P Ravishankar
VE Commercial Vehicles: "Our tipper trucks are suitable for various construction and mining applications on both flat roads or gradients and long leads or short leads. Equipped with fuel efficient driveline, robust chassis, advanced telematics and world class cabin, our Pro Series tippers ensure high uptime, productivity and a premium experience at value. Hence, with its Pro series range, VECV promises to deliver higher profitability and more prosperity to its customers," says Mr. P Ravishankar, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Aftermarkets, VE Commercial Vehicles.

How do you see the short and long-term prospects of the commercial vehicle market in India, especially for the mining and construction segments?
The Commercial Vehicle segment in India is growing and the industry's short to long-term outlook looks robust and positive. Keeping in line with our vision of driving modernization in the commercial vehicle space, VECV is now stepping up their HD trucks and buses portfolio.

The HD segment is the backbone of the economy, hence the focus for us in the next 5 years remains on HD. With the growing acceptance of rigid multi-axle tippers that is owing to complete engineering makeover, tippers are making steady inroads in the Indian mining and construction sector. VECV's new range of tippers are catering to both haulage and dumping requirements. We have plans to introduce new variants in our Pro 6000 series and we intend to strengthen our presence in the mining sector with our Pro Series range.

We can foresee some key trends shaping tipper demand by 2020. There has been a considerable push from the government on infrastructure and we anticipate that demand for construction equipment and trucks are going to be fueled by infrastructure growth and replacement demand in the coming months. We are also further allocating an investment of Rs. 400 crore towards capacity expansion and for development of new products in view of the new emission norms.

Our outlook on the construction industry is positive as we see growth backed by a significant push by the government on infrastructure led by roads and irrigation segments. With new projects being announced and older stalled projects getting a push, the demand for construction tippers is already on the rise. This is expected to continue and will be fuelled further with more work happening in Airports, Railways and Real Estate sectors.

Our medium to long-term outlook towards mining is positive. In the short-term though, we are seeing a sluggish pick-up in this segment predominantly due to increase in the stock pile-up of coal at mines & power plants which have resulted in reduced demand for tippers in this segment. The Iron-ore segment is gradually opening up and the pace is expected to accelerate during the coming years on the back of regulatory clearances and pick-up of infrastructure segment and overall automotive industry. Limestone is expected to pick-up with larger scale activation on road construction and subsequently anticipated pick-up in real estate.

How does the VECVL brand stand amid growing competition in India?
Volvo and Eicher's joint venture has been in India for about a decade now and we have had an impactful journey. Though, competition has increased over the years, we have stood our ground and have been consistently improving our market share in all the segments. Our market share in construction and mining trucks has seen a tremendous growth. We are already at the peak in terms of the carrying capacity of the trucks and our heavy duty trucks are performing well. We reported a 43% increase in total sales till October in FY 17. Our overall market share in heavy trucks has reached 5.3 percent.

VE Pro 8031 XM Tipper

As competition is intensifying with the coming in of new global players with high performing trucks with latest technology, VE Commercial Vehicles has a number of differentiating factors which place us in good stead vis-à-vis competition. VE Commercial Vehicles brings together the Volvo Group processes & technology and the frugal engineering & local expertise of Eicher. With its Pro series range, VECV promises to deliver higher profitability and more prosperity for its customers. We have introduced a number of new products in the last year and are present in almost all the segments of the heavy duty truck market from 16-49 tonnes. With a diverse product range comprising both Pro Series and VE Plus, we can cater to all types of customers at various price points.

The Pro Series is one-of-its-kind which has already revolutionized the HD space. Eicher has also strengthened its presence with Eicher LIVE (advanced vehicle telematics), M Booster and intelligent driver information system making the trucks the most feature- rich in its category. The VE Series trucks offer a better uptime, stronger aggregates, and the ability to run more number of trips. The range has a significant effect on the operators' productivity and profitability by offering better fuel economy than the competitors.

We have tailored solutions for our customers to provide them with total solutions that would help in increasing their profitability over the lifecycle of our products. We go beyond simple products and services and try to customize our offerings in line with customer's specific needs. For example, we have a full range of heavy duty tippers in (16T to 31T, 6x4, 8x4 & 8x2) with different power nodes starting from 180 to 330 HP configured with different body capacity that are specifically designed for a variety of applications like OB removal, earth work, mineral movement and various construction applications. We also provide special vehicles which are required to work in tandem with tippers used in mines or construction sites like Water sprinkler, Fuel bowser, etc. However, we go beyond products by offering a host of services like customized service agreements, unique site support model, driver development, fuel efficiency management, Eicher live telematics, Insurance & Eicher Financial services. Our approach is to deliver a premium experience to our customers through superior fuel efficiency; productivity, vehicle uptime & driver comfort, where our products are class-leading supported by Lifetime Support Solutions.

VE Tipper Pro 6025T
What are the engineering & competitive attributes of your small, medium, and premium range of tipper trucks?
VECV has adopted the world-class Volvo Group technology in products, and combined with frugal engineering, it is ready with the entire new range of trucks and buses that are modern, cost-efficient, and more productive. This has allowed us to significantly increase our sales since the inception of VECV in 2008.

