owner to make money later. And then, what most cab owners do not reveal upfront is that, they can make quite a packet in ‘local’ trips

Trains have their own appeal too. But though relatively cheap, they suffer from poor frequency.

between turnarounds. ‘At least in Pune, we can ply our cabs in six adjoining districts. This mitigates some of our woes,’ says a cabbie. Once the EMI period ends, a segment of owners stop driving themselves and hire a driver. In this case, apart from Rs 1,200 on fuel, toll charges and fees to the association, an owner also needs to pay 20 percent as commission to the driver. Considering 10 round trips a month, Rs 5,000 are paid to a driver every month. So in the end analysis, an owner ends up saving around

Rs 7,000 per month on his vehicle. As against seven to eight years of payback period for buses, the payback period on cabs is 3-5 years with the overall life of both the vehicles being almost the same. However the acquisition cost of cabs is only a tenth of that for luxury buses. Sure, one sees the MSRTC plying around with more passengers at a shorter lead time, but it is a toss-up between private bus operators and the cool cabwallahs. The question is: when is the money to be made – sooner or later? ■ September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 39

On the right track

Sumi Motherson

sumi Motherson / on the right track

ACing it Through its joint ventures with Spheros GmbH and Zanotti S.p.A, the Sumi Motherson group is demonstrating a clear intent to capitalise on the bus AC and truck refrigeration systems market. Story Sridhar Chari Dr. Gill states that Spheros Motherson is working on a 5052 kW AC that can take temperatures of upto 55 degrees.


pheros Motherson Thermal System Limited (SMTSL) is working hard towards achieving market leadership in the bus air-conditioning systems market. SMTSL is a 51:49 JV between Spheros Gmbh (formerly a part of Webasto) and the Sumi Motherson Group. Less than three years old, the company intends to maximise opportunities thrown up by a resurgent bus AC market. ‘We expect the bus AC market to reach 2,500 units. In the same breath, we hope to do more than 1,000 high capacity (23-47 kW) ACs this year. At our Delhi plant’s current single shift production capacity of 280-300 ACs a month, we can easily take care of the demand,’ explains Dr. Arvinder Gill, President, SMTSL. This optimism is driven by the Delhi Transport Corporation’s (DTC) requirement of 1,000 AC low floor city buses by the 40 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

extremely hot places like Rajasthan and Central India or even export markets like the UAE. This AC will have a cooling capacity ranging from 50-52 kW. While condensers in normal ACs shutdown at 55 degree Celsius to avoid damage to the compressor, the condensers in this AC will keep going beyond 55 degree Celsius, without any harm to the compressor,’ explains Dr. Gill. Coming to the smaller ACs,

end of this year under JNNURM funding. Also in the pipeline are mandates from Mumbai’s BEST and the APSRTC and the KSRTC. OEMs like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Force Motors, M&M as well as body builders such as Ruby and JCBL are also customers. In catering to this obviously attractive market, SMTSL faces tough competition from the likes of Carrier, Sidwal, Fedders Lloyd and Haiger. But it remains confident on account of the claimed technical edge of its products. SMTSL’s range of ACs encompasses cooling capacities ranging from 6.8 kW to

51kW. The powerful Aerosphere 400 (47-51 kW) roofmounted bus AC is notable. It has been jointly developed by teams in Germany and India to be able to take on the heat and grind of this large country. Interestingly, there is even more to come. ‘We are working on a more powerful roof-mounted AC that will provide ample cooling even in

An Aerosphere World, roof mounted AC.

the CC 120 (6.8 kW) and CC 145 (12 kW) split/duct ACs have been locally developed for applications such as panel/passenger vans and ambulances. Already, almost 200 split AC units have been supplied to the government through the Emergency Management and Response Institute (EMRI) and the Health Management and Research Institute (HMRI). More numbers are expected to come from minibuses too. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has already requisitioned 300 AC minibuses as feeders for its metro service. Similar developments

could occur in other cities too. SMTSL is also eying orders from Tata Marcopolo’s Dharwad plant. It is expected over the next 3-4 years; almost 30,000 minibuses will roll out of the plant each year. ‘We are sure that a decent proportion of these buses will need to be air-conditioned. In order to tap into this opportunity, we may consider relocating part of our production close to the Dharwad plant over the course of time. This task is not difficult for the Motherson Group, which has 15 plants and 20,000 employees all over India,’ asserts Dr. Gill. Each of these ACs is supported by very efficient electronics, which help optimise the electronic load across a variety of moving parts i n

The huge DTC order of 1,000 AC buses has Spheros Motherson very interested.

September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 41

on the right track / sumi Motherson

sumi Motherson / on the right track

A split AC being tested in Spheros’ lab.

the AC. These include compressors, condenser fans, evaporator blowers and alternators. Electronics notwithstanding, the company recommends sound maintenance practices to ensure long life of the ACs. ‘Most cases of ACs not functioning properly are on account of continuous operation and poor maintenance. It takes just 5-7 hours per bus for an annual complete overhaul. Even otherwise, routine activity

like tensioning of belts should be enough. The blowers, the fans, the condensers can be cleaned, without even opening them,’ states Dr. Gill. Barring the compressors, most of the other components are locally sourced. ‘Almost 90 percent of parts are of local origin. However, the compressors and a few others parts sourced from Germany constitute 50 percent of value. Our German suppliers

Spheros-Motherson’s ACs have been deployed in the demanding conditions of Dubai.

42 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

too will manufacture the compressors in India, once volumes pick up,’ reveals Dr. Gill. Whenever SMTSL’s ACs get completely localised, they will be able to take on the cheaper Chinese ACs. SMTSL has a further ace up its sleeve in the form of heating systems. The Thermo range has heating solutions ranging from 16 kW to 40 kW. The GBW 300 series is compliant with LPG and CNG fuel options. Contrary to popular perception, there is a big market for these products. ‘We are extremely bullish on the heating solutions business. The army is looking at such solutions for its deployments in Kashmir and the North East. Besides, even civilians in such areas would need public transport to be heated during the winter months. We are working with OEMs for this purpose,’ explains Dr. Gill. Truck business The Sumi Motherson group has another JV with Italian company Zanotti S.p.A for stationary and truck refrigeration systems. The 50:50 JV Motherson Zanotti Refrigeration System Ltd (MZRSL) sells products under the SB, GM, GS and DB series. This business caters to both stationary cold chains as well as reefers. ‘The reefer market which should have been 4,000-5,000 units strong has suddenly

dipped to a 1,000-1,500 units following the slowdown. But, we still expect to sell about 200-300 refrigeration systems this year,’ explains Dr. Gill. Big numbers will come in not only from MHCV reefers, but also from mini-trucks like the Tata Ace being deployed for tertiary distribution within cities. SMTSL has a range of new products that will be launched over the next 3-4 months. ‘We have imported a few refrigerator systems, and are also working on systems powered by their own engines. But, as yet we have not gone to town with them. This is because we first need to shore up our distribution and service network. Now, that is being accomplished by roping in the same dealers who sell our bus ACs,’ reveals Dr. Gill. To supplement this business, the company is looking into the stationary cold chain segment With, upwards of 30 percent of agricultural produce being wasted, there is enough need for cold chains. Moreover, cold chains operated by corporate clients, like Pizza Hut, Dominos, Vadilal and Amul have helped SMTSL make a name for itself within 5-6 months of entering it. ‘Most companies outsource the cold storage and transport requirements to third parties. Hence we are reaching out to major logistics players,’ offers Dr. Gill. The company can tailor its solutions based on the nature of the goods stored and the size of the facility. These refrig-

Hino could be a strong potential customer for Motherson Zanoti.

erator solutions can offer varying temperature zones within the same space for different kinds of products. This will apply more when it comes to tertiary distribution within the cities. MZRSL is also eying niche opportunities in truck cabin ACs as well as applications in the defence segment. ‘As of the truck cabin AC market is very small. But

The Thermo 300 heating system. Such products have huge applications with the defence services.

over the next 3-4 years, we expect 20 percent of India’s truck cabins to be air-conditioned,’ underlines Dr. Gill. Developments like the Tata World Truck and the Ashok Leyland Unitruck, as well as offerings from Mahindra-Navistar, MAN Force and Hino Motors are expected to drive this revolution. There is also an effort to get into the defence business. ‘Defence trucks are more rugged in capacity and demanding in function. We have cleared a majority of these projects and will start mass production once the OEMs are ready,’ adds Dr. Gill. With the truck business also gathering momentum, the Sumi Motherson group, plans to create a separate production facility for refrigeration systems. ‘We are scouting for a new location between Manesar and Faridabad,’ states Dr. Gill. At the moment, both truck and bus refrigeration/AC systems are being made at the same plant. In sum, the combined turnover of SMTSL and MZRSL is expected to reach Rs 40 crore this fiscal. ‘We are only a start up company. After reaching the Rs 40 crore mark this year, our turnover should double every year thereafter for a few years,’ concludes Dr. Gill. ■ September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 43

cover story

Deutsche kipper india

deutsche kipper india / cover story

Innovation is the buzzword for Deutsche Kipper. The tipper body maker is focusing on addressing the latent needs of high-potential niche markets. Story Ahfaaz Khan

