Our humble tribute to the industry

Photography : Sanjay Raikar, Saurabh Botre and Mahesh Reddy

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The eighth edition of Apollo-CV Awards (2017) will go down in history as the one that dared to step away from the traddition of being held in the last week of January in every calendar year. The ceremony, this time, was held on February 09, 2017, and marked yet another round of resounding success with the strong support of the CV industry, and from our partner Apollo Tyres. The nomination call for the awards, both for the fleet side and the non-fleet side, was announced in the November 2016 issue of CV magazine. Nomination calls were simultanously sent to OEMs, CV components manufacturers, application builders and transporters over email and other communication mediums. The intention was to reach out to as many stakeholders in the CV industry as was possible. There was some reason for worry. The nomination call for awards coincided with the call by prime minister Narendra Modi to withdraw Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes from circulation with immediate effect on the evening of November 08, 2016. As long queues formed outside banks, and transporters spoke about facing supply chain disruption even as they managed to keep the cash flow unaffected, the amount of nominations we received were overwhelming. Over 45 nominations were received in a short span of time. Numerous nominations were received on the fleet side.

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The Apollo-CV Awards 2017 saw Kaushik Madhavan, Director – Automotive & Transportation, Frost & Sullivan, come in as a new jury member, taking the jury count to five. The awards would profit from Kaushik’s experience and knowledge in the field of automobiles and transportation. The five jury members, comprising Kaushik Madhavan, Rajat Kataria, Divisional Head, Marketing – CV (Asia Pacific, Middle East, North Africa), Apollo Tyres, Dilip Chhabria, Founder, DC Design, VG Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Avanteum Advisors, and Bhushan Mhapralkar, Editor, CV magazine, met in Mumbai in January 2017 to adjudge OEMs (trucks and buses), auto components and CV application award categories. It was not an easy task. After absteining from nominating products for many years, two OEMs chose to participate this year. The 50 non-fleet nominations reflected upon the changes – undercurrents and complexities, that are sweeping the CV industry. New trends, including blurring of boundaries between various CV segments was observed. Also observed was a move towards higher tonnage and higher digistiaton in the quest to up efficiency, safety and lower the TCO. With sales figures in 2016 indicating good growth (especially in the M&HCV category) until the decision to withdraw currency in November 2016 kicked in, the CV industry introduced a good number of products in the respective calendar year. Conspicuously missing were nominations in the SCV category. If this indicated a move to higher tonnage CVs as boundaries blurred, it was not easy for the jury to judge; to pick up the winners. Especially in the wake of a firm resolve by the CV industry to conquer challenges; to keep moving, and to turn out new, exciting products.

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Many intricacies evolved as the judging process progressed. The process involved long debates; a deep exploration of domain knowledge and experience was resorted to. It was after considerable effort that the results were achieved. They were born out of the consideration for parameters like (a) fitness for application, (b) quality of aggregates, (c) fuel efficiency and top speed, (d) option to have a vehicle better suited for the purpose, (e) price, and (f) sales. This was applied to vehicles that were made available during the 2016 calendar year. The jury arrived at 24 awards to do justice to all the constituents. The expertise of Metric Consultancy Ltd. was tapped into. To first invite and then vet fleet operator and dealer nominations. Metric dealt with 622 nominations over a span of three months. These nominations were put through the wringer using the Journey of Excellence parameter derived from the British Quality Foundation.

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To host senior representatives of the CV industry was a privilege. To watch them interact with the incumbents provided a glimpse of the shape of things to come. The picture (on the left) should provide a fair idea of what happened at the Jury meet on January 20, 2017. On the following pages is a synopses for each of the panel discussion that preceded the awards evening. As one may discover, the industry heavyweights did not hesitate to air their views on issues that are important and have the ability to influence the course of the industry. First, let us get to understand who the nominations were, and who won on the evening of February 09, 2017, when the Apollo-CV Awards 2017 were announced.

  1. Pick-up of the Year

    Nominees: a) Isuzu D-Max S-Cab. b) Mahindra Imperio.

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The pick-up truck market is growing. It is attracting the attention of global players. Assuming different dimensions in a bid to address the changing requirements of its operators, pick-up trucks are coming to cater to a well-informed clientele. Making up the one-tonne to 3.5-tonne CV category, they are about fuel economy, payload, speed and price. Found in a single cab, dual cab, rear-wheel drive, and 4×4 guise, pick-up trucks are about business and pleasure. Conforming to owner-operator model, pick-ups, promising faster turnaround, are turning out to be true workhorses. The Mahindra Imperio is no exception. It builds upon its manufacturer’s experience in building dandy pick-up trucks spanning several decades. With a 2990 kg GVW, the Imperio rides on 225/75 R16 tyres; has a 211 ground clearance, and is powered by a 2.5-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine that produces 75 hp of peak power and 220 Nm of peak torque. The pick-up truck features engine immobiliser, fuelsmart technology, adjustable power steering and an independent front suspension. It is also available in a dual-cab variant.

  1. LCV cargo carrier of the year

Nominees: a) Eicher Pro 1049. b) Mahindra DI3200 Jayo. c)Mahindra Optimo Cargo. d)Force Traveller (T2) Delivery van.

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The LCV cargo carrier market saw movement in 2016. A focus of attention by players who have been traditionally strong in the M&HCV categories, the movement in LCV segment signals their high potential. Demand for LCVs continues to rise in-line with the growth in urbanisation. Demand for LCVs is also driven by the further fine-tunning of hub and spoke transportation model. Continuing to absorb new technology and smart ways of addressing customer demand, LCVs are addressing the exacting needs of their customers. They are addressing a clientele that is demanding. The Eicher Pro 1049 is a small truck with big space for cargo. It is smart, modern, agile and easy to manoeuvre.

  1. Large Truck Fleet operator of the Year

Nominees: a) NTC Logistics India (P) Limited. b) Lalji Mulji Transport Company. c) Inland World Logistics Pvt. Ltd.

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As big boys of the logistics industry, they excel in service and operations. They also have a strong balance sheet to flaunt. Always ready to adopt the latest technological innovations or logistical paradigms, they set the standards for those aspiring to make it big in their field. Headquartered at Kolkata, and established in 1989, Inland World Logistics began transporting consignments in eastern and north-eastern region in India. It grew by offering point-to-point services with a promise of 50 per cent reduction in stock delivery time. Operating out of 350 locations across India, Inland World Logistics has come to build a large truck fleet. Leveraging technology for express distribution, the company is consistently providing efficient end-to-end logistics solutions to customers without sacrificing quality.

  1. Small Fleet Operator of the Year

Nominees: a) CCI Logistics Ltd. b) Gujarat Logistics. c) Schedulers Logistics India Pvt. Ltd.

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Contrary to their size, small fleet operators have come to acquire exemplary standards in business and operations, inversely proportionate to their size, almost. Often faced with the daunting task of managing their business within limited means, our nominees this year did not lack on any score. Beginning its journey 10 years ago, Gujarat Logistics has exhibited an endeavor for excellence by setting high standards with the virtue of its excellent business practices and management. Making a modest beginning with two young entrepreneurs – Deepak Thakker and Ramesh Madhvi, setting up the company in 2006, Gujarat Logistics has stood up to its motto of providing accurate and secure transportation services of value cargo. An ISO 9001-8000 certfied company, Gujarat Logistics has kept itself up to speed with judicious use of technology. It has invested in a GPS analytics dashboard. Its fleet of 100 vehicles is backed by GPS based fleet management system to ensure timely delivery and collection of cargo. Known to deliver container equipment on stipulated time, the company has evolved into an organisation that employees 250 people. Gujarat Logistics operates through 10 offices. Its operations span major port cities, and industrial towns of Gujarat.

  1. HCV Rigid Cargo Carrier of the Year

Nominees: a) Eicher Pro 6037. b) BharatBenz 3723R. c) Mahindra Blazo 37. d ) Tata LPT 3718 PA

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Engineered to be a workaholic – ferrying cargo over long distances, heavy commercial vehicles are staging a comeback in a form that is new, well engineered, efficient and performance oriented. An intrinsic part of the hub and spoke transportation model, heavy commercial vehicles are proving to be feature-intensive and technologically rich. The winner in this category, the Mahindra Blazo 37 aligns itself accurately wit h the market demand for higher tonnage vehicles that are efficient and cost competitive. Employing a common-rail turbo diesel engine of 7.2-litre, the Blazo 37 has a GVW of 37-tonne. The 10×4 configuration of the Blazo 37 along with its dimensions presents it with an ability to manoeuvre through tight spots and achieve a faster turnaround time. The engine, developing 220 hp and 800 Nm of peak torque at 1100-1700 rpm, makes the truck agile and powerful. Unique are the three drive modes that offer the truck the ability to save fuel when running empty or with partial load. The four-post suspended cabin is modern and comfortable. The quality of build is good, and the 6-speed manual synchromesh transmission is engineered to offer a good balance of tractability and efficiency. The front two axles are steerable; the rear axle is a lift axle. It senses when the vehicle is running in an unloaded condition and lifts automatically. The 350-litre diesel tank presents the truck with the ability to cover a good deal of distance between refills.

