The snowballing slowdown has dispirited the Indian commercial vehicle industry which has been making huge investments to keep pace with the safety and regulatory schedules of the Union Government. Almost all the companies are ready with Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) vehicles. They are also planning and investing to go beyond this mandate with a wider global perspective. They hope for revival and better days ahead.
For the current crisis, liquidity crunch, high tax rate, poor market sentiments and the recently-concluded general elections are quoted as reasons. Liquidity crisis in the lending industry has impacted purchasing of new trucks. GST rate for the commercial vehicles at 28 percent, on par with luxury goods, has been a big market dampener. The axle load regulation, that came last year for the medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M/HCVs), has also fuelled the present slowdown.
The challenge for the commercial vehicle industry is to introduce new technologies that are compatible with the new regulations while being affordable to discerning and cost-conscious domestic consumers. The silver lining on the cloud is the Government’s focus on infrastructure, cleaner, smart and safe transportation.
Though badly mauled by the unprecedented market complexities, the commercial vehicle manufacturers are undeterred and going ahead with their plans for investment and innovation.
Daimler India commercial Vehicles (DICV) which has helped shape the Indian commercial vehicle sector in a big way continues to introduce new technologies and business models expecting the transition to BS-VI to increase opportunities in India and other emerging markets.
Scania is innovating and developing world-class solutions for the Indian market. Realising the potential for commercial vehicles in the country it is making substantial investments.
Ashok Leyland is making its vehicles more intelligent through electronics, communication systems, IoT, and data analytics. The company is planning to offer a holistic transportation solution and better stakeholder experience.
Mahindra’s Truck and Bus Division (MTB) has been creating systems and technologies to meet BS-VI norms. It has been investing to produce a new and refreshed range of trucks and buses.
VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd (VECV) has been introducing new range of products. With consumer-centric approach it is preparing to serve the aftermarket hoping for revival in the marketplace.
This special section on Commercial Vehicles features reports on many of the leading manufacturers; how they mitigate challenges, their technological innovations for the BS-VI norms, and beyond.