They decided that while DKIPL could not aim for volumes, it definitely could target niche areas that had huge potential. ‘This is why, we have opted to supply products to segments like coal mining, road construction and urban waste management,’ elaborates Waankhede, now managing director of DKIPL. Sparkling line-up Operating out of a rented facility in Chakan, Pune, DKIPL has the capacity to make 250 tipper bodies per month. For starters three kinds of tippers are being developed and brought out. They include rear end tippers for the mining and construction segment, a three-way tipper for civil construction applications as well as a small tipper on the Tata Ace platform for waste management solutions. The rear tipping rock body tipper for the mining segment will be offered in the 19 to 27 cubic meter capacities for 4x2, 6x4 and 8x4 tippers. DKIPL has already

entered into an agreement with Mercedes Benz for this product. The premium truck manufacturer will offer these tippers as fully built solutions on the Actros range of heavy duty trucks. Deutsche Kipper is also in negotiations with almost all other major truck manufacturers present in India. A couple of tippers made by DKIPL have been undergoing trials for the past four months. According to Gorlich, ‘The test results have been very good. The customers are really happy and we are getting repeat orders from some of them.’ Application optimisation seems to be one of the driving philosophies for the company. This is pretty evident in the products that will bear the Deutsche Kipper brand. For example, in the mining tipper segment, the company is offering a heated body tipper for the transportation of sticky materials like iron ore, coal, clay, sand and soft rocks. ‘While unloading, around 10 percent of the material gets stuck to the tipper body. So in a 49 tonne GVW tipper, The 1.75 cubic meter of Tata Ace will add further appeal to Tata Motors’ largest selling light commercial vehicle. The small tipper on Tata Ace has two modes. In one mode the tipping can be done without raising the tipper. (Pic 1) In the second mode, the tipper is first raised to a desired height. Tipping from a higher height results in a maximum tipping angle and thereby ensures complete unloading of the garbage. (Pic 2)

Deutsche Kipper shows promise


t first glance, Deutsche Kipper India Private Limited (DKIPL) may seem like the Indian arm of a German company. But no. It is as Indian as any other company headquartered in India. What is more interesting is that 44 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

DKIPL kicked off its innings recently and amidst very challenging times - in the middle of 2008. It was not meant to be that way for Jochen Gorlich, chairman DKIPL and former Chairman of Schwing Stetter India. ‘When I saw the quality of mining tippers in India, I was appalled. Supplies of tipper bodies were very low and even

the ones that came through were of poor quality. That was to be our opportunity. In 2007, we decided to manufacture tippers. But by the time, DKIPL came into existence in 2008, the slowdown had set in,’ he recounts. But the pragmatic Gorlich – joined by Lalit Waankhede, a veteran in the tipper body industry – did not lose heart.

According to Jochen Gorlich, versatility of a tipper is an important factor for optimum fleet utilisation.

around 3-5 tonne of the load is actually not dumped. Moreover, this adds to the weight of the truck during an empty trip, thereby also compromising fuel- efficiency. With a heated body tipper, the material does not stick and therefore 100 percent unloading takes place,’ remarks Palak Bhattarcharya, director, marketing, DKIPL. The company has entered into an agreement with German tipper specialist F.X. MEILLER GmbH & Co KG (see ‘Meiller at a glance’) to source designs for threeway tipper. The former will modify this design to make it more synchronous with the requirements of the Indian market. Apart from the design, the hydraulics will also be sourced from Meiller. Such a tipper can be tipped in three directions, rear as well as either side. It therefore turns out to be a very handy proposition when tipping is to be done on narrow stretches of roads. ‘In road widening projects, a conventional



2 September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 45

cover story / deutsche kipper india In addition to tipping at the rear end, a side tipper can also tip on the either side of the body.

Lalit Waankhede says that the company will set up tipper manufacturing plants across all the truck manufacturing hubs in the country.

tipper needs to take a 90 degree turn and drop the material on the sides. This is a time consuming process that can cause traffic to come to a standstill. Not only is this problem solved with a three way tipper, but the tipping operation can be done even when the vehicle is moving. One can eventually tip material along the entire length of the stretch under construction. This is not possible with conventional tippers where the material has to be first dumped at one place and then spread manually,’ remarks Waankhede. The three way tipper will be made in 14 cubic metre and 18 cubic metre capacities on 25-35 tonne GVW trucks. ‘To be hon-

est, side tipping is a challenge for tipper body capacities exceeding 20 cubic metre. But, that does not take away the popularity of three-way tippers, with capacities below 20 cubic metres. Three way tippers were introduced in Europe only four years ago. But now, 75 percent of tippers below 20 cubic metre capacity being sold in Europe are three way tippers,’ narrates Gorlich. The prototype of this product will also be displayed during the upcoming Auto Expo. DKIPL will also use Meiller’s designs to introduce other products in India. There is a chance of this agreement turning into a full-fledged joint venture over the next 3-4 years.

India’s primary dependence on coal for its energy requirements means that mining tippers will continue to be in demand in future.

46 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

Apart from mining, DKIPL has also introduced small tippers of 1.75 cubic meter capacities on the Tata Ace platform. Meant for waste handling applications, these tippers also feature some unique engineering initiatives. ‘In existing tippers, when tipping is done, some garbage remains at the end, which is then removed manually. So, we designed the tipper in such a way that one can elevate the tipper to a certain height before tipping it. With a greater height, the tipping angle is also higher and the entire garbage is tipped,’ explains Waankhede. This tipper comes with two modes of operations – to allow for tipping with or without raising the tipper body. DKIPL is working very closely with Tata Motors distribution channels for this product. ‘We expect to complete the integration of various components like pump and PTO with the chassis within a year. Once this is done, we may roll out 1,000-1,200 units of these tippers per month,’ believes Bhattacharya. DKIPL is also developing a similar kind of product on M&M’s Sherpa range of off road vehicles. As of now, the tipper trailer segment is off DKIPL’s list of focus areas. ‘We will only enter that end of the market, when our tipper business stabilises,’ states Bhattacharya. Value addition Even as it was getting ready to announce itself in India, DKIPL went onto the drawing board. After extensive brainstorming;

cover story / deutsche kipper india

deutsche kipper india / cover story

it came out with various new features pertaining to design, dimension and placement of the tippers. ‘Apart from improving the performance of tipper bodies, we found that some of our features were also helpful in addressing chassis-related issues. Since these were new features, we filed 13 patents to prevent the designs from getting copied,’ says Bhattacharya. Three patents filed by DKIPL have already been approved and the rest are expected to be approved within a year. The company believes that these features will allow Deutsche Kipper branded tippers to claim better reliability, relatively less downtime and higher life. ‘As against a normal tipper body life of 3 to 4 years, we expect our tipper bodies to offer a life of 5-7 years,’ believes Waankhede. Other value added features which DKIPL will introduce in its tippers include automatic covers and material handling attachments. ‘There are instances of sand being transported, spreading on the road. The automatic covers will help to arrest such instances and will also enhance the safety of road users plying in close proximity to such a tipper,’ explains Waankhede. The bonus is that the covers will be aesthetically designed so as to make them compatible for branding activities. ‘It will be possible to carry advertisements on these covers. This will not only enable customers to recover whatever extra cost they will incur for the covers, but, will also be a secondary revenue generating option for them,’ continues Waankhede. The material handling attachments will be offered for 4x2 and 6x4 axle combinations. ‘The majority of materials handling

A Mercedes Actros truck with the Deutsche Kipper tipper body. The vehicle is undergoing test for almost four months.

operations need these tippers. A crane is generally used for loading and unloading operations. This adds to the overall cost of operation. We will offer a tailgate as an attachment, which will perform loading and unloading operations without needing a crane,’ believes Gorlich. According to the company, a number of truck manufacturers are showing interest in this solution. DKIPL will display a prototype at the 2010 Auto Expo. Nuts and bolts In order to equip itself for the ambitious product development plans, DKIPL is in the process of acquiring land in Chakan to set up its own manufacturing plant. In addition to this, another manufacturing facility will also come up in Chennai by the end of

next year. After Chennai, DKIPL will also set up a plant in Jamshedpur. ‘We want to be closer to our customers. As such, we will set up plants near all truck manufacturing hubs in the country,’ says Gorlich. DKIPL has appointed various personnel in Calcutta, Gwalior, Nagpur and Pune to look at after sales service in the Eastern, Northern, Central and Western regions respectively. Appointments in the southern region will also be done shortly. ‘We are appointing people who understand mining conditions and customers. They would also need to be experienced in servicing off-road vehicles with respect to hydraulics, welding, engine and chassis,’ adds Waankhede. DKIPL looks set for a long and impressive run. ■

Meiller at a glance The Munich-based F.X. MEILLER GmbH & Co KG is one of the largest and most well known names on the European tipper and trailer manufacturing scene. It manufactures a range of tippers and trailers for construction, mining and waste management applications. It has a work force of 1,500 employees working across various manufacturing plants located all across the globe. The company supplies to the likes of Mercedes, Volvo, MAN and DAF. One of Meiller’s products that could be relevant to India is a tipper that can transport asphalt. These bodies are manufactured in a 9 cubic meter and 12 cubic meter capacities for three and four axle chassis respectively. The hydraulically operated tipper features a funnel-shaped design. With the massive infrastructure and construction work taking place in India, it will no be too long, before this tipper is introduced by DKIPL into India. 48 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 49

watch this space


ECEL thinks end to end ‘W

e will cross Rs 600 crore in turnover this year and will double this number over the following two years,’ says KK Vij, Executive Director and CEO, Escorts Construction Equipment Limited (ECEL). At the outset, this seems like an ambitious statement. But,

it is borne out of solid fundamentals. For one, the construction equipment segment has been seen to be reviving since April. ‘We were down 30-40 percent during Q3 and Q4 of last fiscal. But, the revival since April and a stable government committed to infrastructure development means that, we may reach 85 percent of last year’s sales levels over the next 3-4 months,’ Vij adds. Rajesh Sharma, Vice President, ECEL and head of sales and marketing agrees. ‘The road and port segment had been seeing decent investments from the private sector under the PPP programme. But, with the slowdown, financing became a concern and many private parties withheld their investments. The government has tried to help matters with its stimulus packages, but more substantial funds will flow in the form of FDIs from investors diverting funds from recession-hit developed economies.’

escorts / watch this space

The aim is to utilise the current lean period to develop a complete product portfolio across the material handling, road construction and earthmoving equipment segments. Story Sridhar Chari ECEL leads the compactor market with a 25 percent share.