  1. HCV Tractor Cargo Carrier of the Year

Nominees: a) MAN CLA 49.300. b) Tata Signa 4923.S. c) Mahindra Blazo 49

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HCV tractor cargo carriers are dandy workhorses. The tractor-trailer combination results in versatility that is hard to match. Capable of ferrying goods that a rigid cargo truck simply cannot think of, the HCV tractor-trailer, with better earning potential, can be a car carrier, a steel coil carrier, or a container carrier. The winner in this arena is a volume oriented tractor that has the Tata legacy heavy-duty truck range as the basis. The 49-tonne GVW Tata Signa 4923.S builds on the highly popular Tata LPT/LPK range of heavy-duty trucks that are the main stay of Tata Motor’s commercial vehicle range. The LPT/LPK cabin was tweaked to bring the truck up to the modern standards in terms of noise, refinement and comfort without a substantial price increase. The proven driveline was left untouched except for some improvements that would enhance performance and efficiency. Powering the Signa 4923.S is a 227 hp, 5.9-litre Cummins 6B six-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel engine that does 800 Nm of peak torque at 1400-1700 rpm. Transmission is a nine-speed manual synchromesh unit. With 23.5 per cent gradebility, the tractor draws from Tata Motors’ long standing experience in making heavy-duty trucks at a cost that is just about one to two per cent more than the model it builds upon.

  1. Fleet Operator of the Year – Niche Applications

Nominees: a) Schedulers Logistics India Pvt. Ltd. b) CRL Express Logistics India LLP.

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There is no better way to describe a specialty than to term it as a niche. It is a place for a few, and takes a good deal of effort and attention. The nominees in this category have not only perfected the art of rising upto a certain standard, they have also managed to excel in their chosen arena. Founded in 2012 by Akshay Sharma and Colonel Arvind Gangoly, Scheduler Logistics India operates a fleet of reefer vehicles and temperature controlled warehouses across the country. Raising Series A capital from Aspada Investment Company in 2014, Schedulers Logistics India has been clocking good growth. It has been growing its fleet and warehousing facilities with an intention to reach a fleet count of over 500 trucks and 18 cold storage locations by 2020. Attracting an investment of Rs.40 crore in 2016 from Gujarat-based venture fund, GVFL Ltd., Scheduler Logistics India has been successful in exploiting the demand-supply gap in the cold chain sector to its advantage.

  1. ICV People Mover of the Year

Nominees: a) BharatBenz 917 Tourist. b) Tata Starbus Ultra Wide.

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ICV people movers are a step ahead. Especially when compared to their counterparts in the cargo segment. With impressive applications, engineering qualities and specifications, they make modern marvels that are capable of addressing emerging market niches. Delivering on various fronts, and in various capacities, ICV people movers make efficient staff carriers, school buses or metro feeders. Their performance is indicative of the general direction in which the bus industry is heading. Of the two contenders, the BharatBenz 917 Tourist impressed because of its abilities and versatility. With a 9-tonne GVW, the bus measures 9815 mm in length and 2,350 mm in width. Employing aluminium in its body construction, which helps to up the fuel efficiency and performance, the 917 Tourist can seat 26 people in addition to the driver in good comfort. Featuring push back seats, clear lens head lamps with daytime driving lamps, fixed toughened glass windows, and a 27kW AC, the 917 Tourist is powered by a 4-litre, turbo-diesel engine that produces 170 hp and 520 Nm of peak torque. Adhering to the bus code, the bus features an emergency exit at the rear right. Fuel tank capacity of the 917 tourist is 160-litres.

  1. School Bus of the Year

Nominees: a) BharatBenz 917 School bus. b) Ashok Leyland Sunshine School bus.

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Ferrying pupils, school buses are about safety, comfort and punctuality. Impervious to fluctuations in the CV industry, these new breed of buses comply with often conflicting parameters. Standing up to the expectations of parents and school managements, not to forget the expectations of those that manage the operations day-in and day-out, school buses are catering to emerging needs. They are also catering to the changing needs and regulations. Consider the winner in this category, and the Ashok Leyland Sunshine school bus amounts to a modern construction. Built with inputs from pupils, parents, school teachers and the rest of the stakeholders, the bus is claimed to be the first to offer frontal crash protection and rollover protection. It is also claimed to be the first to offer anti-bacteial interiors. Meeting AIS052 and AIS063 bus codes, the Sunshine features low entry step to facilitate easy entry and exit. Efforts have been made to eliminate blind spots faced by the driver. Powering the bus is a 100 hp, 2.9-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine that produces a peak torque of 320 Nm at 1200-2000 rpm.

  1. Private Sector bus operator of the Year

Nominees: a) Royal Tourist. b) Orange Tours & Travels. c) Tirupati Travels & Goods Service Pvt. Ltd.

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Bus fleet management has turned into a serious, professional activity. It has turned into a serious business that includes equations like yield per seat, online ticketing, life cycle value of buses, in-bus entertainment and fancy bus shelters. Established in 2011 in Hyderabad, Orange Tours & Travels traces its origin to Thirumala Cabs, which specialised in corporate car rentals since 2000. The company operates semi-sleeper and AC sleeper coaches on inter-state routes. With an annual turnover of Rs, 20,000 million, Orange Tours & Travels has invested in a central call centre to address the needs of its customers. With a fleet size of 130 buses, it is the value added services like mineral water bottle, branded snacks specially packed in a box, wi-fi, missed call alert for real time vehicle information, live bus tracking with PNR/mobile, and display of videos in vernacular languages for entrainment, that sets the company apart from its competitors.

  1. LCV people mover of the Year

Nominees: a) SML Isuzu Executive LX Coach. b) SML Isuzu EcoMax.

  1. Force Traveller (T2) Royale. d) Force Traveller. (T2) Smartcitibus.

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Rising urbanisation is creating a need for distinct ways of travel. This is ensuring that buses reinvent themselves to fit the exacting needs of travellers. As metros and monorails find a place in India’s growing cities as a means to facilitate better infrastructure, lighter and ‘easy to manoeuvre’ buses are finding a way of serving the last mile transportation needs. They are finding a place as feeder service, point-to-point service, local area service, city bus service and as executive travel service. Aimed at meeting the needs of corporates and tourists for executive travel, SML Isuzu Executive LX Coach follows in the footsteps of a shorter wheelbase Executive Coach launched by the company a few years ago on its highly versatile S7 bus platform. Capable of seating between 19 and 30 people, the Executive LX Coach looks modern and plush. Featuring fixed glass windows, it is well built and well engineered. Offering a low step entry, dual colour interiors, AC, moble charging points, onboard entertainment with LCD screen, the Executive LX Coach comes across as refined and comfortable. It is powered by a 101 hp, 3.5-litre turbo-diesel engine that produces a peak torque of 310 Nm at 1500-1750 rpm.

  1. ICV Cargo Carrier of the Year

Nominees: a) Eicher Pro 1110XP Hexadrive. b) Ashok Leyland Guru 1211. c) BharatBenz 914R

  1. BharatBenz 1214R. e) Tata LPT 1412 CRX.

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ICV cargo carriers are showing signs of growth. a good five nominations were received this year. A result of customer-centric approach that is also about blurring the boundaries between segments, ICVs are about technology, image, price and TCO. Part of the ‘hub and spoke’ transportation model that is continuing to evolve, ICVs are set to play an important role. They make modern and versatile cargo carriers that promise better value while being reliable and efficient. The winner in this space, the Eicher Pro 1110XP Hexadrive, offers better payload capacity at a highly comeptitive price. With an ability to employ aggregrates that are shared by other company, the 1110XP Hexadrive makes a reliable and efficient truck. It is powered by a 118 hp, 3.3-litre four cylinder, common-rail turbo-diesel engine that produces a peak torque of 400 Nm at 1400-1600 rpm in BSIV compliant guise. The 1110XP Hexadrive, in a fiercely competitive space, is a versatile offering.

  1. MCV Cargo Carrier of the Year

Nominees: a) BharatBenz 1617R. b) Eicher Pro 3016.

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The strong and versatile MCV segment continues to grow. It is emerging as a segment that addresses the myriad needs of the market, be it a rigid truck tipper or a special application truck. Capable of addressing a diverse range of applications and customer requirements, BharatBenz 1617R draws attention due to its modern construction and an ability to deliver. A medium segment cargo carrier, the 1617R is indicative of how CV makers are striving to address the changing needs of the market. Powering the 1617R is a 170 hp, 4-litre diesel engine that produces a peak torque of 520 Nm at 1500 rpm. Transmission is a six-speed unit. With a 16-tonne GVW, the 1617R is efficient, well built, and offers a high earning potential.

  1. HCV tipper of the Year

Nominees: a) Eicher Pro 8031T/8031XM. b) Volvo FMX 440.

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These pragmatic and reliable machines are best suited for the rough and tumble of mining, quarrying and construction operations. They can be looked upon to perform one of the most demanding jobs a truck has to perform. Building on Volvo’s experience of making some of the most successful premium segment trucks on global platforms, the Volvo FMX440 impressed the jury for its abilities and technological prowess. It is powered by a 440 hp 12.8-litre, six-cylinder electronically governed engine, and an automated splitter range heavy-duty ‘I-Shift’ transmission. Producing 2200 Nm of peak torque, the FMX440 makes easy work of the deep mines. Costing a little under Rupees one-crore, the heavy-duty tippers works in arduous conditions, which reflects on its reliability, technology and superior productivity. The 31-tonne tipper comes with a 19 cu.m rock body superstructure, and is supported by Volvo Dynafleet telematics. Providing onboard diagnostics and driver information for an efficient operation, the FMX440 makes for a world-class truck with engineering attributes like hub reduction.

