Ashok Leyland, India’s second-largest medium and heavy truck maker, has future plans to move towards greener fuels. The company aspires to grow in volumes and product portfolio while embracing new tech solutions and maintaining financial balance.
At an investor meeting held in June 2023, Ashok Leyland outlined its target of attaining a 35 percent market share in the intermediate, medium, and heavy commercial vehicles segment. The Hinduja flagship plans to expand its global footprint to become a leading global player.
Ashok Leyland intends to maintain EBITDA margins between 13-19% and strict control over discounts to achieve these goals. The company aims to participate in the sub-2.0 tonne segment, opening up significant opportunities in the Indian commercial vehicle market.
Alternative Fuels Portfolio
Mr. Shenu Agarwal, MD & CEO of Ashok Leyland, commented, “The automotive sector has seen a wave of tech upgrades in the last two years, with green fuel being in the Ashok Leyland’s future plans. Having one of the best R&D teams in the country, we want to continue our path to innovate and use newer technologies to be a leader in sustainable and environment-friendly mobility. We aim to make India’s alternate fuel segment self-reliant and be one of the flag bearers of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign.”
Ashok Leyland has heavily invested in research and development (R&D) for the past eight years, focusing on various resources. They have created prototypes for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and batteries.
The company’s management is developing new energy vehicles for medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV) and long-haul trucks. These vehicles will be powered by CNG, LNG, hydrogen internal combustion engines (H2-ICE), and hydrogen fuel cells (H2FC). For intermediate commercial vehicles (ICV) trucks like E-Comet and Boss, the company is concentrating on H2-ICE and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Ashok Leyland is developing vehicles powered by CNG and BEVs in the light commercial vehicles (LCV) segment, including models such as Dost, Bada Dost, and Partner. In the MCV bus segment, the company will introduce LNG, H2-ICE, and H2FC buses. CNG and BEV models are already available, and the company plans to release CNG, LNG, H2-ICE, and H2FC long-haul coaches.
For the ICV bus segment, Ashok Leyland aims to introduce H2-ICE, H2FC, and BEV buses. They already offer a CNG version and plan to expand it to BEV for LCV passengers. Additionally, the company has designed six new models in the electric vehicle (EV) category, including e-buses of varying lengths (12.0m, 7.0m, 5.0m, and a further 9.0m) and two e-LCVs.
Ashok Leyland’s Future Plans: AI-Driven Trucks
In 2022, Ashok Leyland and Aidrivers, a company specializing in AI-based solutions for industrial mobility, joined forces in a partnership. Their collaboration aims to develop autonomous electric terminal trucks to meet the net-zero emissions requirements of the port industry. These trucks will be built on an Ashok Leyland platform and include Aidrivers’ self-sustaining ecosystem. By 2024, the initial fleet of vehicles is expected to be operational for real-time port terminal operations. Furthermore, Ashok Leyland’s focus on digital excellence and flexible operations will enable it to adapt to evolving market demands. The company is leveraging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT)-which allows systems to ensure quality standards in its production processes.
Expanding Business Globally
By broadening its range of products, the company can tap into a market of 250,000 units across SAARC, the GCC, ASEAN, the CIS, and the North African region. Over the past few years, Ashok Leyland has expanded its presence by including 10 additional countries in West Africa and Southern Africa, making its trucks and buses available in 38 countries.
The optimism comes on the back of a strong performance in FY23. Reviewing FY23’s financial performance, Agarwal said, “It has been a truly wholesome performance. We have been able to achieve growth in market share, across geographies and across product segments, along with significant improvement in our profitability. While we shall continue to pursue better realisations even as we expand market share. Our resolute focus shall remain on bringing deeper efficiency and cost improvement.”
Overall, Ashok Leyland’s future plans reflect its determination to be a leader in the commercial vehicle industry while embracing the shift towards more sustainable transportation solutions. With a robust financial performance and a clear roadmap for growth, the company is well-positioned to contribute to advancing the Indian and global commercial vehicle markets.
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