Vij predicts that by the end of this year, the construction equipment industry would have wiped off a lot of the degrowth witnessed last fiscal.

Escorts wants to introduce superior technology in its Pick N Carry cranes in order to avoid commodisation of the products.

50 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

Product development plans ECEL is not content, in merely pinning hopes on an improving macro-economic environment. Its new plant at Ballabgarh, set up at an investment of Rs 120 crore is capable of making 15,000 machines per annum. In addition to fabrication and assembly facilities, it has a world class paint shop. What is more, it is flexible enough to make a wide variety of present and upcoming products. After all, ECEL is focussing on upgrading and diversifying its product portfolio with some 6-7 new offerings. For starters, it plans to move up the value chain in the Pick N Carry (5-23 tonne Hydraulic Mobile Crane) segment. ECEL, the largest producer of these products in the world has been confronted with the problem of commodisation. ‘They are our bread and butter products, but, at the lower end of the market, not much value is coming in. Therefore, we are trying to improve the technology quotient in terms of safety and product deliverable to a customer, from a sundry material handling equipment to a project erection material handling equip-

ment,’ says Sharma. In simple words, this entails the outsourcing of the manufacture of low-end pick n carry cranes. And the introduction of higher capacity, four-wheel drive cranes that are tough enough to take on challenging terrain. These new products will help ECEL consolidate its 62 percent market share in the Pick N Carry cranes segment. They will also help in improv-

Rajesh Sharma says that ECEL is open to both manufacturing as well as distribution arrangements with potential partners in the quest to become an end to end player.

ing performance in export markets. ‘Considering our limited capacity and the huge domestic demand for Pick N Carry cranes, we did not aggressively go after export markets. But, now, with both capacity and technology becoming available, we will be in a position to do so,’ adds Sharma. In order to prove its mettle as a onestop solution provider, ECEL is also ramping up its road construction equipment capabilities. It currently makes soil vibratory compactor and tandem vibratory roller in the 10-12 tonne class. ‘We will offer new products at either end of this spectrum, that will allow us to address the needs of the market more effectively,’ reveals Vij. These products have given ECEL a slender market leadership over other players like Greaves Cotton, Telcon, Volvo and L&T. Incidentally, the compactor segment had seen a huge fall last year – going down from 3,000 units to 2,000 units. But, the recent emphasis on road building is expected to bring demand back on track. Joint ventures Staying on road construction equipment, September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 51

Escorts has entered into an arrangement with Chinese forklift manufacturer Heli to import 1.5-3 tonne forklifts and fit them with Indian engines.

ECEL had inked an agreement with Singapore technology Kinetics (STK) the owners of US-based ‘Leeboy’ brand of equipment for road construction and maintenance purposes. This agreement has not taken taken off though. Another JV for products such as motor graders, hydrostatic pavers and pothole patchers is very much on the cards. Among other joint ventures, ECEL has signed a joint venture with IHI Construction Machinery Limited of Japan to market crawler cranes in India. These cranes are used mostly in refineries and power plants. They cater to a load of 50-280 tonnes. An alliance with Italian major Fassi has allowed ECEL access to over 280 models of articulated boom cranes (truck loaders). The systems, which can be easily mounted on a truck, can be used in ferrying loads ranging from 2 tonne a metre to 80 tonne a metre. Similarly, tying up with Chinese company Zoomlion has added 12-180 metre truck mounted cranes and 180-350 metre all terrain truck cranes to ECEL’s portfolio. For starters, escorts hopes to sell 25 units of Zoomlion’s 220 tonne capacity QAY220 all terrain crane. The company already distributes tower cranes imported from Japanese company Weihai Huata. 52 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

Beyond these products, Vij hints at other areas like the concrete business – which could also bring concrete mixers into the fray. ‘We are considering entry into the concrete business too. However, it must be noted that projects like thse will only materialise over a 2-3 year horizon. We do not want to spread ourselves too thin.’

A IHI tower crane distributed by ECEL in India.

Bes i d e s resources, ECEL also needs to carefully calibrate its manpower. Just recently, it has raised its R&D personnel strength from 14 to 64. And even more may be needed since ECEL intends to partly manufacture imported products under technical

collaboration with its partners. This is in order to bring down costs. The forklifts’ business presents a good example. Distributing fully imported forklifts from Doosan has fetching ECEL an 80 percent market share in the imported forklifts’ segment. But, the 1.5-15 tonne premium product range still caters to a niche market. ‘The weak Rupee has made imports expensive, when locally made products are much cheaper. Secondly, foreign OEMs are themselves setting shop in India,’ admits Sharma. This has prompted ECEL to enter into a technical collaboration agreement with Chinese fork lift manufacturer Heli. Based on that agreement, ECEL will import the Chinese-origin forklifts into India and gradually indigenize it. At the moment, the ‘Escorts Heli 3000 D’ is being imported into India, where an Indian-made Simpson engine is fitted onto it. The Escorts Heli range encompasses the fast moving 1.5-3 tonne forklifts that will compete with forklifts manufactured locally. Earthmoving equipment The same logic extends to earthmoving equipment as well. ‘We are teaming up with a European company to supply earth moving machines for government defence tenders. These machines will be manufactured to the extent of 25-30 percent by us, with the rest happening from Europe,’ reveals Vij. More significantly, having ended its alliance with JCB, ECEL is now free to pursue its fortune in the backhoe loaders arena. There are reports that such a product is ready, and is undergoing tests in preparation for a launch by the end of this fiscal. ECEL already has front end loaders in its arsenal. The excavators may take a little time in coming. The market, at just 9,000 units has not taken off as yet and there already are many players targeting it. ECEL has not yet decided between importing and manufacturing excavators. ‘We are open to both options. Volume and cost considerations will be key to a final decision,’ says Vij. It is likely that the earthmovers will give Escorts a strong foundation while the cranes hoist it! ■

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watch this space / escorts

looking good


Remsons / looking good

Remsons registers a strong comeback The CV industry’s revival is reflected in Remsons’ strong order book and new products.


The automatic gear shifting mechanism will be featured in a number of Indian CVs.

Story Ahfaaz Khan

emsons Industries Limited, one of the leading manufacturers of automotive control cables, is on a fast track to recovery from the current global slowdown. Remsons supplies to the farm equipment segment have reached pre-recession levels, whereas in the three wheeler arena, those levels have been exceeded. Demand from the truck business has also seen a considerable upswing and the com-

Krishna Kejriwal feels that the slew of expected CV launches will drive business for Remsons Industries.

54 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

Rahul Kejriwal believes that tighter emission norms will result in the greater use of cable-controlled gear shifting systems.

pany is confident that supplies will cross pre-recession levels over the next two to three months. ‘Because of the slowdown, most product launches were delayed by OEMs. But with the onset of revival, demand has grown, just as OEMs have been launching new products,’ remarks Krishna Kejriwal, Managing Director, Remsons Industries Limited. Established in 1959, Remsons supplies push-pull cables, pull cables and flexible shafts to truck manufacturers, tractors and three wheeler manufacturers as well as manufacturers of two wheelers and passenger cars. Each of these cables has different applications. A push-pull cable is used in gear shift, PTO and other operations where both pull as well as push operations are involved. A pull cable is used in accelerators, parking brakes, clutches, bonnet

opening mechanisms and other operations, which involve only pull functions. In devices like speedometers and tachographs, flexible shafts are used as rotary movement is necessary. Push pull cables, which Remsons stared manufacturing in 2006, is emerging as one of the most promising products in its portfolio. Remsons first started supplies of Gear Shifters Assemblies with Push Pull Cables to Fiat back in 2001. The concept was way ahead of its time for India. Today the company has developed gear shifting systems for various OEMs like Force Motors, Piaggio, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra for a variety of their models. The gear shift mechanism will be installed on the one tonne Ace that Tata Motors will be launching soon. Similarly the upgraded version of Piaggio Ape truck, the Ape

truck plus will also have gear shift system developed by Remsons. In addition to this, the gear shift mechanism will also be featured in the light commercial vehicle that will be launched by M&M. Remsons has also developed and exported gear shift systems for Navistar. According to Rahul Kejriwal, vice president, marketing, Remsons Industries Limited, ‘Traditionally, a gear box is installed perpendicular to the gear changing system. But, with emission norms becoming more stringent, a number of different components need to go with an engine. At times, these additional components cannot be accommodated if there is a perpendicular alignment between the gearbox and shifting systems. Cable controlled gear shifting allows the liberty to place the gearbox at any position, after factoring in the extra components. Hence, advanced emission norms will drive demand for cable assisted gear shift systems in future.’ A gear shifting mechanism consists of the lever mechanism and two cables. The development of this mechanism from the concept stage takes approximately two years and runs parallel with the gearbox development. Moreover, testing the gearshift system is also a complex procedure as the entire mechanism along with the cable

routing as in a vehicle is simulated to test the system. Remsons also enjoys a significant market presence with its pull cables and flexible shafts. The company has developed cables for Tata Motors’ World Truck range. Remsons is also a 100 preferred supplier for all kinds of cable requirements for M&M’s Farm Equipment Sector. On the export front too, Remsons has a considerable presence in the US, Europe and sup-