  1. Promising Debut of the Year

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There were some interesting debuts last year. They reflected upon the changes that are taking place in the Indian CV industry. They also pointed at a burning desire to grow come what may. If the debuts emphasised upon a potential to change the market perception, they also made a lasting impression. The winner, the Volvo 8400 Hybrid city bus, makes a lasting impression in terms of technology. It may be based on a conventional 8400 diesel-powered city bus that is found in over 30 cities in India, it elevates city bus travel to a new level. Not only does the bus assure less emissions with the help of its parallel electric-diesel hybrid mechanism, it also assures comfortable travel in an urban environment. What is particularly interesting is the fuel efficiency the bus offers. It consumes 30-35 per cent less diesel over a conventional diesel bus, employing technologies like regenerative braking.

  1. CV application builder of the Year

Nominees: a) Alma Motors – Tarmac Bus. b) Tata DLT – Double-deck tractor trailer. c) Randhawa Automobile Engineering – Double-deck bike carrier container body . d) Schwing Stetter – Truck mounted transit concrete mixer.

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CV applications can be highly diverse and differ in terms of use, and in terms of productivity gains. An outcome of diverse technological inputs, they can mean different business propositions to different people. Of the three nominations received, it was the double-deck tractor trailer (carrier) nomination which drew attention. Perhaps due to the fact that the trailer has been designed to transport 10 tractors against eight tractors that are carried by transporters, and often in a way that is deemed dangerous. The trailer is built to comply with the legally prescribed dimensions. With the additional capacity of tractors that transporters can expect to transport, the added capacity is also aimed at minimising the operating costs. What proved to be of advantage to Tata DLT is its claim of being the first company in India to get certified by ARAI as per the AIS113 code of practice for type approval of trailers.

  1. CV component of the Year

Nominees: a) Spheros Motherson Revo-E rooftop air conditioner. b) Rane TRW hydraulic and modular power steering. c) Federal-Mogul Goetze diamond coating piston ring.

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A formidable field CV components is. Three nominations were shortlisted on the merit of technology, market performance, price, and relevance to category. Each entry was subjected to a detailed scrutiny. Attention was paid to the infrastructure and capabilities of the suppliers, which make these products. One component stood out in context to commercial vehicles – the Spheros Motherson Revo-E rooftop hybrid and electric bus air-conditioner. It stood out on the count of technology, and the value it packed; on the count of frugal engineering and an ability to meet market demand. The Revo E impressed by its ability to enhance efficiency and comfort. What tilted the scale in favour of Revo E is its ability to save energy, and in the process make for an eco-friendly apparatus.

  1. MCV tipper of the Year

Nominees: a) Tata LPK1615. b) MAN CLA 25.300. c) Tata Prima 2528.K.

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Medium capacity tippers in the 16-tonne to 25-tonne range make versatile creatures. They are capable of finding work at the construction site; at a highway project, and at a mining site. There are numerous other duties MCV tippers can perform efficiently. They are workhorses that are modern in construction, efficient and capable of living many lives in one. The Tata Prima 2528.K found favour because of its modern build, world-class platform architecture and competitive pricing. Equipped with a 18 cu. m. box body that offers a 11-tonne payload against a GVW of 25-tonne, the 2528.K is powerful and fit for tough off-road tasks such as those found at mines. Powering the 2528.k is a 267 hp 6.7-litre six-cylinder common-rail diesel engine with a 970 Nm peak torque at 1200-1700 rpm. Transmission is an eight-speed manual synchromesh unit with crawler gear. Priced at Rs.43 lakh, ex-showroom Thane, the 2528.K is capable of a maximum speed of 78 kmph, and a gradeability of 58 per cent in crawler gear. The tipper features remote keyles entry with central door locking, four-post suspended cab, adjustable steering wheel, air suspended driver seat with reclining mechansim, AC, data logger, music systems and power windows.

  1. Special application CV of the Year

Nominees: a) Eicher Pro 6025 TM. b) Tata Armored Personnel Carrier.

  1. Force Traveller First Responder.

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Special application CVs address special needs of the market. They are engineered to perform a task, or a series of tasks, that requires them to be equipped and worthy of the job. Special application CVs are an outcome of an extensive study of their target audience. They are specialised to the core. Two special application CVs drew attention – the Tata armored personnel carrier and the Force Traveller First Responder. Designed and developed to perform military duties, both at the time of war and during peace missions, the Tata Armored personnel carrier produces 240 hp of power and 925 Nm of peak torque. Capable of seating 12 troopers, driver and a co-driver, the vehicle, equipped with a six-speed gearbox, features firing ports, ballistic protection, integrated gun ports with sighting glasses, explosive suppressant fuel tank material, side wall mounted seats for blast protection with four-point harness, twin AC, and run-flat tyres. Like the Tata Aromored Personnel Carrier, the Force Traveller First Responder is also engineered and built to serve the nation; to serve for the betterment of the human kind. The First Responder is deployed along key highways including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in India. Powered by a 2.2-litre common-rail, turbo-diesel engine that produces 127 hp of power and 300 Nm of peak torque at 1600-2400 rpm, the First Responder, equipped with a five-speed manual synchromesh transmission, has a GVW of 3510 Kg. It is equipped with a high pressure water mist system with foam and rescue tools like high capacity compact cutters and spreaders. The vehicle is also equipped with lighting and positioning systems that are operational with a wireless remote, and Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus system.

20. CV dealer of the Year

Nominees: a) Anamallais Agencies. b) Cargo Motors Pvt. Ltd. c) TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons Pvt. Ltd.

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They are the OEM’s interface. An important element in the CV ecosystem that either conveys a good impression about the manufacturer, or otherwise. Left with an amount of operating costs to handle, and in a situation where the needs of the buyers are changing, dealers have to exude much professionalism. They are expected to evolve; respond to market changes quickly, and keep those who look up to them, happy and satisfied. Established in 1959 by Yash Pal Nanda, Cargo Motors stood out on the virtue of its professional management. This, despite being a family-owned enterprise. Looked after by the third generation of the family, Cargo Motors Pvt. Ltd. are dealers for Tata Motors commercial vehicles. Having come to build a loyal workforce, Cargo Motors operates out of Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan through 60 sales outlets and 20 workshops. One of the oldest dealers of Tata Motors in West India, Gandhidham-based Cargo Motors achieved sales of 17,321 CVs of Tata make in 2016. What is impressive about the dealer is the various services it offers, including standardised process for familiarising customers with product features, on-time and one cost service delivery, in-house tie-up with financers like TMFL and others, prompt service with 24×7 support, and customer app. for service booking, breakdown and vehicle data repository.

  1. Best practice adopter of the Year

Nominees: a) NTC Logistics India (P) Limited. b) S.K. Translines Pvt. Ltd. c) V-Trans (India) Limited.

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In an era where technology rules the roost, fleet owners have leveraged to their advantage technology, and an ability to control costs. To seek better operational control, attain good customer focus and excel in the management of business. Of the three nominations received, NTC Logistics India (P) Ltd. stood out because of its ability to utilise technology in the best possible manner, and a standard in cost control, operational control, customer focus and overall management. Established in 1997, NTC Logistics India (P) Ltd., formerly Namakkal Transport Carriers (P) Limited, evolved from being a small-time specialised trucking company into a multi-modal logistics service provider. Offering seamless turnkey project logistics solutions, including budgeting, planning and successful project execution, the company, specialising in ODC movement, claims to be one of the largest and the most specialised fleets in the country. It also claims to move windmill equipment like blades, nacelles, and towers across the length and breath of the country. To do so, NTC Logistics India (P) Ltd. has adopted modern technology, international quality control measures, processes and service delivery machanims. With a fleet size of 599 vehicles, the company caters to renewable energy sector, power generation sector, automotive sector, engineering and manufacturing sectors, earth moving and transportation sectors, oil and gas, metals and mining, hyrdo and thermal, consumer durable, life sciences and healthcare, and FMCG sector.

  1. CV man of the Year

Nominees: a)Vinod K. Dasari. b) Erich Nesselhauf. c) Vinod Aggarwal. d) Ravi Pisharody. e) Nalin Mehta.

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An IIT, Kahargpur engineer with a MBA degree from Delhi Unversity, Nalin Mehta was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Mahindra Navistar joint venture in 2000. The JV marked Mahindra’s entry into the M&HCV segment. The LCV business at Zaheerabad, was hived off to the JV. After some time of making LCVs and M&HCVs the JV gave way. New challenges emerged. Undeterred, Mehta led the company from the front. Employing non-traditional routes like transport excellence and awards empower to better address the needs of various stakeholders of the transport industry, Mehta’s company improve their product offering. Mehta’s pursuit for a powerful yet efficient truck led to the development of a new, electronic engine with multi-mode technology. This tech has come to define the Blazo range. The Blazo, with its multi-mode technology, guarantees the operator of superior fuel efficiency over the competition. Over 2000 units of Blazo have been sold after the truck was unveiled at Auto Expo 2016, aptly reflecting upon Mehta’s ability to steer his company to a path of strong growth. And, in an enviroment that is challenging.

  1. CV maker of the Year

Nominees: a) Tata Motors. b) Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Ltd. c) Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles Pvt Ltd. d) Mahindra Trucks & Buses Ltd. e) Ashok Leyland Ltd.

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A 50:50 joint venture between Volvo Group and Eicher Motors, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV) has seen sales double since its inception in 2008. The market share of the company has gone up to over 14 per cent, including exports. The new range of trucks and buses under the Pro Series nomenclature are reflecting upon the company’s customer-centric approach. Launches like the Pro 1049, and the Pro 8031T/XM indicate a calculated effort, backed by Volvo Group, to move up the technology and value ladder. Investing Rs.1800 crore over five years to develop products, engines and upgrade the existing manufacturing facilities, the CV maker, in 2016, continued to change ahead. It pledged an investment of Rs.700 crore to enhance the quality of products; to modernise them in view of the regulatory needs and market demands.

