Volvo Eicher introduced its Pro range of trucks for construction & mining sector

Eicher unveils the future of Indian trucking with the all new Pro series: The Pro series of trucks and buses from 5-49 tonnes will set new benchmarks in productivity and efficiency



In a major move to strengthen its presence in the Indian tipper truck and bus market, VE Commercial Vehicles joint venture entity introduced its new 'Pro' range of trucks at its Pithampur plant near Indore recently. The event was presided over by Mr. Vinod Aggarwal, CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles; Mr. Joachim Rosenberg, Executive VP, Volvo Group Trucks; Mr. Siddhartha Lal, MD and CEO, Eicher Motors Limited; Mr. Philippe Divry, Senior VP Trucks Joint venture, Volvo India, and other senior officials from VECV. The Pro series will comprise products in the 5-49 tonne space. The new Pro Series trucks will be manufactured in a phased manner from February 2014 onwards at Pithampur. These trucks will be powered by new generation engines adapted from Volvo technology with a power capacity of 180-280 hp and will be merchandised in the Indian and export markets. The products come with new Pegasus based front styling and claims to have competitive exterior designs, engine technology and cabin features.

VE Commercial Vehicles Limited is a 50-50 joint venture between the Volvo Group and Eicher Motors Limited. In operation since July 2008, the company has a wide portfolio of Eicher branded trucks and buses, VE Powertrain, Eicher's components and engineering design services, the sales and distribution business of Volvo trucks and buses. According to the company, the joint venture tie-up has been instrumental towards modernizing the entire manufacturing set-up (Chassis Assembly and cabin trimming, axle and transmission assembly, vehicle testing and an ultra-modern warehouse). It has facilitated towards the adoption of world-class processes in sales and after sales to provide best-in-class experience to its customers. By adopting world-class Volvo group technology in its products and combining frugal engineering, the company is now ready with the entire new range of trucks and buses that are modern, fuel efficient, cost-efficient, more productive, reliable with extended lifetime.

Vinod Aggarwal

Talking about the products, under the five-year old joint venture, Mr.Vinod Aggarwal said, "The newer advanced product is a combination of Volvo's technology with Eicher's strength in frugal engineering that is going to be proved as a key differentiator of the Indian trucking industry."

He continued, "The Eicher brand has got a strong foundation with the most advanced manufacturing facilities and product quality, backed by an all-India dealership and service reach that is highly capable. In addition, the new Pro-series will provide our customers the best end-to-end solutions for their commercial transportation requirements."

Siddhartha Lal

Mr. Siddhartha Lal said, "Time has come to change the heavy duty trucking in India, that has been until recently governed by duopoly, where manufacturers have taken customers for granted without rendering adequate product support. Our philosophy of "Go Pro" implies that our customers can truly work with and rely on a professional partner. Eicher's products, service and attitude are truly professional, and this enables our customers to become more productive, profitable and prosperous in their work and life."

He added that the new range of tipper trucks which are being manufactured taking Indian conditions into account, wherein the cabs and engines will provide better revenue to the owners.

Olof Persson

Mr. Olof Persson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Volvo Group said, "The new trucks are the embodiment of our joint efforts over the last five years. The vital combination of the Volvo Group's world class technology and the frugal cost expertise and management of Eicher has created a range that will set new standards amongst customers with high demands on profitability, flexibility and driver effectiveness."

The portfolio of Pro series of vehicles according to VECV, constitutes Eicher Pro1000: 5t to 14t GVW light and medium duty trucks engine power of 90-110 hp for mass market, Eicher Pro 3000: 9t to 14t GVW medium duty new generation trucks with advanced cabin and CRS engine are targeted at emerging premium segment with engine power of 115-140 hp. Eicher Pro 6000: 16t to 40t GVW heavy duty new generation trucks, tippers & tractors with new cabin, highly fuel-efficient next-gen engine with power rating of 180-220 hp. Eicher Pro 8000: 25t to 49t GVW heavy duty new generation trucks, tippers & tractors are targeted at emerging premium segment with higher power ratings of 250-280 hp. The Pro series also comprises Eicher Skyline Pro-buses.

Elaborating on the tippers Mr. Aggarwal said, "The new pro series of tippers that is going to be a game changer for the trucking industry in India, will deliver higher profitability throughout its life cycle through best in class fuel efficiency, good driver comfort and better drivability, higher uptime and superior reliability, optimized maintenance cost, and altogether higher resale value. The Attainment of extended vehicle uptime will also be ensured through genuine and timely products and services support from VE Commercial Vehicles."

Arun Birla

Mentioning about the expansive range of product support, Mr. A.K. Birla, Executive Vice President Sales and After Market, VE Commercial Vehicles said, "The appropriate product support has contributed towards building up of our market share from 7.8 percent in 2008 to 13.8% in 2013."

According to official communiqué from VE Commercial Vehicles Limited, "Significant improvements have been made in the "After Sales" infrastructure, so as to ensure higher equipment uptime. This includes specially trained technicians, right infrastructure, Eicher special tools and genuine parts at the company's 300 workshops. Higher equipment uptime according to the company is also claimed through 90%, 24x7 parts availability across 365 days. In addition, the company claims parts availability is also ensured through 400 plus exclusive counters throughout the year. Equipment uptime is also asserted to be offered through the company's modular workshops and 350 service vans claiming to make the vehicles operational within 48 hours across India. Other support services claimed to be offered by VECV for enhanced equipment mobility are customized annual maintenance contract services and availability of skilled drivers. VECV maintains to have made colossal investments towards developments of drivers. The company claimed that the drivers available with their dealers help the client's driver to attain best in class-fuel efficiency.

According to VE Commercial Vehicles, with Pro-telematics solutions, the quantum of fuel consumed by every vehicle can be assessed, so as to carry further improvements into the same.

Integrated Facility

The Pithampur facility which will manufacture the trucks, is also a medium duty engine hub for Volvo worldwide. It produces Euro-6 compliant base engines with 5 and 8L capacity to meet the global automotive requirements of Volvo for use in their medium duty trucks. These base engines have been adapted for Euro III and Euro IV emission norms and shall be used for the Eicher Pro range of heavy duty trucks.

The plant has put in place a completely new chassis and assembly line and according to senior Volvo plant officials, characterizing production flexibility, the assembly line is geared up to balance high technology with frugal engineering. The manufacturing set up also includes a cab weld shop with robotic welding, CED paint shop, integrated testing facilities and 100% hot test facility for engines. This facility also houses a warehouse for spare parts availability. The company has invested Rs.1,800 crores on the entire project. There are further plans by VECV to invest another Rs.700 crore in 2014 to meet the requirement of ongoing projects like engine plant, bus body plant, new products, and also for capacity addition beyond 5500 units per month to prepare for 2015 requirements.

NBMCW February 2014

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