The Eicher Pro range brings world-class technologies for higher levels of productivity in the heavy-duty category. Our unique offering, the Eicher LIVE in our range of trucks, is a fleet management system that allows the management of truck fleets by monitoring their movement, fuel consumption and maintenance needs. The Eicher Pro 6000 & Eicher Pro 8000 series is equipped with advanced on board diagnostics system, which enables proactive maintenance of the truck. The system throws up fault indicators to the driver via visual signals, messages and alarms. Together with the fully equipped Eicher service network, this ensures preventive and corrective maintenance of the truck, thus delivering superior uptime.

We also have Volvo Group's next generation Engine Management System (EMS 3.0) which manages high efficiency running of VEDX8/VEDX5engines. The ultra-modern truck cabin is ergonomically designed with state-of-the-art features for comfortable driving and higher driver efficiency. The spacious sleeper cabin has been smartly designed to provide a relaxed yet efficient workspace for the driver.

What improvisations/advancements are being carried in your tipper trucks to make them more sustainable and suitable for quarry operations?
Best-in-class fuel efficiency is one of our brand values. The Eicher Pro Series has been designed and developed in the modern manufacturing facility in Pithampur, near Indore. Our state-of-the-art next generation engine plant is one of the most modern facilities in India, built in collaboration with the Volvo Group. It not only manufactures Euro 3 and 4 heavy duty engines but also supplies Euro 6 engines internationally to the Volvo Group.

Our tipper trucks are suitable for various construction and mining applications on both flat roads or gradients and long leads or short leads. We have a product range starting from 4x2 tipper to 8x4 tipper with various drivelines & body combinations based on applications and customer needs.

Our tippers come equipped with highly durable and reliable VEDX8 engines that are apt for rugged and demanding conditions. The trucks are also equipped with Volvo Group's next Generation Engine Management System (EMS 3.0) which manages high efficiency running of the VEDX8 engine. Along with a sturdy engine, the Pro Series tippers are fitted with world-class gear boxes with crawler gears to provide high gradeability. We are also continuously improving on the truck designing. The ultramodern truck cabin is ergonomically designed with state-of-the-art features for comfortable driving and higher driver efficiency.

Equipped with fuel-efficient driveline, robust chassis, advanced telematics and world-class cabin the Eicher Pro Series tippers ensure high uptime, productivity, and a premium experience at value.

There are suggestions for skipping the emission norm BS-V and directly adopting BS-VI in India; what are your views on this?
The Government's decision to skip the BS-V emission standards and move directly to BS-VI from the BS-IV norms will regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. This upgrade to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.

We are already manufacturing and exporting Euro VI-compliant base engines to the Volvo Group. Investment towards making Indian engines BS-VI-emission compliant will be made over a three-year time-frame and will involve a big outlay. We will have to adapt the Euro VI engines for BS-VI emission norms when it is enforced, it will entail massive work. We plan to undertake a lot of work on after-treatment, testing, developing the right software as well as tweaking the fuel injection system. We have already started work on this and will be ready before time with the product. Also, our Pro 6000 and Pro 8000 Series are made compliant with BS-III and BS-IV emission norms.

What onsite support do you provide to your tipper trucks working at quarry sites? Do you have trucks and fleet management systems in place?
VECV's strategy is to engage the customers and meet their expectations throughout the lifecycle of the vehicles, which effectively means that our service outlets are one-stop solution for customers for all of their after-market needs through our country-wide network of sales, service and spares.

In line with our endeavor to maximize the productivity of our customers who deploy tippers and trucks in various infrastructure, road construction sites, etc., Eicher provides onsite support through container set-up These onsite container set-ups are customized as per the needs of the site and can be installed, dismantled and transported from one location to another with ease. They come equipped with special tools, parts, lube and minor aggregates overhaul, which help in providing quick and prompt service to the vehicles running on the site, thereby improving uptime and productivity.

Eicher on-road service is an emergency service that provides round-the-clock assistance in case of enroute breakdown. With more than 250 GPS-enabled fully equipped EOS vans, Eicher has a set of expert technicians available 24x7 who do real-time tracking of vans to enable faster service to the customer, hence facilitating faster turnaround time for enroute breakdowns. This service also gives real-time SMS update to customers during different stages of EOS call. Through this initiative, Eicher provides the best on-road and off-the-road assistance to its customers.

Eicher branded trucks and buses also come with pre-fitted trucking intelligence system-the Eicher LIVE that drives profitable fleet management by monitoring truck movement, fuel consumption and maintenance needs. It provides real time dashboard data analytics of the fleet, tracking the most important factors including trip management, fuel management and uptime management Its dynamic intelligence helps customer to maximize profitability and productivity, putting him in control of his business.

What about VECVL's new initiatives to support the future growth of your group in India?
We will continue to invest for development of new products, for the new emission norms and capacity expansion. The investments are made in line with market requirements from time to time. In M&HCV Buses, we will continue to expand our product range. e.g. we displayed a sleeper coach in the last Auto Expo. We are also getting ready with latest specification buses as per AMRUT scheme Phase II that will have AMT as well as full ITS. Thus, you will see more and more products that will be released in Buses as well. We will continue to make these and other investments in line with our business strategy.

Best in class fuel efficiency is one of our brand values. We will continue to invest for development of new products, for the new emission norms and capacity expansion. The investments are made in line with market requirements from time to time.

NBM&CW December 2016