24. CV of the year

Nominees: a) Mahindra Imperio. b) Eicher Pro 1049. c) BharatBenz 917 Tourist. d)Tata Prima 2528.K. e) Volvo FMX 440. f) Tata Signa 4923.S. g) SML Isuzu Executive LX Coach. h)Mahindra Blazo 37. i)Ashok Leyland Sunshine school bus. j) Volvo Hybrid 8400. k) Eicher Pro 1110XP Hexadrive. l)BharatBenz 1617R.

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Combining tradition, technology and a deep understanding of the market, modern CVs are promising better productivity and gains. Fitting the bill, the Mahindra Blazo 37 made it to the top of its quest to address the exacting requirements of its buyers, operators and drivers. One among a range of medium and heavy-duty trucks that share the same name (Blazo) except for a different suffix, the Blazo 37 is carving out a place for itself in a category, which until two to three years ago, did not exist. Tapping into the shift towards higher tonnage trucks, the Blazo 37 is digital in nature, well equipped and versatile.

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CV industry triumphs at the Apollo CV awards 2017

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The Indian Commercial Vehicle (CV) industry came together to celebrate success at the Apollo CV Awards 2017 on February 09, 2017, in Mumbai. The eight edition of the awards, which were jointly founded by Commercial Vehicle magazine (belonging to Next Gen Publishing Pvt. Ltd.) and Apollo Tyres, adjudged products, OEMs, CV components manufacturers, CV application builders, and transporters. Held every year, the 2017 edition took into consideration developments that took place in the 2016 calendar year. Accordingly nominations were called from OEMs, CV components manufacturers, CV application builders and fleet operators in a process that lasted over two months before culminating into 24 awards and a plaque honouring the contribution of the CV man of the year.

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The five member jury of the Apollo CV awards 2017 comprised of Dilip Chhabria, Founder, DC Design, Rajat Kataria, Divisional Head – Marketing (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa), Commercial Vehicles, Apollo Tyres, V G Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Avanteum Advisors, Kaushik Madhavan, Director – Automotive & Transportation, Frost & Sullivan, and Bhushan Mhapralkar, Editor, Commercial Vehicle magazine. The jury scrutinised close to 50 ‘non-fleet’ nominations received. This involved long debates, a deep exploration of domain knowledge and experience. Parameters like fitness for application, quality of aggregates, fuel efficiency and top speed, option to have vehicle better suited for the purpose, price and sales were considered. Over 622 ‘fleet’ nominations were received. These were scrutinised by Metric Consultancy Ltd. by using the Journey of Excellence parameter derived from the British Quality Foundation.

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The Mahindra Blazo 37 won the CV of the year award. Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles Ltd. won the CV maker of the year. Nalin Mehta, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Trucks and Buses Ltd. won the CV man of the year. The ‘Best practice adopter of the Year’ award was won by NTC Logistics India (P) Limited. CV dealer of the Year award was won by Cargo Motors Pvt. Ltd. Tata Armored Personnel Carrier and Force Traveller First Responder were joint winners of the Special CV application of the Year award. MCV tipper of the Year award was won by Tata Prima 2528.K. Spheros Motherson’s Revo E roof-top AC for hybrid and electric buses won the CV component of the Year award. Tata DLT double-deck tractor (trailor) carrier won the CV application builder of the Year award. Volvo 8400 Hybrid city-bus won the Promising debut of the Year award. Volvo FMX440 won the HCV tipper of the Year award. BharatBenz 1617R won the MCV cargo carrier of the Year award. Eicher Pro 1110XP Hexadrive won the ICV cargo carrier of the Year. SML Isuzu Executive LX Coach won the LCV people mover of the Year award.

Orange Tours & Travels won the Private sector bus fleet operator of the Year award. The School bus of the Year award was bagged by Ashok Leyland Sunshine school bus. The ICV people mover of the Year award was won by BharatBenz 917 Tourist. The Fleet application of the Year – Niche award was bagged by Schedulers Logistics India Pvt. Ltd. Tata Signa 4923.S tractor won the HCV tractor cargo carrier of the Year. Mahindra Blazo 37 won the HCV rigid cargo carrier of the Year award. Gujarat Logistics won the Small fleet operator of the Year award. The Large truck fleet operator of the Year award was won by Inland World Logistics Pvt. Ltd. Eicher Pro 1049 won the LCV cargo carrier of the Year. Mahindra Imperio was judged the Pick-up of the Year.


Executive travel

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To address the need for executive travel, SML Isuzu has introduced an executive coach based on its highly popular S7 platform.

Story & photos: Anirudh Raheja

With a 7500 kg gross vehicle weight, the SML Isuzu Executive LX Coach seats 19 people in high levels of comfort. If the push back luxury seats are replaced with semi-reclining seats, the coach can accommodate between 28 and 30 people. Based on SML Isuzu’s S7 platform, which has sprang numerous derivatives including a range of school buses, the executive coach incorporates the updates the Ropar-based commercial vehicle manufacturer has subjected its S7 platform too. The Executive LX Coach is thus a combination of new and familiar.


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In terms of appearance, ‘modish’ could well be the word. A large windshield that extends way down dominates the front fascia. It also signals a clever use of glass to ensure good visibility ahead as well as add a dash of style to what would otherwise have been a boxy structure. Designed and engineered to accommodate as many people, the Executive LX Coach looks modern and smart. Its front FRP fascia, seems to strike a resemblance with an Executive LX bus built on the same, S7 platform, but with a shorter wheelbase of 2815 mm. The streaked, twin-beam head lamp assemblies add a touch of style, and as does the bumper. It is an integral part of the front fascia. SML Isuzu sources claim that the Executive LX Coach is aimed at tourist and staff transport. The good fit-finish levels will provide this coach an ability to attract both, the tourist and the staff bus commuters. Seeming to carry an amount of influence of the bigger Isuzu FR1318 bus, the Executive LX Coach flaunts fixed side windows. They are glued and provide a pillarless look, like that of the Isuzu FR1318! Measuring 8,291 mm in length, 2,262 mm in width and 3,060 mm in height, the Executive LX Coach looks well proportioned. Its wheelbase measures 4,240 mm. The body structure of the front-engine bus is made of reinforced steel. Riding on 16-inch wheels, the coach has an emergency exit door at the rear-right. Complying with the bus code, the rear fascia of the coach, sports a hatch with the tail lamp consoles on either side. There is a small windshield at the rear. Its functional value is however not clear. Opening the hatch hinged at the top provides access to the storage space. It is big enough to store the bags of all those who could ride this coach.


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If the fixed windows provide a clue, the Executive LX Coach is fitted with a Trans ACNR 25 kW roof top air-conditioner. Entry into the coach is through a pneumatically operated door on the left. The low step entry makes it easier to get into the bus and get down from the bus. The first impression upon climbing inside is the good fit-finish levels. This particular coach came fitted with 2×1 push-back seats. These were arranged across five rows. The seats have been procured from Harita Seating Systems, and come with padded arm rests and footrests. Each row of seats is provided with two mobile charging points to address the needs of commuters. The hat racks have air-con ducts running through them. Above each row are a bank of adjustable AC vents and reading lights. Also built into the hat rack are the speakers. A 19-inch, foldable LCD panel is built into the roof. For emergency evacuation, a red button has been placed in the passenger compartment. On the pillars is a hammer painted in red. This could be used to break the window glass in case of an emergency.

In-line with the other S7 (platform) variants, the Executive LX Coach does not have a full driver partition. The front passenger seat could be reached by stepping past the lid, which provides access to the engine compartment below. This lid is flush with the floor! Even the driver could choose to take this route to his cockpit or climb in through the dedicated door provided to him. Built at SML Isuzu’s bus building facility at Ropar, the driver cockpit of the Executive LX Coach will look familair to those who have been in an S7 (platform) bus, or have piloted one. It is not a complicated place to be in. It is not a place that is buzzing with a lot of electronics; digital stuff, that is.

At the wheel

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The driving position of the Executive Coach is commanding. The large front windshield provides a good view of all that lies in front. Ergonomically well engineered, the dashboard, as part of the driver’s cockpit is functional and simple. It flaunts a faux-wood and black surface finish. The instrument console is made up of a large speedometer, front and rear air pressure gauge, and fuel and engine temperature gauge. A strip at the bottom of what could be defined as a simple looking conolse, is a strip that contains the warning lamps. To the right of the instrument console is the head lamp height adjustment switch. The center console has an array of buttons followed by a music system and the AC controls. The three spoke steering wheel is a carry over from other S7 buses. Below the steering wheel, and to the left, is a blue coloured knob that switches on or off the pneumatic control system of the passenger door entry. Above the driver’s seat is a large mirror to help him quickly glance at the pasengers. For him to watch the traffic behind his bus or in the vicinity are the large external mirrors. The gear shifter is well placed and is within easy reach of the driver. In terms of ergonomics and comfort, the Executive LX Coach scores well.