Remsons manufactures push-pull cables, pull cables and flexible shafts for the entire spectrum of the automotive industry.

plies to the commercial and Farm equipment manufactures there. Remsons also has an office in Europe that caters to the marketing and design support required by OEMs in that geography. Remsons also has plants in Daman, Gurgaon and Pardi for manufacturing range of cables. Product testing and validation is also done at Gurgaon and Daman plants. The design and testing centre is located in Mumbai. The centre has a team of ten designers working on advanced software like pro-engineering and AutoCAD. Remsons has also installed Finite Element Analysis (FEA) infrastructure last year at this centre. ‘Costly and laborious prototyping hinders designing operations and thereby results in compromised schedules and budgets. However, with FEA, our designers gain early product insight, which consequently improves verification and validation processes and results in higher quality products,’ comments Krishna Kejriwal. Remsons caters to the aftermarket with a network of more than 150 dealers which caters to over 10,000 retail points across India. The company feels that though the recession has pegged back its plans by a year, it will be able to cover this ground very soon. The reviving market and the extent of projects on Remsons’ plate lend credence to this belief. ■ September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 55

Pragmatic strategy

Terex Vectra

Terex Vectra / Pragmatic strategy

Terex Vectra fine tunes its strategy

A new leaner backhoe has been out for some time. Compactors are to be added to portfolio, just as the skid steers receive a shot in the arm.


erex Vectra Equipment Private Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between Terex Corporation and Vectra Limited is playing the game pragmatically. Recently, it has begun to offer a 76 HP version of its 90 HP backhoe loader. The TX 760N, is fundamentally designed to offer better fuel-efficiency, than the TX 760. Besides this obvious change, the new machine also embodies a few modifications based on customer feedback. ‘The TX 760N has been simplified to offers the right customer value. We substituted the 56 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

Story Sridhar Chari international profile curved glass in the cabin with a flat one. Customers wanted something that can be easily replaced if broken,’ states Vijay Sharma, Area Director, Terex Construction. Similarly, there was a greater weightage to having a properly ventilated cabin, as opposed to having many plastic-component frills. The structurals have been toughened to take on the tough Indian operating conditions. ‘The bulk of our customers come from the hirers segment. To them, what matters the most is the cost of operations. The TX

760N is targeted to meet their needs,’ adds Sharma. Terex Vectra’s 90HP machine is proven in terms of its high efficiency and speed of operations. But, the bulk of the company’s customers, who buy machines in order to let them out to third parties, have different considerations. They get revenues, based on the number of hours that their backhoe is deployed by end users. In such a scenario, a machine which gets the job done quickly, and at a relatively higher fuel cost may not be the best proposition for them. And, Terex expects the proportion of customers from the hire trade to only grow. ‘With the economic

downturn, raising a premium on the cost of ownership, the hire segment should grow in numbers. From constituting 40 percent of the market a decade ago, this segment now weighs in at 60-70 percent,’ adds Amit Sood, General Manager – Sales and Marketing. Yet, all said and done, the 90 HP machine, has delivered 3,700 sales numbers from sales to discerning customers. This is impressive for a company that set shop less than 4 years ago. And, what is more, 1,100 backhoes were sold last year on total industry volumes of 13,000-14,000 units. A high level of localisation is one of the reasons for the strong showing. Riding on Kirloskar engines and in-house structure fabrication, Terex can put out 2,000 machines on a single shift at its 36-acre Greater Noida facility. The plant has its own fabrication centre, where chassis parts are cut and fabricated, following which, the chassis is assembled, spot blasted, taken through three levels of chemical treatment, dried and painted and then finally put on the assembly line, where the engine, axle, hydraulics and cabin are fitted. After completion, each vehicle is put through a series of rigorous tests and then after being certified, they are ready to be sent off to the dealers. ‘We can boast of localisation levels of 85 percent. Only the hydraulics, torque converters and some electronic components are imported. This allows us to price our products competitively,’ comments Sood. Now that the two backhoe products are up and running, there is surely a mood of optimism. But Terex realises that the real

Vijay Sharma is confident of the fact that on account of the government’s infrastructure thrust, the backhoe market can grow to 5-6 times the current market size of 13,000-14,000 units.

upside will come only if two factors get back on track. The first is a correction of the market. ‘Many companies had aggressively dumped products on their dealers. Desperate to dispose off this inventory, the latter, sold indiscriminately. This led to a proliferation of machines in the market. And, rentals came crashing. As a result, many customers defaulted on repayment of loans – leading to machines being repossessed. In a way, this meltdown cleaned up the market, paving the way for fresh demand,’ analyses Sharma. The other aspect to revival of demand for backhoes is the infrastructure segment. ‘Much will depend on how infrastructure development happens. We have the example of what happened in China, leading to an annual market for some 65,000 excavators. The same can be true for the backhoe driven Indian

market,’ adds Sharma. Terex Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer with 2008 net sales of $9.9 billion. The company operates in four business segments: Terex Aerial Work Platforms, Terex Construction, Terex Cranes and Terex Materials Processing & Mining. The UK-based Vectra group on the other hand has invested in 18 companies with manufacturing facilities spread across 6 countries. Besides construction equipment, the group has interests in the automotive, IT, finance and helicopter transportation services. Skid steers and more The Heman 175 is claimed by Terex Vectra to be the first skid steer loader to be made in India. The company has a 60-70 percent

Comfortable seats in a spacious cabin and easy to use controls.

September 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 57

Pragmatic strategy / Terex Vectra

Almost all of the 300 skid steers last year were sold to the Indian army.

Amit Sood says that the hire segment as a proportion of the construction equipment market will grow significantly.

share in the nascent 500 units market. The majority of the Heman 175 produced last year, went to the Indian army. This did not spare many to be sold in other markets. This is about to change now. ‘Having supplied some of these products to cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Agartala, we intend to go after the urban waste management solutions in an aggressive manner this year,’ elaborates Sood. Skid steer loaders are extremely versatile machines,

which can have as many as 30-40 attachments. These can include sweepers, loaders and even snowblowers. While some of these attachments are made in India, the rest are imported. A completely built skid steer, with a standard attachment is priced at Rs 12-13 lakh. Beyond skid steers, Terex Vectra is also looking at introducing compactors in India. ‘A 10-12 tonne vibratory compactor will be introduced in the last quarter of this The Greater Noida plant boasts of 85 percent localisation levels.

58 / Commercial Vehicle / September 2009

year. We have already made a few units, which were exported,’ reveals Sharma. There is also a mystery new product in the offing. ‘We are considering introducing a new digging machine that can be used for road construction as well as for other purposes. This machine, as yet not offered by our competitors in India, will be specifically suited to the needs of the domestic market,’ says Sood. Predictably, Terex is withholding product specification details or even the launch time. That said, excavators are not on the immediate radar. It had been long expected that the Schaeff HR 32 7.5 ton excavator would be introduced in India. But the focus at the moment happens to be the backhoes and skid steers. ‘We first want to take the backhoes and skid steers to a particular level through continuous improvements and greater market access. The foray into excavators will happen at a later date,’ offers Sood. Terex has also used the lean period brought about by the economic downturn to improve efficiencies. The company has reduced on manpower and overheads and brought forward its breakeven period in the process. The dealer count in the meantime has been ramped up to 48. The turnover, which stands at Rs 270-280 crore will also benefit from a projected 10 percent increase in sales next year. ■


Geared up

MAN introduces new TipMatic auto gearbox


AN has introduced an upgraded version of its TipMatic automatic gearbox for MAN and Neoplan brand of buses. Branded as the MAN TipMatic Coach, the new gearbox has been designed to improve overall performance of the drivetrain. The gearbox features a new gear change system especially adapted to work with EEV complaint MAN PURE DIESEL® engines. For the first time ever, all modern driver assistance systems such as ACC have been integrated into the calculation of the gearchange strategy. The gearbox automatically shifts gears depending upon speed and load conditions and thereby maximises fuel economy. The improved design of the clutch and accelerator also enables smooth gear changes.

