CHENNAI: Commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland Ltd will be launching three new vehicles, including a passenger carrier, and investing around Rs.600 crore this year while rejigging its organisational structure in line with its mission to be one of the top 10 truck-makers and top five bus-makers in the world, said a top company official.

"We will be launching Stile -- a light commercial vehicle that can be used as a passenger (six seater) or a cargo carrier by removing the seats. We will launch two cargo carriers Boss (8-15 ton gross vehicle weight-GVW) and Partner (5-6 tonner). Later we will also launch N-truck (vehicle with a new cabin) - a 16 tonner," Vinod K. Dasari, managing director of the Rs.12,481-crore commercial vehicle major, told reporters here Friday.

He said there will not be any new distribution line for Stile and it will be sold through its existing dealers of light commercial vehicles (LCV).

According to Dasari, the new truck Boss will be made at the company's Pantnagar plant and will also be shipped out to overseas markets.

Speaking about the organisational restructuring, he said it is being done with a view to enhance shareholder value and also the customer experience. The company will have three different global heads for its truck, bus and power solutions business lines.

Queried about the time line for Ashok Leyland to become one of the top ten truck- and top five bus-maker in the world, Dasari said: "We did have a five-year time-frame but the markets have changed. For us it is more of a goal. However, last year, we have become one of the top four bus-makers in the world."

Looking back at the fiscal 2012-13, Dasari said the company gained a market share of three percent in a tough medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV) market where the volumes fell and the discounts on new vehicles raged.

He said the company expanded its distribution network majorly in northern markets and 20 percent of last year's sales were from the new dealers. Dasari said the company also increased its income from spares sales to Rs.1,116 crore with the opening of Leyland Shoppes and plans are there to open 200 more outlets this year.

The company increased its genset sales last fiscal and sales of its Dost-LCV too were very good.

Last year, Ashok Leyland logged a sales of Rs.12,481 crore as compared to Rs.12,904 crore logged during the previous fiscal. The net profit was at Rs.433 crore last year down from Rs.565.98 crore posted in 2011-12.

Looking forward, Dasari said the commercial vehicle market is largely tied to the generaleconomy, and the imminent release of funds for several infrastructure projects and a reduction in interest rates bode well for the M&HCV market.

"We expect that while the market is likely to fall slightly in the first half compared to the previous year, we expect some improvements in the second half of the year."

Source : Times of India