On the road

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Turn the key; the SL T3 diesel motor fires to life. Available in BSIII and BSIV guise, the engine is located longitudinally at front with the drive going to the rear through a five-speed synchromesh manual transmission and a hypoid live axle. The 3455cc diesel engine produces 101 hp and 310 Nm of peak torque at 1500-1750 rpm. Good response translates into the coach smartly moving away from standstill. The SL T3 unit produces good torque from lower rpm. This helps to enhance tract-ability. Good insulation adds to the refined natire of the engine. The Executive LX Coach is a good place to be in. It is quiet and devoid of harshness. Switch to second gear, and the action, though not quite car-like, is smooth and predictable. Engage third gear, and the coach picks up speed. The lower ratios feel taller a shade taller than the higher ones. They ensure good supply of torque. With speeds in the region of 50 kmph attained easily, the coach displays good refinement. The driver area is not very noisy or a tough place to be in. It is reflective of the good sound insulation the company has deployed. The recirculating ball type power steering is light and offers good feedback. It helps to manoeuvre the coach with ease. The semi-elliptical multi leaf suspension along with hydraulic double acting and telescopic dampers at both, the front end and the rear end, support a pliant ride over a variety of surfaces. It does have a firm edge to it, but is pliant. The dual circuit vaccum assisted pneumatic brakes offer a good bite. They retard the coach, and provide a progressive feel. The air-conditioner cools the large area inside the bus effectively, and without robbing the engine of its ability to propel the vehicle at good speeds.

Bright future

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The Executive LX Coach follows the 11 m-long FR1318 in a territory were customer preferences are changing. Expectations about comfort, efficiency and safety are rising as much as they are changing. For SML Isuzu, which posted a growth of 18.8 per cent in the first half of FY2016-17, the Executive LX Coach does not signal a new territory. It has had a presence in the executive tourist and staff bus transport segments, albeit with its small wheelbase Executive bus. The Executive LX Coach promises better operating economics no doubt. Meeting the AIS 052 bus body code specifications, the Executive LX Coach from SML Isuzu points at a modern build and high standards of fit-finish. With the BSIV and CNG versions of the Executive LX Coach under certification, the future for this particular example looks bright. The Executive LX Coach extends the company’s possibilities to gain a greater pie of the market that is growing in.

Gazing into the future

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The display of people movers by Tata Motors at its Pune plant provided an opportunity to gaze into the future of public transportation mediums.

Story & photos: Ashish Bhatia

To gaze into the future is not easy. To gaze into the future of technology that will influence the transportation of masses is not easy. Tata Motors, at its Pune plant, provided an opportunity to look some of the most exciting buses that will define the future modes of transportation recently. It displayed its people mover range, starting from the alternate fuel Ace Magic to the flagship Starbus fuel cell bus concept. Guenter Butschek, CEO and Managing Director, Tata Motors, announced the launch of the Starbus Hybrid city bus on the occasion. A series hybrid city bus, modelled closely on the 10 Tata CNG hybrid city buses that are running on a route in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, the Starbus Hybrid will soon hit the roads of Mumbai, at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. They will ply between BKC and the nearby suburban rail stations of Sion, Kurla and Bandra. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has placed an order of 25 hybrid buses with Tata Motors under the FAME program. These buses will be operated by BEST. With the municipal elections in Mumbai drawing close, the first Starbus Hybrid, is expected to hit the BKC roads only after the elections are held and a new governing body comes to power.

For a democratic country like India, that is the second most populous in the world, and spread over an area of 3.287 million sq. km, the need is to move people in a manner that is well integrated. To ensure an integrated and efficient travel is a challenge. In his inaugural speech at the Busworld 2015, P S Ananda Rao, Executive Director, ASRTU, expressed the need to inculcat one-million busses immediately in addition to 7.5 lakh buses present (in the system) to address the need for people in the vast country to move. Highlighting the potential for rural connectivity, he mentioned that there is a need for 50,854 buses at 600 buses per 10 million rural population. According to a survey, claimed to be conducted by the government, over 50 per cent of the workforce continues to work at home or travel to their workplace by foot in the absence of adequate transport facilities. Many are largely dependent on private transport as the share of public transport is just 18.1 per cent of work trips. The data collected by the survey indicates that citizens are largely dependent on private modes of transport, such as bicycles (26.3 million) and motorcycles (25.4 million) in rural and urban India. In 2015 the number of daily trips using a motorcycle for commuting was 35 million (excluding personal trips).

Fuel cell bus

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With a typical city bus expected to do 200 runs a day, it made for an interesting display of six most modern buses by Tata Motors including the BKC-bound Starbus Hybrid. All five buses were prototypes, and provided an opportunity to gaze into the future. The most interesting was the ‘Tata Starbus Fuel Cell bus’. This bus is said to be the country’s first ‘Fuel Cell’ bus. Touted as a zero emission mass transport solution for city travel, it was developed in partnership with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), and combines hydrogen gas and oxygen. The bus measures 12 m in length and is claimed to have a power output of 114 bhp. If the use of fuel cell technology results in 40-60 per cent efficiency in energy conversion over conventional diesel buses, the bus, based on the previous-generation LPO 1625 Starbus Fuel Cell bus concept, shares the platform with the Starbus Hybrid and Starbus Electric. Four hydrogen cylinders of 205 litre capacity each are placed in the roof casing. A longitudinally arranged hydrogen fuel cell power system at the rear produces electric energy (equivalent to 114 hp) via the Lithium-ion battery pack. The battery delivers power to a rear-axle mounted propulsion motor through a summation gearbox, resulting in a combined output of 250 hp and 1,050 Nm of torque at 800 rpm. Featuring independent pneumatic suspension with hydraulic double-acting telescopic shock absorbers, the fuel cell bus features pneumatic dual-circuit s-cam braking system, which is ABS assisted. The full low-floor bus can seat 30 passengers in air-conditioned comfort. Top speed is 70 kmph, and maximum gradeability is 17 percent.

Vestibule bus

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The Tata Marcopolo urban 9/18 FE vestibule bus measures 18 m in length. It can carry 120 (including 50 seated) passengers, which is almost equivalent of two 12 m buses. Powering this bus is a Cummins 6.7-litre, 280 hp engine located at the front. Aimed at moving more people in less space (in a typical urban landscape), the vestibule bus has a compact turn circle and can be manoeuvred with ease. The turning radius of this bus is claimed to be no different than a regular bus. What makes the vestibule bus significant is the order Tata Motors bagged recently to supply 30 vestibule buses for the BRT corridor at Dharwad-Hubli. Each bus is said to cost Rs.1.6 crore, and will ply on a 22.2 km-long corridor.

Mini people movers

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Standing out of the crowd of buses, the electric Super Ace, Magic and Magic Iris made for a portfolio of mini people movers that Tata Motors is working on. Albeit in an electric form, they are looked upon to play the role of a feeder vehicle and last mile transporter. Already a word in last mile connectivity, the electric forms of Super Ace, Magic and Magic Iris could well set a precedent in last mile connectivity for others to follow. Powering the Super Ace electric is a permanent magnet AC motor. Electricity is fed by a 20.7 kWh lithium-ion battery. The top speed of the CV is 80 kmph. The travel range is in the region of 100 kmph, and the rated payload is 600 kg against a GVW of 1750 kg. Magic electric contains 12.6 volt, 180 Ah batteries. Equipped with regenerative braking tech, the vehicle has a power rating of 15kW. It can reach a top speed of 40 kmph, and cover a distance of 50 km on a single charge. Battery takes eight to 12 hours to charge. The Magic Iris is powered by lithium-ion battery modules of 48 volt and 110 Ah capacity. Capable of ferrying four passengers, the traction motor of the Magic Iris is rated at 9 kW. Peak torque is 42 Nm. Capable of travelling 100 km on a single charge, the two battery modules of Magic Iris take eight hours to charge fully. The vehicle can be had with a 120 watt solar panel on the roof for supplementary charging, making it a first of its kind in its segment.

LNG bus

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It was late last year that Tata Motors showcased a LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) powered city bus based on its LPO1613 platform at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It did so in association with Petronet LNG Limited (PLL) and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. Displayed here, the bus, painted in an attractive shade of orange, was powered by a 5.7-litre BSIV engine that produces 130 hp of peak power at 2500 rpm and a peak torque of 405 Nm at 1250-1500 rpm. The LPO1613 chassis is built at the Lucknow plant, and the body is built at Marcopolo’s Dharwad plant. Dr. A K Jindal, Head – Engineering Research Centre, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, expressed that Kerala is keen to place an order for 10,000 buses, with 10 per cent of them, LNG powered. He added, “The supply constraints posed by CNG infrastructure makes LNG a logical extension. To increase the range of a CNG powered bus (from 300 km), more storage cylinders will be needed. This will adversely affect the power to weight ratio, payload capacity and seating capacity. LNG has a two-and-a-half times more per litre capacity than diesel. The range therefore will be between 600 to 700 km.” RT Wasan, Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Tata Motors, mentioned that cities are growing, leading to traffic congestion, in-turn bringing out a need to design different modes of public transportation. “The Urbanisation in India is skewed as compared to countries like China,” he added.

Buses for a greener tomorrow

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As countries the world over seek greener ways of move people, putting impetus on alternate mediums of propulsion, it did not come as a surprise when Dr. Jindal stated that, there is a need to adopt a viable combination of fuel and vehicle technology. Stressing upon rapid urbanisation, Wasan said that there was a need to look at the mode of transport that would best suit the needs. This would call for lower investment in infrastructure, and relate to issues like direct health-cost of urban pollution, transport mortality, air quality, climate change and depleting natural resources, he added. With the rate of electric and hybrid technology penetration to be dictated by the pace of technological breakthrough and federal policies, it is essential to take into account a study conducted by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), which projected average speeds across cities are falling. Said Wasan, “The government’s approach to building more roads looks contradictory to the need for facilitating an eco-system where sustained mobility coexists.” Wasan cited the example of Jakarta, the most populous city of Indonesia. He explained, “Families traveling in private vehicles are charged a levy for using the infrastructure. In such an instance, public transport provides the answers.” Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director – Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, expressed that December sales figures are a testimony to buses doing well. “We are doing well in buses,” he added. Pointing at State Transport Undertakings (STUs), Pisharody stated, “Buying is coming back and a lot of tenders are being floated as we speak. It is after a long time that buses have come into a space they deserve. The Indian economy does not support them.” Announced Butschek that the company’s aspiration is to be among the top three global CV players by FY2018-19. “The objective is to transform the Indian commercial vehicle landscape, and to offer the customers cutting edge auto technologies, packaged for superior performance and low lifecycle costs,” added Butschek.