Along with the gearbox, MAN has also optimised the EasyStart system so as to offer better release of the service brakes when the vehicle pulls off again. Once decelerated, the EasyStart system maintains braking pressure beyond a certain time after the accelerator has been pressed. This prevents the vehicle from rolling back on the hill and thereby improves safety. Along with the gearbox, various other components associated with it have also undergone upgradation. One such feature is the suspended accelerator cable which has a clearly defined and perceptible kick down so that a high speed gear change can be triggered if required. The pedal has also been improved to have precise control over power in the manoeuvring mode. The gearbox actuator is placed directly in the housing and it has also been designed to withstand the heaviest of loads coming from the gearbox. The new MAN TipMatic® Coach also offers improved diagnosis and information functions. Fault detection has been further optimised and driving status data shown in the vehicle’s display has also been expanded. This means that there is not a moment when the driver does not know the operating condition of the gearbox.

According to experts, there is a need for continuous improvement in transport efficiency because of the projected increase in the volume of transport and traffic on European roads Experts predict an 80 percent increase in goods transport in Europe by 2025. At the same time, the long-term fall in energy resources and more stringent emissions requirements are expected to make transport increasingly expensive. For these reasons, experts believe that flexible, fast and reliable transport of people and goods by road must become as efficient as possible. As part of its efforts in optimising transport efficiency, MAN has collaborated with various universities and research organisations like IDEAS, AKTIV and ‘European Bus of the Future (UITP)’. The company has invested more than Euro 257 million in research and development in 2008. ■

Premium luxury buses like the Neoplan Starliner will use MAN TipMatic Coach gearbox.

september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 59

high five


ith an aim to expand its footprint in stringent emission markets, Mitsubishi Fuso announced a new range of Euro V compliant Fuso Canter range of vehicles last month.

Mitsubishi fuso

The new range has been designed to offer bigger payload, improved fuel consumption, reduced maintenance costs, enhanced driveability and lower emissions. The new range is powered by a 4-cylinder 3-litre die-

mitsubishi fuso / high five

sel engines with power output options of 130, 145 and 175 horsepower. The two lower-powered variants will be introduced in the summer while the 175 hp version will be added as the top end of the range in February 2010. The new 3.0 litre engine will replace the earlier 3 and 4.9 litre engines on the entire range of vehicles between 3.5 to 7.5 tonne GVW. All the three variants of the new engine use cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology, oxidation catalytic converter and a particulate filter. In addition to these, the 175 hp version also features a diesel particulate filter and BlueTec with AdBlue. A customer needs to change the AdBlue after every 8,000 km and display on the dashboard helps him in the process by displaying

Mitsubishi Fuso unveils Euro V Fuso Canter 60 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

the level of the solution. From the spring of 2010, the Fuso Canter will be available with EEFH engines. The EEFH standard will see a further reduction in particle emissions by around a third in comparison to the already stringent Euro 5 limits. The new engines features a long stroke (bore x stroke: 95.8 x 104 mm), overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, turbocharger with variable turbine geometry and common-rail injection. All these components along with the transmission components like clutch and engine brake have been designed keeping in mind applica-

The upgraded Canter is lighter than the current avtaar, hence the former offers extra payload capacities.

tion specific requirements of a light-duty truck. The new engine brake minimises the strain on the brakes and thereby reduces the main¬tenance work and consequently the maintenance cost by around 20 present. Apart for reduced maintenance, the new 3.0 litres engine also offer fuel savings. Tests conducted by the company with the new engine registered a 5-8 percent increase in terms of fuel economy. ‘Downsizing the engine capacity from 4.9 to 3.0 litres has resulted in greater efficiency, reduced friction and lower charging during fuel injection’, the company said in a press release. The other reason

for the improved fuel economy is the use of optimised drivetrain with improved transmission spacing. Mitsubishi Fuso is offering a warranty of three years or 10,000 km for its new Euro V compliant engines. Greater payloads: To enhance payloads, Mitsubishi undertook several measures to bring down the overall weight of the vehicle. The lighter Euro 5 engine is one of the deriva-

Lighter engines and heavier loads seems to be the mantra… september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 61

high five / mitsubishi fuso

Three power output options of 130,145 and175 hp will enable customers to select the best possible configuration for their requirements.

tives of this idea. Apart from the engine, the plastic fuel tank and a ‘Premium Seal’ system replacing the spare wheel on vehicles with a gross weight of 3.5 tonne are some of the measures taken to cut down on weight. The new 3.5 tonne standard cab (3S13) offers an extra payload of 180 kg. For the first time ever, all Canters will now feature a 6-speed manual transmission that will offer an improved combination of low weight and smooth, precise gear-changing. Because of the modified shift pattern, first and second gear has been placed opposite one another. The pulling power of the engines has enabled a longer final drive ratio for all gears. This leads to a lower engine speed and reduced fuel consumption as well as emissions. Almost all Canter models offer a choice of three different final-drive ratios. 62 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

Enhanced manoeuvrability The Canter is about a metre shorter than cab-behind-engine trucks offering the same load space. The shorter length imparts a tighter turning circle. In combination with the new drive train, this provides an excellent basis for efficient transportation. Features like the indestructible ladder-type frame and the driven rear axle with twin tyres ensure good traction on uneven road surfaces. The Fuso Canter is also available in seven wheelbase variants ranging from 2,500 to 4,470 mm. The Canter remains the only truck in its class to offer cabs in two different widths – 1995 mm (C-Series, ‘Comfort’) and 1,695 mm (S-Series, ‘Standard’). Both are also available as a double cab. Since its introduction in 1963, the Fuso Canter has registered sales of more than

3.5 million units. Last year, the company sold more than 1,44,000 Fuso Canters globally. This was also the highest production output for any truck from the Daimler Group. For Europe, Based on the Japanese designs, Mitsubishi Fuso has been manufacturing these vehicles for the European market in its Tramagal (Portugal) plant since 1980. Till date this plant has rolled out over 1,50,000 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles has used the announcement of the range to unveil its new UK sales and marketing network. The new structure will provide the Fuso brand a strong foundation for launching future models in the United Kingdom. The new 26-strong head office team will work with the dealer network to roll-out the new Canter Euro 5 range, which will hit the market next spring. ■

john deere

New Launches

John Deere J unveils 8R series of tractors These tractors pack more power and high-end features than that seen on Indian trucks.

ohn Deere has bolstered its tractor portfolio with the introduction of 8R series of high powered row crop tractors. The new products include six wheel mounted variants with a power output ranging between 225 and 345 HP and three track-mounted machines with power output ranging from 295 and 345 horsepower. Speaking on the occasion, Chad Hogan, product line-marketing manager, John Deere said, ‘The new series of tractors are one of the most fuel-efficient row crop machines. These tractors will offer low operating costs and maximum uptime with superior performance.’ One of the hallmarks of the 8R Series Tractors is their next-generation John Deere CommandView™II Cab. These cabs offer spacious interiors with integrated and easyto-use monitors and controls. Enhanced operator visibility is also one of the characteristics of the CommandView™II Cabs. The new series of tractors are also equipped with John Deere’s AirCushion™ Suspension System that was first made available

The 8R series of tractors are available in power outputs ranging from 225 to 345 hp.

september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 63

New Launches / john deere

john deere / New Launches

between 72 and 160 inches wide by using the field-installed kit and can make adjustments without de-tensioning the tracks. All 8R and 8RT models are powered with Tier III Emission complaints 9.0L John Deere PowerTech™ Plus engine. The 8R Series Tractors also use the new John Deere name and numbering system. The first position is a number represents its size. The second, third, and fourth positions denote its relative engine horsepower according to 97/68/EC Standards. The fifth position is a letter and indicates its capability and/or price level within its family. Letters at the beginning of the alphabet indicate a tractor model has lower levels of capabilities when compared to other models in its family. Letters higher in the alphabet specify a tractor with more advanced capabilities. Some tractors also feature a sixth position to designate a specific configuration such as a high-crop or

The track-mounted tractors have a maximum speed of 24 miles per hour.

on the company’s larger 9030T Series egory 4N/3 rear hitch provides these track lift capacity. Hydraulic flow is rated at 60 Track Tractors. ‘The AirCushion suspen- tractors with up to 18,300 pounds of hitch- gpm. A customer can select track spacing sion provides superior operator comfort and improved vehicle traction. As a result 8R and 8RT Series Tractor the power, performance and comfort of our new 8RT or the track mounted tractors are second to none,’ continued Hogan. Also for the first time ever, John Deere Model Engine HP* PTO HP Engine Size/Cylinders RPM has made its Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT™) available on 8RT or the track 8225R 225 181 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 mounted series. The transmission comes 8245R 245 198 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 standard on the 8345RT and optional on 8270R 270 220 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 all other models. ‘With an IVT, customer 8295R 295 242 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 needs to select a specific speed and then 8320R 320 263 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 the engine and transmission work together to keep the tractor operating at that speed 8345R 345 284 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 irrespective of different operating condi8295RT 295 239 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 tions. This also decreases fuel consump8320RT 320 260 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 tion and thereby drives down operating 8345RT 345 281 9.0L PowerTech™ Plus / 6 cyl. 2,100 costs,’ explain Hogan. The 8RT series of tractors offer a maxi*Note: Rated engine hp (ISO), 97/68/EC, at 2,100 engine rpm mum speed of 40 kph. In addition to this, fuel capacity on the 8RT Series has been John Deere Tractor Name and Numbering System expanded to 54 percent as compared with 8 345 R T its predecessors and the current capacity Size Engine horsepower Capability, price level Specific configuration stands at 200 gallons. An available Cat-


