Truck makers in India continue to invest in new models despite the slump in demand as they do not want to lose out on opportunities when the tide turns. Most of them are going ahead with plans to introduce new models even as rigorous cost-saving strategies are underway.We have probably hit the worst in the history of trucking in past 20 years, said A. Ramasubramanian, president at Asia Motor Works Ltd (AMW), India fourth largest maker of heavy-duty trucks. Like its peers, the unlisted company has been hit hard.
The slowdown has not restrained AMW from investing in new models. Instead of buying market share through heavy discounts, we decided to invest in new models and prepare ourselves for an upturn and expand the product portfolio, Ramasubramanian said.Over the last two years, AMW has introduced 15 new models for haulage and other applications, and is targeting 90% of the market in the 16-49 tonne (gross vehicle weight) segment against the earlier 20%. It has, however, adopted a calibrated distribution strategy and is launching them in select trucking hubs.
Others, too, have not capped investments on technology and new products. For instance, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd (VECV)â€”a joint venture (JV) between Volvo and Eicher Motors Ltdâ€”unveiled new range of trucks in Pithampur in December. Christened the Pro series, it will include four categories of trucks, covering 5-49 tonnes. The venture has outlined an additional investment of Rs.700 crore till 2014-end. This would fund the ongoing projects such as engine and bus body plants and expand capacity beyond 5,500 units to ensure it is ready to meet requirements for 2015. We have utilized this period by introducing new series of products and strengthening our processes and systems, said Vinod Aggarwal, chief executive officer at VECV.