Gazing into the future

Taking a holistic view, and as far as the application of technology is concerned, Dr. Jindal said that the reduction in battery costs is a positive sign. “Electrification does make an ideal choice for long haul or for heavy-duty application. The technology model is simply unsustainable, and would eat into the vehicle payload,” he mentioned. Electromobility, according to Dr. Jindal is suitable for vehicles that travel over shorter distances. Hybridisation, he added, is suitable for a medium-duty vehicle that travels over a medium distance. While the lifecycle cost is lowest in hybrid and electric vehicles, the major challenge for operators is the acquisition cost. It is two-to-three times higher than conventionally powered vehicles. A ray of hope according to Dr. Jindal, is if the government intervenes to make it feasible for new technology to embed itself sooner than later. Driving a frugal strategy, technology development at Tata Motors spans across diverse areas like vehicle control strategy, electric and hybrid vehicle battery development, traction system development, high voltage components and safety, Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH), durability testing, light weighting, and customer trials. A part of the strategy is also to build key components in-house. Fast charging batteries are being worked upon by using Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) technology. According to Dr. Jindal, the advantages of LTO are significant. This battery technology is considered to be a game changer. Working on a future ready product pipeline, Tata Motors, said Dr. Jindal, has already exceeded the 20 per cent fuel reduction target set by the FAME scheme of the Government of India towards encouraging electric vehicles. “ The need of the hour is to achieve a sustainable hub and spoke public transportation model for new technology mediums to find a place and grow,” signed off Dr. Jindal.

The art of designing

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In what could be a rare occasion, Tata Motors provided an opportunity to peep into its design studio at Pune. It is the nerve centre, which brings a CV to life. A visual rendering undergoes several reiterations in a bid to refine the final layout of the vehicle before going into production. The entire process of the development of Starbus Hybrid was shown at the studio in steps that revealed the journey from the drawing board to a production model. Step one showed how the primary sketch of the bus was turned into a more definitive form. In consultation with different verticals at the OEM, it was further refined. The bis turned two dimensional. The next step saw the two dimensional form being shared with the three dimensional modelers to achieve a full scale three dimension model. This process, includes consulting the engineering team to work on areas like manufacturing, production and other. It is at this step that the creative team and the technical team come together. The rendered form begins acquiring details. Step three involves building a dummy model, which is handed over to the clay modelers. The clay modelers refine the surface. Stage four involves the task of transforming the clay model into data using a laser beam and camera based equipment. Refined surfaces are accurately captured. Controlling the hardware is Pollyworks’ software. Scans are transferred to a Complex Adaptive System (CAS) modeller. It is then sent to a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine to replicate the image of the model. The design process further evolves with the help of a Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). CAD is three-dimensional in a bid to bring more details on to the ideated sketch. Designers are encouraged to carry out an in-depth field research on public transportation in the country before they ideate a new concept. Designers also ensure that the new elements merge seamlessly with the standard design elements. This ensures that the result is in sync with the brand identity.

Volvo’s hybrid drive


Volvo Buses India is offering the 8400 low-floor hybrid city bus to help cities fight the menace of pollution.

Story by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

It is drizzling for the last one hour. Any chance of it stopping looks slim. The Vardah cyclone that devastated Chennai is showing its after effect at Bangalore. The drive to Hosakote on the outskirts of Bangalore is uneventful with tiny droplets colliding against the car windows. As the wipers work to keep the unseasonal rain from obscuring the vision of the driver, an impression is had that urbanisation is fast overtaking any attempts by the local inhabitants to carry out farming. The lure of big money from the sale of fertile parcels of land is too precious to be ignored. Described as the IT capital of India, Bangalore is perhaps the best example of how urbanisation is spreading its tentacles in every direction, bringing with it the need for efficient modes of transport. One of the modern, if not the most efficient means of transport at Bangalore are the Volvo buses. They are found the moment one steps out of the Kempegowda International Airport. The plant that manufactures these buses is where I am going. I will be spending time with the new hybrid city bus the Swedish bus major has launched. Two 12 m hybrid low-floor city buses have already been supplied to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport against an order of five. The third bus will soon leave Hosakote for Navi Mumbai. It is currently undergoing trials and validation. Reflecting upon Volvo’s experience in producing hybrid and electrical buses (the first hybrid bus Volvo produce is claimed to be the 2008 B5LH low-floor city bus), the low-floor hybrid city bus that I will spend time with, is a diesel-electric. It adds to the count of 6000 hybrid and electric buses Volvo has produced till date. A parallel hybrid, the bus, in terms of appearance, looks no different than the diesel powered 8400 12 m long, low-floor city bus. The Volvo 8400 diesel bus is found in over 30 cities in India.

Smart proposition

Smart the 8400 low-floor diesel city bus looks. The 8400 hybrid bus mirrors the 8400 diesel bus in appearance. The body structure is 100 per cent local, and flaunts good fit and finish levels. The use of materials, paint, and build standards hint at world-class construction. They also hint at the need the company felt in investing in a captive body building plant at Hosakote in 2008.

Based on the Volvo B5RLE platform, the 8400 hybrid city bus adds to the premise, which VRV Sriprasad, Managing Director, Volvo Buses India, describes as instrumental in persuading people to leave their vehicles behind and take to public transport. The 8400 hybrid bus seats 32 people apart from the driver. Its low-floor height makes it easier to enter and exit. There are two pneumatically operated doors on the left side of the vehicle for the purpose. With 2×2 seating arrangement, the hybrid bus, says Sriprasad, has much of its content coming from Sweden as far as the chassis is concerned. “Since the 8400 qualifies as a strong hybrid, the customer,” adds Sriprasad, “is entitled to a subsidy of Rs.61 lakhs for the bus that costs Rs.2.3 crore.”

Building on the experience of deploying hybrid buses in Australia and Singapore, Volvo in India, launched the 8400 hybrid city bus after the central government formally announced the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme in April 2015. The 8400 hybrid bus, it is clear, is not, about numbers. It is about providing a sustainable solution to cities battling with the issue of pollution. Claim Volvo sources, that the 8400 hybrid bus requires no supporting infrastructure. The parallel hybrid nature of the bus, they add, makes for a smart proposition. In the case of an electrical failure, the bus can still run, albeit on the diesel engine.

Smart tech

At the core of the 8400 hybrid bus is a 215 hp 5-litre Volvo D5 four-cylinder diesel engine (installed longitudinally at the rear), and a 160 hp electric motor. The engine and the motor produce a peak torque of 800 Nm each. The electric motor serves both, as a propulsion motor and as a generator. When the brakes are applied, their retardation effect is harnessed to recharge the batteries. This energy would have been wasted otherwise in the form of heat. Repeated braking, which is typical of a city-bus operation as it stops and starts, proves to be of operational benefit thus. Due to its considerable torque, the compact electric motor offers good performance at low speeds. It is at low speeds, and when the bus moves away from stand still, that the diesel engine is most taxed. It is then that it pollutes the most. Supplementing the diesel engine’s superior properties at higher speeds by producing maximum torque right from the start, the electric motor provides excellent starting characteristics and driveability. Electric power is also used when the vehicle is standing still. When the bus stops to pick up commuters or at the traffic light, the diesel engine switches off automatically. The bus, as a result, does not produce exhaust gases, and makes for a silent operation.

The motor of the 8400 hybrid bus is actually an integrated starter alternator motor (permanent magnet motor that also works as a generator and diesel engine starter motor) that runs on alternating current. The clutch and the 12-speed automatic transmission are an integral part of the driveline. The electric (electronic) unit is said to feature an energy converter for direct or alternating current and the batteries. The brain of the hybrid system is an electronic control module, which regulates the engagement and disengagement of electric and diesel power as per the need. The module also influences gear changes and battery recharging. On the 8400 hybrid bus, the power steering pump, air compressor and cooling fan are powered by separate electric motors. Each electric motor operates only when it needs to. This saves energy.

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Behind the wheel

Like the diesel powered 8400 city bus, the driving position of the 8400 hybrid bus is low, and with a good view of what lies ahead. The driver cockpit is simple and functional. It is ergonomically well sorted, and has the instrument console at the centre. The console is made up of a large speedometer and tachometer dials. To the right are the air brake pressure dials. The other dials include the turbo boost pressure gauge, temperature gauge, fuel gauge and an engine oil pressure gauge. A portion of the console is occupied by an LCD readout. To the right, and adjoining the console is the parking brake switch. To the left is the AC control. Below is what could be described as a ‘pad’. It contains the transmission buttons. There are three of them. One is the ‘Drive’ button. The other two are the ‘Neutral’ and ‘Reverse’ buttons. Next to the transmission buttons is a round exterior light switch. A round blue lamp at the end of the pad indicates that this bus is hybrid by nature. It has ‘HYB’ written on it.