64 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

The AirCushion suspension provides superior operator comfort and improved vehicle traction on uneven operating surfaces.

narrow-profile tractor or to show that it has tracks. The 8225R comes with a starting

price of USD 165,929 (USD) while the 8295RT starts at USD 240,954. ■

Also introduces NEW LOAD COMMAND™ SYSTEM for sprayers 15 minutes while using other methods. According to Cory Venable, product manager, John Deere Des Moines Works ‘the reduction in loading times results in increase in the area covered by the sprayer each day.’ On an average, a custom applicator can use a 4930 Sprayer to spray more than 40,000 gallons of liquid fertiAs compared to usual procedures, lizer. For this operation, the new Load Command™ System a sprayer is required to saves 75 to 80 percent of the time required to load a sprayer. be loaded more than 30 times and if one can ohn Deere has also introduces its new save 9 to 12 minutes in each filling, the Load Command™ System for sprayer resultant impact on productivity is subapplications. With the help of the new stantial. ‘Our factory tests show a potensystem, a self-propelled sprayer applicator tial productivity gain of up to 40 percent can load a 1,200 gallon tank in about three for customers who use a John Deere 4930 minutes as against an average time of 12 to Sprayer equipped with Load Command,’


believes Venable. A 10-foot hose filled with liquid nitrogen weighs nearly 200 pounds and therefore refilling a sprayer’s tanks with liquid nitrogen is an extremely time-consuming and cumbersome process. The Load Command system simplifies the loading process and helps operators easily manage the heavy and bulky tendering hose during the refill process. With the Load Command system, the sprayer is driven down the tendering vehicle. A swing arm that holds the tendering hose is mounted to the tendering vehicle. The tendering arm is extended and is connected to the coupler on the front of the 4930 Sprayer. Once connected, sensors activate the loading process and therefore no manual supervision is required during the filling process. Once the tank is full, the system automatically stops the loading process and disengages the coupler. The Load Command System is now available to order on the new 2010 John Deere 4930 Sprayers. ■ september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 65

double bonanza


citroen / double bonanza

Citroen’s Berlingo in two new avatars Off-roading and juggling between passengers and cargo just got a whole lot easier with the Berlingo XTR+ and Berlingo 725 L2 Crew van.


itroen expanded its Berlingo range further with the launch of two new models, Berlingo XTR+ and Berlingo 725 L2 Crew van. Based on the L1 625 1.6HDi 90hp LX van, the new Berlingo XTR+ has been designed to offer extra durability during off road applications. According to Robert Handyside, commercial vehicle operations manager, Citroen, ‘Though light vans are generally used for on-road applications, there are times when customers from the forestry, construction and agricultural sectors use these vans for off-road activities. As a result, it is very important that off-road capability is provided to these vans without compromising on-road performance or incurring additional operating costs.’ Features like the sophisticated lim-

ited-slip differential deals with slippery off-road conditions by automatically apportioning up to 75 per cent of the engine’s torque between the two driving wheels. This ability to automatically transfer the majority of the available torque from the driving wheel with the least grip, to that with the most grip, provides the Berlingo XTR+ with a greatly enhanced off-road performance. Berlingo XTR+ also has a 30 mm higher ground clearance as compared to the standard Berlingo van. The increased ground clearance is the result of raised, heavy duty suspension and 15” steel wheels with Michelin Synchrone 4x4 195/65 R15 tyres. Other features that make the Berlingo XTR+ extremely dura-

The Berlingo 725 L2 crew van offers the liberty of adjusting load compartment capacity as per one’s requirements.

ble for off road applications are heavy duty metal sump protection and two longitudinal metal skid plates protecting other under-body components, such as brakes and fuel lines. The Berlingo XTR+ comes with two wheel drive configuration. This configuration also means that Berlingo XTR+ has a relatively lower capital cost, weight and running costs as compared to that of four wheel drive vehicles. The Berlingo XTR+ is available with a starting price of £14,160 exclusive of VAT and delivery. The other van introduced by Berlingo is a five-seater Berlingo 725 L2 meant for transporting crew along with various tools and equip-

Berlingo XTR+ could be handy in both on road as well as off road applications.

66 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

Features & Dimensions

New Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van

3-seat folding rear bench complete with three-point inertia reel seatbelts and sliding full-height rear bulkhead Internal load length Rear seats up: 1,320mm rear seats folded 1,805mm


Load space volume Rear seats up: 2.4cu.m Rear seats folded: 3.35cu.m Width between wheel arches 1230mm Interior load compartment height 1250mm


Payload 716kg Load compartment features Nearside & offside sliding side load doors

ment. This van comes with a payload of 716kg, adjustable load length of 1,320mm and 1,805mm offering 2.4 cubic meter and 3.35 cubic meter of load compartment respectively. The adjustable load length and compartment is because of the innovative sliding/folding rear seat and bulkhead design. The Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van has a separate driver’s and front passenger’s seat and a folding, three-seat rear bench, which incorporates a full-height metal bulkhead with a mesh upper section. When the rear seat is used, the van offers a 1,320mm long and 2.4cu.m capacity of load compartment. When the rear seat is folded and the van is used as a two seat-

er version, the extra space results in load length and compartment capacity, increasing to 1,805 mm and 3.35 cubic meters respectively. It is easy to switch between a five seater and a two seater version. ‘The new Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van will appeal to a wide range of LCV customers. We expect strong demand for this important new model from operators involved in civil engineering, construction and utilities maintenance businesses,’ remarked Handyside. Standard equipment on the Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van includes unglazed twin sliding, side load doors and unglazed asymmetric side-hinged rear doors. The

Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van comes with central locking, electric front windows and head restraints, plus three-point inertia reel seatbelts on all five seats. The standard specification also includes Trafficmaster Smartnav and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking system, a unique feature in the LCV segment. Available at a starting price of £13,565 exclusive of VAT and delivery, the Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van is powered by a fuel efficient 1.6HDi 90hp engine. Subject to the normal HM Revenue and Customs conditions applicable to this type of commercial vehicle, VAT is reclaimable on the Berlingo 725 L2 Crew Van.■ september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 67

Fear No More


Volvo / Fear No More

The Safespot will enable vehicles to communicate using a system known as V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle). Moreover, it will also be possible for vehicles to communicate with the surrounding infrastructure (V2I, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) to create a driving support system for enhancing active safety. ‘This will open the door to an entirely new generation of accident-prevention safety solutions,’ says Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director, Volvo Trucks The basis of Safespot’s cooperative system is three innovative technologies, Accurate Cooperative Localisation, Local Dynamic Maps and Ad-Hoc Communication Networking. ‘The idea is to give the driver advance notification of relevant information about what is happening on the road, based on data from the position

Volvo’s Safe s pot b reaks new g round

Now, trucks can network with one another. The ready data on roads and vehicles will help reduce accidents.


magine sitting behind the wheel of a heavily loaded truck. You are driving on the motorway, a thick fog is beginning to descend and visibility is gradually getting worse. Suddenly you see a car parked in front of you. The poor visibility prevented you from seeing the traffic tailback and before you brake it is too late. Now imagine being warned well in advance via a display in your truck cab about a queue of stopped 68 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009

vehicles in front of you. You can calmly and safely adjust your speed depending upon the inputs. What is more, your truck automatically passes this information on to other vehicles behind you, which in turn can also relay information to other vehicles behind them. Those, who think that such solutions are still a long way off, may need to think again. Continuing with its relentless drive towards developing safe transport solu-

tions, Volvo is now inching toward making this possible in a short span of time. The European truck manufacturer has now joined Safespot, a comprehensive pan- European research project aimed at developing enhanced safety solutions. The project involves developing technologies to enables trucks and other vehicles communicate with one another and install and test infrastructure that is required to make such communication possible.

