Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland Friday said plans to boost its Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) business with the launch of new products,besides gearing up to roll out vehicles under the BSVI emission norms by April 2020.
The city-based heavy commercial vehicle major has earmarked Rs 1,000 crore as capital expenditure for financial year 2019-20 and a "similar amount" for the next fiscal, Ashok Leyland, Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja told reporters.
"Well, I would say that this year our overall capex (capital expenditure) will be close to Rs 1,000 crore and for next year as well,we are looking at a similar range", he said. Stating that the first quarter of the current financial year began on a "slower" note, he said "we feel next two quarters should be very strong.
Overall, I hope this will turn out to be another good year (for Ashok Leyland) as well". On the initiative to boost LCV business, he said "you will see the new products coming outat the end of this financial year". Hinduja said Ashok Leyland would launch the "Phoenix" project that would comprise unveiling vehicles in the 5-7 tonne segment, in which the company did not have a presence earlier.
On possibilities of launching the DOST range of LCVs in electric variants, he said it was little early to move the products into the electric version because of battery costs.
To a query, he said "the objective of the (financial) year (2019-20) is not only growth in terms of market share, but we will only do it with maintaining a double digit EBITDA". He replied in the affirmative when asked if Ashok Leyland would make fresh investments for launching products in tune with BSVI norms.
"Well, of course, on the engines itself. As you are aware, we are also launching the MBP programme - a modular concept. This again brings with it, many benefits". To a query, Hinduja said the company had launched the left hand drive variant of the Dost range of LCVs in the United Arab Emirates market four weeks ago.
Referring to the 26.6 per cent decline in exports in the medium, heavy commercial vehicle business in FY18-19, he said traditional markets like the Middle East, especially United Arab Emirates, have gone through quite a substantial decline. "Also in Bangladesh, they had the elections so there was a slowdown. Sri Lanka had its own crisis. So, as a result we saw the decline in Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle sales. We are looking at this financial year for a growth in M&HCV and in our international markets", he said.
Ashok Leyland shipped 10,922 units of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in FY18-19, a decline of 26.6 per cent, from 14,898 units in the same period last year.