Turn the key, and the diesel engine wakes up to a distant growl. The management system gets down to conducting various checks. Once it is done, the diesel engine shuts down. Silence prevails. The only noise is the whine of a motor. It is indicative of an utility running. With the parking brake disengaged, all that is needed is to press the accelerator. The bus moves away, with the only indication, the rising speedo needle. It is exactly at 24 kmph that the diesel engine cuts in (the next time it cut in at 20 kmph). The tell tale indicators are a distant whine of the engine and the rising tacho needle. The motor propels the bus, and highly capably. It does so at a time when the diesel engine could be most relied upon in a diesel bus.

Speeds in the region of 50 kmph are easily achieved. The bus exhibiting good stability and a pliant ride in the process. While the air suspension is made up of sturdy air bellows, the steering provides good feedback. The auto transmission shifts cogs smoothly. No jerks are noticed as the 12-speed auto-box does its duty. The suspended driver’s seat and a fully adjustable steering position make for a comfortable driving position. The large mirrors offer a good view of what is around, and at the rear. Noise levels inside the cabin, even with the diesel engine running are low. When it is time to slow down and stop, the brakes provide a strong bite. The feel is linear and progressive. The electronically controlled disc brakes of the bus are ABS equipped. The moment the bus halts, the diesel engine goes to sleep. The muted whine of the utility motor is audible once again.

Smart, comfortable and eco-friendly

Smart the 8400 hybrid low-floor city bus is. It is modern and comfortable. It is efficient and environment friendly. Volvo sources claim that the 8400 hybrid bus offers fuel savings of up to 30 per cent higher than a diesel bus. Speeds of up to 24 kmph are attained without the diesel engine waking up. The top speed of the bus, limited to 80 kmph, presents the 8400 hybrid low-floor city bus with a good opportunity to deliver an efficient and comfortable ride. Claim Volvo sources, that the advantage a parallel hybrid bus offers over a series hybrid bus is the use of battery pack. The battery pack is not subjected to heavy use, and lasts long, they add. They also draw attention to the bus’ ability to run on diesel in case the electric (electronic) section develops a fault. It has been five months that the two hybrid buses at Navi Mumbai have been operating. The learnings will take some time coming. The buses will have to clock many more kilometers. With lower exhaust emissions during travel and zero emission when stationary, the 8400 hybrid bus makes an interesting reflection of how technology in buses is progressing.

It is afternoon by the time I depart from Hosakote. The rains have stopped. The weather has turned pleasant. The sun is out. It feels fresh. Quite unlike Mumbai where smog is often mistaken for fog, and where the room for a bus like this is only growing.


Mahindra Blazo: Smart trucking


With the Blazo range, Mahindra Trucks and Buses Limited, is aiming at addressing varying requirements of transporters in a bid to double the market share in the next two and a half years. Story and photographs:

Bhushan Mhapralkar

Mahindra unveiled the Blazo truck at Auto Expo 2016. The move signalled a significant change at Mahindra Trucks and Buses Limited, a business vertical of USD 17.8 billion Mahindra Group. Offering multi-mode technology, the Blazo pointed at digitisation. It also hinted at a change in the company’s strategy to structure its product range. Unlike the Torro, Traco and Truxo, the Blazo is actually a range of medium and heavy trucks. They do not succeed the Torro, Traco, or the Truxo, and instead build upon the company’s experience of building trucks since 2005. Reflecting upon the future, the Blazo range comprises of a 25-tonne cargo carrier and tipper, a 31-tonne cargo carrier and 8×4 tipper, a 35-tonne car carrier and tanker, a 37-tonne cargo carrier and cowl chassis, a 40-tonne tractor-trailer and tip-trailer, and a 49-tonne 6×4 tractor-trailer.

Smart looks, smart tech

In terms of appearance, the Blazo does not mark a drastic change. It shares the line at the Chakan plant with the Torro, Traco and Truxo. It also shares a good deal of components with them. Subtle visible changes are what sets the Blazo apart. The most prominent are the body coloured head lamp surrounds. The grille gets an amount of chrome. The doors flaunt ‘Fuelsmart’ stickers, which hint at the technology at the heart of the truck. Announces Nalin Mehta, Managing Director & CEO, Mahindra Trucks and Buses Limited, “We have worked on the look of the truck. We have worked on the air flow.” He does not mention about the ‘Fuelsmart’ technology as yet. It is for the latter. Open the door, and the modern interior of the four-post suspended cabin presents itself. There’s good deal of plastics. This however is not were an excercise to light weight the truck lies. It is in the use of stronger and lighter grade steel for the manufacture of some of the crucial components according to Mahindra sources. The dashboard may look familiar but carries significant changes.

Consider the Blazo 37 for example. Those familiar with the interior of the Truxo 37 will find the Blazo familiar. The dashboard may look similar, There is a significant difference. The instrument panel is new and car-like. A wide array of warning lamps give the impression of a christmas tree lighting up as they appear. They disappear as the engine wakes up. The analogue brake air pressure gauges have gone digital. They are now part of the LCD readout (DIS) at the centre of the instrument panel. States Mehta, “The Blazo not only looks different, but also behaves differently.” “We took much effort to build the Digital Information System (DIS). The fuel efficiency indication on the DIS is plus or minus two per cent,” he adds. To the left of the instrument console are an array of switches in what looks like a switch bank. The parking brake lever is also at this location. What looked a bit bland on the Truxo 37 looks smart on the Blazo 37. The three multi-mode switches in the switch bank draw attention. They are the highlight of this truck. The three ‘mode’ switches are also an indication of the efforts that have gone into the development of the Blazo. Explains Mehta, “The Blazo stands for multi-mode.” “We decided to address different preferences in one product line. We created drive cycles, which were appropriate to various applications. The challenge was to switch from one operating cycle to another without causing trouble. The need was to be able to change cycles on the fly. The driver should be able to engage ‘Turbo’ mode when he encounters a gradient. He should be able to engage the ‘Light’ mode when he is running empty,” he explains. The ‘Fuelsmart’ technology, it is clear at once, is about fuel efficiency and performance.

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Addressing differing needs

Work on the Blazo started 15 to 17 months before it was unveiled at Auto Expo 2016. Engineers fitted the electronically governed 7.2- litre engine with multi-mode on trucks of some customers. This would provide an opportunity to optimise the engine. “It took us one and a half year to optimise the engine. We tested the engine by installing it on some of our customer trucks. The outside world did not know that this was a multi-mode truck. Once we were confident we decided to launch the product,” reveals Mehta. Forming the basis of the Blazo range, the electronically governed, BSIV ready 7.2-litre common-rail turbo diesel engine traces its origin to an electronically governed engine the company was offering on a 40-tonne tractor (prime mover) earlier. The company, mentions Mehta, saw a clear indication that different applications required different fuelling cycles. “The move to BSIV would entail the application of common-rail technology. Customer demand was to have flexibility,” he states.

To address the differing needs of customers, the company studied in detail their operating patterns. It was found out that they would travel without load. Even some very good transporters would run 20 per cent of the operation without load. “Applications like tankers often return empty. There are different road conditions and load conditions. Car carriers are about volumes. There are those that load more; the ODC requirement for example. The challenge was to address different needs in one product line. The creation of drive cycles, which were appropriate to various applications, would be the best way to do it,” expresses Mehta. The electronically governed 7.2-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine produces between 220 hp and 274 hp on the Blazo (range). The peak torque it produces is 800 Nm and 960 Nm respectively. The transmission offered are six-speed and nine-speed units. The 40-tonne and 49-tonne tractor for example, are equipped with an Eaton nine-speed (with crawler gear) and ZF nine-speed (with crawler gear) gearbox respectively.

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Better payload capacity

Apart from light weighting to improve payload capacity, the rear axle ratio of Blazo was optimised according to Mehta. “We specifically looked at two or three applications. We created a model for concrete mixer and a tipper. We reduced the wheelbase of our tractor to help our customers meet the new regulations for car carriers,” he adds. Since January 2016, over 1500 Blazos have been sold, claimed a Mahindra source. Helping the company to carve out a greater pie of the market, which is currently 3.5 per cent, the Blazo saw the involvement of Bosch. Bosch did an excellent job of developing different drive modes according to Mehta, based on the road-load data Mahindra had collected. “Bosch helped us to arrive at the three drive cycles as per our needs,” Mehta states. He adds, “Mahindra engineers drove the truck for over two-lakh kilometers to achieve the right calibration.” Customer co-operation meant a few thousand trucks were running with the technology even before the Blazo was formally launched.

Behind the wheel

The three-way adjustable, suspended driver seat offers a commanding driving position. I am at the helm of the Blazo 37. The view ahead through the large windshield is uninterrupted. As the engine comes to life, the first impression is that of refinement. Over the Truxo 37 that I briefly drove last year, the Blazo 37 feels refined. The electronically governed engine is clearly less noisy and restless. “The electronic engine has translated into less vibrations,” says Mehta. “We carried out ‘running’ improvements in the wiring harness, the propeller shaft, the chassis, the suspension, etc.,” he adds. Get going, and the Blazo feels quite responsive. It feels eager. The ‘turbo’ mode is on. Producing a flat peak of 800 Nm between 1100 and 1700 rpm, the Blazo 37 feels tractable. The move to ‘heavy’ mode brings about a change in the behaviour. The truck feels a shade less eager, and as tractable. Comfortable and refined to drive, in the ‘light’ mode, the Blazo feels a little less responsive. The engine feels like it is running lean. The fact is, it is burning less fuel, and conserving power by about 40 per cent of the 100 per cent power available in the ‘turbo’ mode. The ‘light’ mode is engineered for use when running empty. It provides the operator an opportunity to save fuel. A 10×4 rigid truck with a rear tag axle, the Blazo 37 is the most popular among the trucks Mahindra sells in the M&HCV category. Of the trucks that Mahindra Trucks and Buses sells, the Blazo, in a span of an year, has come to account for 30 per cent of the CV sales according to Mehta. The good part is, the Blazo makes clever use of electronics to address the different needs of different operators. This way, it is helping the operators to earn more. Comfortable, modern, and easy to maneouvre, the Blazo 37 that I drove, reflected upon the work that has gone into developing it; into the development of the Blazo range. The Blazo makes a promising proposition for a transporter for certain, and in an environment that is becoming complex and challenging.