As many as nine different areas, which are primarily responsible for accidents, will be monitored with the development of the new technology

‘The cooperative system concept looks very promising and offers many significant benefits. The biggest of all is that the driver can receive information much earlier about the events which are beyond the range of his or her own vision. Moreover a wide range of safety applications can be covered by one single system - something that would otherwise require many sensors of conventional type, such as radar’ remarks

and speed of other vehicles, the condition of the road and any obstacles up ahead’ explains Johan Fjellström, project manager-Safespot, Volvo Technology. Data from the Global Positioning System (GPS) along with information from the vehicle’s sensors and various fixed points such as lamp-posts and roads is stored in the system’s Local Dynamic Map (LDM). LDM is a centralised database and V2V communication will help a driver to know well in advance the number of vehicles approaching a junction from different directions. the very heart of the system. Information from all the vehicles in the area Fjellström. as well various points is first deThe Safespot project, which was startlivered to the LDM and from it is ed in 2006, encompasses 51 participants relayed to various vehicles. from twelve European countries including Safespot uses the standard for major European vehicle manufacturers, Car2Car - the IEEE 802.11p pro- component makers, universities and traffic tocol and frequency 5.9 GHz for management authorities. Research is concommunicating the information. ducted at six test centres in various parts The system informs the driver of Europe, including in Dortmund where about the traffic as various cross- Safespot’s technical solutions are tested in ings, road conditions, presence of real life conditions. pedestrians and cyclist in the vicinTraffic safety has emerged as one of ity and also warns a driver about the most important items on the European the impending frontal collision. In Union’s agenda. During the last four decaddition to this information about ades, traffic on European roads has inthe speed limits and accidents that creased more than three times. Every year, have occurred is also relayed via a about 40,000 people die on Europe’s roads display or sound /light signals in and about 1.7 million people are injured. the vehicle. The same information Apart from loss of lives and human sufferis also simultaneously displayed ing, the accidents also entail expenditure According to Carl Johan Almqvist, the vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication technology will herald a new era in the development of thorough signboards or flashing of a whopping 160 billion euros in medical accident prevention solutions. lights at the roadside. expenditure. ■ september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 69

the numbers game

siam data

siam data / the numbers game

3.5 tonners domestic sales up by exports dip Production


Domestic Sales

Tata Motors scores in mini-buses Exports


For the month of


For the month of


For the month of


















M1 Category : Upto 8+1 seats (Passenger Carrier) B: Max.Mass upto 3.5 tonnes B1: No. of seats including driver not exceeding 7 BMW India Pvt Ltd 0 0 0 0 16 62 88 239 0 Force Motors Ltd 5 0 18 2 3 1 19 3 0 Ford India Pvt Ltd 317 40 1,162 569 265 65 1,133 601 0 General Motors India Pvt Ltd 714 426 2,550 1,563 781 496 3,665 2,126 0 Hindustan Motors Ltd 190 141 721 538 204 159 801 526 0 Honda Siel Cars India Ltd 0 0 0 0 331 30 1,171 30 0 Hyundai Motor India Ltd 0 0 0 0 5 0 22 11 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 6,263 8,641 24,626 28,931 4,347 6,797 21,679 26,192 243 Maruti Suzuki India Ltd 0 0 0 0 27 26 151 26 0 Mercedes-Benz India Pvt Ltd 0 0 0 0 13 4 39 23 0 Tata Motors Ltd 1,925 2,071 8,652 6,453 1,901 1,727 8,108 5,937 72 Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd 2,087 1,949 7,614 6,216 1,808 1,873 7,319 6,258 0 Total B1 11,501 13,268 45,343 44,272 9,701 11,240 44,195 41,972 315 B2: No. of seats including driver exceeding 7 but not exceeding 9 (7+1 & 8+1) Force Motors Ltd 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 General Motors India Pvt Ltd 140 458 618 679 109 542 645 1,221 0 International Cars & Motors Ltd 225 60 1,077 315 250 103 1,030 413 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 1,961 4,401 9,703 17,929 1,680 3,967 8,737 16,634 117 Maruti Suzuki India Ltd 741 231 2,608 836 874 188 2,066 1,571 0 Tata Motors Ltd 347 250 4,255 1,281 260 226 3,297 1,261 20 Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd 2,800 2,488 10,447 7,834 2,468 2,324 10,088 7,650 0 Total B2 6,214 7,888 28,708 28,884 5,641 7,350 25,863 28,750 137 Total B (B1+B2) 17,715 21,156 74,051 73,156 15,342 18,590 70,058 70,722 452 C: Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) - Van type vehicles & Max. Mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes Van Type (M1) Maruti Suzuki India Ltd 6,011 7,457 26,141 29,933 6,253 7,302 27,014 29,535 76 Tata Motors Ltd 1,497 4,454 6,197 14,338 2,466 4,446 8,555 14,178 20 Total C 7,508 11,911 32,338 44,271 8,719 11,748 35,569 43,713 96 Total of all M1 Category (B+C) 25,223 33,067 106,389 117,427 24,061 30,338 105,627 114,435 548 N1 Category : Max. Mass upto 3.5 tonnes (Goods Carrier) Max Mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes Force Motors Ltd 42 125 453 566 60 124 738 555 0 Hindustan Motors Ltd 0 28 0 65 1 20 2 65 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 5,400 6,396 18,087 21,287 3,964 5,029 14,829 18,718 672 Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd 824 927 3,203 3,125 800 877 3,116 3,108 12 Tata Motors Ltd 10,204 10,924 34,802 38,704 7,125 9,329 27,915 34,189 1,060 Total of all N1 Category 16,470 18,400 56,545 63,747 11,950 15,379 46,600 56,635 1,744 M2 Category: More than 8+1 seats & Max. Mass upto 5 tonnes (Passenger Carrier) A: Max. Mass upto 5 tonnes A1: No. of seats including driver not exceeding 13 Force Motors Ltd 567 397 2,296 1,759 509 386 2,377 1,757 0 General Motors India Pvt Ltd 704 87 3,099 1,638 401 85 2,738 1,274 0




0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 0 0 11 0 36

0 6 0 0 0 0 0 862 0 0 159 0 1,027

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 137 0 0 29 0 167

0 0 0 46 0 40 0 86 122

0 0 0 396 18 33 0 447 1,474

0 0 0 114 10 58 0 182 349

114 9 123 245

276 20 296 1,770

334 19 353 702

0 0 324 0 557 881

6 0 2,711 36 3,186 5,939

2 0 993 18 1,671 2,684

0 4

6 0

0 5

For the month of


For the month of
















0 948 1,051 3,270


1 0 1 2 4 2 4 0 1,311 3,757 4,499 681 896 3,346 3,865 20 706 4,463 3,727 739 866 4,540 4,172 28 2,502 13,615 11,624 2,332 2,237 13,003 11,072 48 A2: No. of seats including driver exceeding 13 Force Motors Ltd 329 424 1,093 1,550 382 439 1,253 1,501 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 334 399 1,337 1,148 381 353 1,433 1,044 0 Tata Motors Ltd 491 474 1,470 1,745 311 569 1,481 2,153 5 Total A2 1,154 1,297 3,900 4,443 1,074 1,361 4,167 4,698 5 Total of all M2 Category (A1+A2) 4,424 3,799 17,515 16,067 3,406 3,598 17,170 15,770 53 N2 Category : Max. Mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 12 tonnes (Goods Carrier) A: Max. Mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 12 tonnes A1: Max Mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 5 tonnes Force Motors Ltd 235 91 615 462 226 134 640 457 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 88 61 279 283 136 102 364 300 0 Tata Motors Ltd 17 271 69 697 0 0 0 0 0 Total A1 340 423 963 1,442 362 236 1,004 757 0 A2: Max Mass exceeding 5 tonnes but not exceeding 7.5 tonnes Force Motors Ltd 1 8 12 36 4 8 17 30 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 207 143 736 928 231 208 663 635 28 Swaraj Mazda Ltd 166 201 634 612 37 48 599 530 20 Tata Motors Ltd 2,292 1,943 7,720 6,907 1,393 1,940 5,556 6,904 563 VE CVs - Eicher 387 352 1,529 1,203 227 228 1,048 930 35 Total A2 3,053 2,647 10,631 9,686 1,892 2,432 7,883 9,029 646 A3: Max Mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes but not exceeding 12 tonnes Ashok Leyland Ltd 257 120 809 437 151 101 491 247 27 Swaraj Mazda Ltd 235 318 854 980 50 179 694 846 30 Tata Motors Ltd 1,342 1,721 4,835 5,697 1,287 1,556 5,039 5,301 41 VE CVs - Eicher 1,283 1,007 4,638 4,217 994 1,009 4,428 3,917 25 Total A3 3,117 3,166 11,136 11,331 2,482 2,845 10,652 10,311 123 Total of all N2 Category (A1+A2+A3) 6,510 6,236 22,730 22,459 4,736 5,513 19,539 20,097 769 M3 Category: More than 8+1 seats & Max. Mass exceeding 5 tonnes (Passenger Carrier) A: Max. Mass exceeding 5 tonnes but not exceeding 7.5 tonnes No. of seats including driver exceeding 13 Ashok Leyland Ltd 86 65 295 290 88 70 261 198 3 Force Motors Ltd 0 7 54 84 17 12 94 78 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 374 345 1,501 1,543 396 356 1,641 1,534 25 Swaraj Mazda Ltd 321 199 1,025 760 132 166 837 679 0 Tata Motors Ltd 1,441 1,467 5,581 5,538 749 1,301 3,503 5,105 532 VE CVs - Eicher 121 203 899 907 123 173 782 745 31 Total A 2,343 2,286 9,355 9,122 1,505 2,078 7,118 8,339 591 B: Max. Mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes but not exceeding 12 tonnes No. of seats including driver exceeding 13 Ashok Leyland Ltd 131 103 352 463 107 126 282 366 7 Swaraj Mazda Ltd 119 169 586 634 133 88 557 471 0