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Blazo as a package

As a package the Blazo brings with it a driver trainer. The aim, states Mehta, is to create drivers out of those who have been driving by improving their skill sets. “Driver training about Blazo is to use the multi-mode. We are ensuring that customer drivers are trained. We sit with the driver and show him which mode to use when,” mentions Mehta. The electronic nature of Blazo makes it future ready. It is truck that can address the complex needs of the market. The Torro, Traco and Truxo will fall behind when the BSIV emission norms are implemented in April. The BSIV emission compliant Blazo will become the mainstay. Costing about a lakh and a half rupees more than an equivalant Torro, Traco or Truxo truck according to Mehta, the Blazo has a lot going for it. By shelling out 10 per cent more the transporter gets a truck that is modern, efficient and drivable. The digital nature of the Blazo gives it the ability to offer a lower TCO.

Indian CV industry in 2017


The year 2017 is set to be yet another challenging year for the Indian commercial vehicle industry.

Story by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

The month of October 2016 was a good month for the Indian CV industry. M&HCV sales grew 16.92 per cent with the sale of 25,934 M&HCVs as compared to 22,181 units sold in the corresponding month last year. LCVs too posted good growth with the sale of 39,635 units, up 8.84 per cent, against the sale of 36,415 units in October 2015. Total CV sales were 65,569 units, up 11.9 per cent, against the sale of 58,596 units in the corresponding month last year. This was despite the industrial production in India indicating a decline of 1.9 per cent over October 2015. With pan-India implementation of BSIV emission norms and GST scheduled for April 2017, pre-buying expectation is being expressed by many industry leaders. This would add to the replacement demand, claimed an industry expert. The announcement by prime minister Narenda Modi on the evening of November 08, 2016, to withdraw Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes from circulation changed the situation overnight. The move, termed as demonetisation, saw people queuing in front of banks and ATMs to deposit old notes and withdraw whatever new notes they could lay their hands on.

Difficult times

The ATM withdrawal limit, capped at Rs.2000 per day, and the withdrawal limit at the bank capped at Rs.24000 per week, added to the operational challenges of transporters. Even after 50 days, the situation does not seem to have changed much. For the CV industry, and transporters in particular, operational difficulties continue. Improvement in cash flow has helped, but the fall in fleet utilisation levels is a matter of concern. It would be appropriate to consider the announcement by Japanese brokerage firm Nomura at this moment. It has announced that proprietry indices have dipped to the lowest levels since 1996 with rural consumption showing the maximum impact. The full grown impact of what is termed as demonetisation is expected to emerge this month. The Nomura Composite Lending Index (CLI) for India for early 2017 has slumped to the lowest levels, and is consistent with GDP growth of below six per cent.

Cool October, and a hot November

Against the backdrop of peak fleet utilisation levels in September and October 2016, a sudden drop was observed in November 2016. The situation in December was more or less the same. Claimed an industry expert, that the situation is expected to continue to be the same for the current as well as the next quarter. Said SP Singh, Convenor, IFTRT, “The drop in fleet utilisation has been sharp. The issue is the steep fall in cargo despatch post demonetisation as businesses and traders are not procuring goods due to unsold inventories.” Unlike Septmebr 2016 and October 2016, the situation post demonetisation, it is clear, is not upbeat. Any chance of fleet utilisation going up drastically is being looked upon for the later half of the next fiscal. Any expectation of pre-buying in the wake of pan-India implementation of BSIV emission norms from April 2017 may not hold enough strength anymore. Nalin Mehta, Managing Director & CEO, Mahindra Trucks and Buses Limited, expects pre-buying. “There is a lot of time left. Typically pre-buying would happen only in March 2017; at the last minute,” he added. Describing transporters as good managers who got around to managing the cash crunch, Mehta averred, “A CV buyer was more likely to postpone his purchase. He would rather concentrate on purchasing only what is essential.”

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Apart from pan-India BSIV emission norms implementation in April 2017, GST is also expected to be implemented in early FY2017-18. Fuel prices in the International markets are showing a tendency to rise. The value of Indian Rupee may fall in the short to medium term. The US Fed rates are also showing an inclination to rise. This is certain to reflect on the Indian economy, of which the transport industry is a part. The transport industry accounts for an estimated 5.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. If good sales growth of October 2016 indicated that the industry sentiment was changing for the better, the sales numbers in November 2016 seem to paint a different picture altogether.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), in its report for November 2016, announced that 1,563,665 automobiles were sold in the country, down (-) 5.48 per cent, as compared to 1,654,407 vehicles sold in the corresponding month last year. In November 2016, 45,773 commercial vehicles were sold, down (-) 11.58 per cent, as against 51,766 CVs sold during the same period last year. M&HCV sales were 17,499 per cent in November 2016, down (-) 13.13 per cent, as against the sale of 20,144 units in November 2015. In November 2016, 28,274 LCVs were sold, down (-) 10.59 per cent, when compared to 31,622 units sold in November 2015. Optimistic, Mehta is confident of demonetisation being a temporary phase. Opined Anuj Kathuria, President – Global Trucks, Ashok Leyland Ltd., “The (market) environment is so volatile that saying anything does not mean much because we don’t know which way the market is going to swing.” “The general expectation,” he mentioned, “is that there will be a pre-buying demand. It may get dampened by demonetisation however.” The effect of demonetisation on the CV industry in 2017 will be tough to determine, an industry expert claimed. He claimed further that growth will shift further. In case it does, the CV industry will have to wait longer to reach peak levels once again.

The slowdown effect

Hopes about pre-buying continue. In an uncertain environment however, claimed an industry source, it will be the performance of the manufacturing and agricultural sectors that will reflect on the performance of the transport industry. Disruption in supply chain is a matter of concern for the industry already. Stated an industry source, that the Indian (Purchase Manager Indiex) PMI for November 2016 decreased to 52.30 in November over 54.40 in October 2016. Queues in front of banks and ATMs continued in December 2016. Demonetisation, claimed an industry source on the condition of anonymity, has shaken the confidence of consumers. They are no longer willing to spend as much. The situation in rural India is bad, he added.

In an interview, Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, is known to have said that the number of inquiries to buy new trucks have almost disappeared. He is also known to have expressed that truckers will eventually get used to cashless ways. Demonetisation, it is clear, has affected the cyclicity of the CV market. Trucks under contract are operating but the same is not the case with those who operate on load-availability basis. This has had a clear effect on the need to buy a new truck. In the case of buses, the urgency to buy a new bus is also expected to take a beating. The amount of people movement has gone down, claimed an industry expert.


Uncertain times

Growing on a small base (the bus segment accounts for 20 per cent of the Indian CV industry), the bus segment has seen good orders from government transport bodies in recent times. In the case of private players, the going’s choppy. Said K T Rajshekhara, CEO, S.R.S. Travels, “Our flow chart is getting curtailed as people are curtailing travel due to the money crunch.” Pisharody’s comment that there is a lot of uncertainty because the pipeline is not moving at all assumes importance at this juncture. Claimed an industry source that big orders will take time to fulfill. The segment base may not expand drastically therefore. Growth, sources said, could emerge only in the second half of next fiscal. The Union Budget, scheduled for February 01, 2017, is expected to provide some relief. How much of that will touch the CV industry will need to be seen. Any expectation of the CV industry reaching peak levels of FY2011-12, it looks like, will now take longer. Pisharody is known to have said that he expects the CV market to regain its peak in FY2018-19.


Optmistic ever

Optimism is keeping the CV industry going. Said Mehta, “If the country will grow, the CV industry will grow. If you produce, you have to transport. Policies in this have a limited role to play. The need is to transport.” “Road transport will continue to play a role in the growth of the country. If one believes in the India story, he or she has to believe in the CV story. GST may change the structure of transportation, but it will not hamper the growth of the CV industry. India is a growing economy, and the CV industry will have a good future,” he mentioned. Transporters may defer their decision to purchase CVs, they will however come back, claimed an industry source, when they see even a slight improvement in the economic situation. In FY2015-16, the CV industry grew by 12 per cent. M&HCV segment grew double digit at 30 per cent. LCV segment was almost flat, and registered a growth of 0.30 per cent. The amount of growth the CV industry records in FY2016-17 will set the tone for the future. In its latest report on ‘Mega trends shaping the Indian commercial vehicle market’, Ernst & Young said that the Indian commercial vehicle market will double to 1.6 million units in the five years starting FY2016-17. This will be in-line with the increase in infrastructure spend, rapid urbanisation and entry of major multinational players in the country. Pisharody is known to have expressed, that in terms of quarterly peaks, one should start seeing it from the second half of the next year. The benefits will start coming in the second half of FY2017-18 and the real growth and good impact will come in FY2018-19. The reason, according to him, is the settling down of the dust kicked up by BSIV emission norms. The effect of what is termed as demonetisation is certain to spring up new challenges. The situation will become clear as the year progresses. Transporters would also get to know as the year progresses. As new norms take shape, transporters would need to learn to handle their CVs; to address their servicing needs, and more.