Vlro ebobqldo^_qebjlpqbvb_^iip 70 / Commercial Vehicle / september 2009



2008 Hindustan Motors Ltd Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Tata Motors Ltd Total A1

Domestic Sales

For the month of



0 0 34 38

0 37 125 168

0 6 50 61

6 50 5 61 99

36 20 37 93 261

36 51 15 102 163

0 0 12 12

4 0 56 60

9 0 12 21

0 11 27 162 74 274

8 140 90 2,427 246 2,911

2 306 130 655 199 1,292

49 0 133 76 258 544

75 96 206 85 462 3,433

102 59 354 173 688 2,001

20 0 20 0 92 70 202

87 0 76 29 1,606 82 1,880

123 0 62 20 393 158 756

20 0

77 2

50 0

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september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 71

the numbers game / siam data

siam data / the numbers game

MHCVs getting back on track Production


Domestic Sales



For the month of


For the month of


For the month of








2008 Tata Motors Ltd VE CVs - Eicher Total B

Pass 3-wheelers compensate for poor cargo sales









491 533 1,355 1,618 356 431 1,193 1,567 3 274 196 846 801 168 210 695 724 10 1,015 1,001 3,139 3,516 764 855 2,727 3,128 20 C: Max. Mass exceeding 12 tonnes but not exceeding 16.2 tonnes C2: No. of seats including driver exceeding 13 Ashok Leyland Ltd 2,706 1,075 8,370 3,731 1,800 848 5,612 2,819 444 Swaraj Mazda Ltd 0 8 0 8 0 5 0 5 0 Tata Motors Ltd 1,273 1,337 4,480 4,485 991 933 3,970 4,014 169 VE CVs - Eicher 35 29 75 51 14 39 63 72 0 Volvo Buses India Pvt. Ltd. 39 60 163 166 37 58 165 171 0 Total C (C2) 4,053 2,509 13,088 8,441 2,842 1,883 9,810 7,081 613 D: Max. Mass exceeding 16.2 tonnes No. of seats including driver exceeding 13 (Passenger Carrier) Volvo Buses India Pvt. Ltd. 0 2 0 17 0 2 0 13 0 Total D 0 2 0 17 0 2 0 13 0 Total of all M3 Category (A+B+C+D) 7,411 5,798 25,582 21,096 5,111 4,818 19,655 18,561 1,224 N3 Category: Max. Mass exceeding 12 tonnes (Goods Carrier) A: Max. Mass not exceeding 16.2 tonnes Max. Mass exceeding 12 tonnes but not exceeding 16.2 tonnes Ashok Leyland Ltd 1,115 1,122 5,441 3,542 1,257 799 4,273 2,995 219 Tata Motors Ltd 3,133 2,435 14,640 8,404 2,569 2,294 12,532 7,965 279 VE CVs - Eicher 175 124 601 443 92 34 485 176 59 Total A 4,423 3,681 20,682 12,389 3,918 3,127 17,290 11,136 557 B1: Max Mass exceeding 16.2 tonnes - Rigid Vehicles (a) Max. Mass exceeding 16.2 but not exceeding 25 tonnes Ashok Leyland Ltd 2,066 1,123 11,176 2,775 1,407 1,178 8,979 3,011 0 Asia Motor Works Ltd 131 134 1,113 535 327 169 1,130 624 0 Force Motors Ltd 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 Tata Motors Ltd 3,990 4,308 20,304 15,605 3,766 3,832 18,904 14,445 137 VE CVs - Eicher 31 35 270 74 34 36 311 98 0 VE CVs - Volvo 46 0 194 0 0 0 3 0 40 Total (A) 6,264 5,601 33,057 18,990 5,534 5,215 29,327 18,178 177 (b) Max. Mass exceeding 25 tonnes Ashok Leyland Ltd 321 26 672 26 294 73 770 89 0 Mercedes-Benz India Pvt Ltd 48 0 182 14 20 10 101 62 0 Tata Motors Ltd 100 842 1,665 2,197 406 723 1,515 1,913 0 Tatra Vectra Motors Ltd 4 0 10 0 0 0 6 0 0 VE CVs - Eicher 1 3 8 18 38 25 109 55 0 VE CVs - Volvo 88 80 319 180 63 56 267 141 0 Total (B) 562 951 2,856 2,435 821 887 2,768 2,260 0 Total B1 ((A)+(B)) 6,826 6,552 35,913 21,425 6,355 6,102 32,095 20,438 177 B2: Max. Mass exceeding 16.2 tonnes- Haulage Tractor (Tractor-Semi Trailer/Trailer) (B) Max. Mass exceeding 26.4 tonnes but not exceeding 35.2 tonnes Ashok Leyland Ltd 197 15 1,334 15 222 115 928 231 0



15 2 37



5 69 153

102 0 170 6 0 278

1,105 0 1,228 24 0 2,357

346 0 945 12 0 1,303

0 0 517

0 0 4,390

0 0 2,133

203 323 94 620

631 1,238 112 1,981

537 1,201 303 2,041

0 0 0 396 19 0 415

5 0 0 468 11 186 670

124 0 0 854 29 0 1,007

90 0 57 0 2 0 149 564

0 0 2 0 0 0 2 672

95 0 79 0 12 0 186 1,193




Tata Motors Ltd Total (B)

For the month of


For the month of


















33 230

0 1,542 1 245 412 1,718 923 0 0 15 2,876 16 467 527 2,646 1,154 0 0 (C) Max. Mass exceeding 35.2 tonnes Ashok Leyland Ltd 282 26 1,343 86 176 250 1,051 394 0 21 Asia Motor Works Ltd 44 47 283 134 69 53 531 144 0 0 Tata Motors Ltd 389 0 2,167 0 462 477 1,819 1,156 1 0 VE CVs - Eicher 0 0 20 0 0 15 42 29 0 0 VE CVs - Volvo 16 0 84 0 7 2 26 12 5 0 Total (C) 731 73 3,897 220 714 797 3,469 1,735 6 21 Total B2 ((A)+(B)+(C)) 961 88 6,773 236 1,181 1,324 6,115 2,889 6 21 Total of all N3 Category (A+B1+B2) 12,210 10,321 63,368 34,050 11,454 10,553 55,500 34,463 740 1,205 TH Category: Three Wheelers A: Passenger Carrier A1:No. of seats Including driver not exceeding 4 & Max.Mass not exceeding 1 tonne Atul Auto Limited 666 352 1,490 764 255 350 890 781 410 0 Bajaj Auto Ltd 20,985 22,547 77,558 83,434 10,940 13,745 37,950 49,102 11,701 9,531 Force Motors Ltd 0 0 44 34 8 0 68 34 0 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 2,200 1,957 7,808 8,061 2,394 2,504 8,429 8,248 0 7 Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd 9,034 11,304 35,708 39,263 8,888 10,872 34,626 38,203 278 272 Scooters India Ltd 324 298 900 819 250 282 943 816 0 0 TVS Motor Company Ltd 414 1,019 1,280 3,233 410 1,005 1,175 3,135 0 21 Total A1 33,623 37,477 124,788 135,608 23,145 28,758 84,081 100,319 12,389 9,831 A2:No. of seats Including driver exceeding 4 but not exceeding 7 & Max.Mass not exceeding 1.5 tonnes Force Motors Ltd 97 60 423 259 35 23 173 102 70 84 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 873 0 1,048 20 113 3 383 103 0 0 Scooters India Ltd 153 254 646 909 417 265 1,085 858 0 0 Total A2 1,123 314 2,117 1,188 565 291 1,641 1,063 70 84 Total A (A1+A2) 34,746 37,791 126,905 136,796 23,710 29,049 85,722 101,382 12,459 9,915 B: Goods Carrier B1: Max. Mass not exceeding 1 tonne Atul Auto Limited 347 474 1,332 1,879 349 473 1,343 1,911 5 0 Bajaj Auto Ltd 794 839 3,957 3,085 1,092 828 4,360 3,107 0 0 Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd 3,900 3,885 16,091 14,179 4,062 3,841 16,008 14,422 98 82 Scooters India Ltd 327 331 1,063 945 261 311 1,069 930 0 0 Total B1 5,368 5,529 22,443 20,088 5,764 5,453 22,780 20,370 103 82 B2: Others Force Motors Ltd 103 70 553 410 141 111 947 416 0 0 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 847 908 5,614 4,581 1,573 1,298 6,664 4,486 0 23 Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd 0 0 117 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Scooters India Ltd 87 277 511 846 178 273 651 817 0 0 Total B2 1,037 1,255 6,795 5,837 1,892 1,682 8,262 5,719 0 23 Total B (B1+B2) 6,405 6,784 29,238 25,925 7,656 7,135 31,042 26,089 103 105 Total of all TH Category (A+B) 41,151 44,575 156,143 162,721 31,366 36,184 116,764 127,471 12,562 10,020


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22 2 74

Domestic Sales

For the month of

09-10 5 5

0 6

0 0 12 0 62 74 79 2,732

25 0 0 0 0 25 31 3,265

605 39,541 0 0 1,176 0 0 41,322

0 35,137 0 27 1,482 0 136 36,782

290 0 6 296 41,618

168 0 0 168 36,950

5 0 406 0 411

0 0 139 0 139

9 50 120 0 179 590 42,208

0 23 0 0 23 162 37,112

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september 2009 / Commercial Vehicle / 73

RNI NO. MAHENG / 2006 / 20842

Commercial Vehicle Sep. 2009 Issue  
Commercial Vehicle Sep. 2009 Issue  

Commercial Vehicle Sep. 2009 Issue