Apollo LogiSolutions for one stop solution

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Apollo LogiSolutions is keen to play a role of one stop solution in logistics.

Story by: Anirudh Raheja

Logistical needs in India are on the rise. The proliferation of ecommerce is one of the factors among many others that is providing much thrust. Logistics however has a long way to go in India. In a country like India, the linking of logistics industry’s growth with infrastructure should not come as a surprise. The two complement each other like no other. With much scope for road conditions in the country to improve, it is only logical for logistics solution providers to look at addressing the often conflicting needs of their customers, in doing so lies their ability to create a niche for themselves. Keen to play the role of one stop solution, and serve customised solutions, Apollo LogiSolutions (ALS) is bullish about growth. Avers PSS Prasad, President, ALS, that his company is not a mere transporter. “We are into transportation in a very selective way for end-to-end solutions,” he adds. Stressing upon providing CFS, freight forwarding and custom brokerage services, the company, according to Prasad, is looking at creating a niche for itself through a gamut of services that support quicker and healthier growth. With analysts expecting third party logistics to grow by over 20 per cent till 2018, Prasad is right about creating a niche. He comments, “There is good potential in the logistics market, which remains to a good extent unorganised. There’s much opportunity waiting to be tapped.”

End to end solutions

ALS was established in 2009 at Gurgaon, and is a subsidiary of the Raaja Kanwar-led Apollo International Ltd. In a short span of time, the company spread its wings far and wide. Taking on the challenge to provide end-to-end logistics services on the back of its multi-modal capabilities, ALS operates through three verticals. Offering services like CFS, ICD, custom brokerage, freight forwarding, and contract logistics to various companies from diversified sectors under its 3PL business structure, the company is planning to increase its fleet size to 250 trucks in the next six months. Mentions Prasad, “We have patented truck bodies for specialised movement of Hero two wheelers. As of current, 220 trucks have been entrusted with the task.” Keen to move up to 250 trucks in six months by increasing the container capacity by 20 per cent against the standard containers used by others in the industry, without flouting the road safety norms, ALS, by early next year, is looking at growing its fleet to 300 numbers already. “Whereever there is a dry port, we believe in buying the trailers. Depending upon the location we also work with third party operators as well to boost the logistics business pan-India,” explains Prasad.

For regional support, ALS works with two operators. Centrally, up to four operators stay committed to ALS operations informs Prasad. Also undertaking reverse logistics assignments for companies like Samsung, ITC, and Asian Paints, the company, as a 3PL player, offers warehousing services. “Our warehousing services include various services like kitting, labeling, and even specialised operations like fitting a tyre on to the rim of a two wheeler,” avers Prasad. To allow its customers to work on lean inventories, ALS picks up rims from the factory in China and tyres from Vietnam for the Hero Group. After procuring them, ALS gets them custom cleared in India. The two are assembled at the ALS warehouse before being supplied to the Hero factory. ALS, says Prasad, has 50 warehouses the world over. Of these, 35 warehouses are in India. Of the opinion that it is important to expand strategically, Prasad draws attention to ALS’ joint venture with a German logistics player Fiege.

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ALS-Fiege JV

The ALS-Fiege JV was established in 2012. The resultant company, Apollo Fiege Integrated Logistics, focuses on generic business of freight forwarding through air and ocean along with secured short-term storage for valuables in transit, and customs brokerage where the company will assist customers to interface with the customs department during shipment imports or exports as per various classifications, contract logistics and transportation services. Touching upon Fiege bringing with it 140 years of industry experience, Prasad avers that Apollo Fiege Integrated service platform is outfitted with operational expertise and solution capabilities across the entire logistics spectrum catering to freight forwarding, customs clearance, projects and other 3PL logistics requirements through its vast global network. “Enabling us to access the latest technology in logistics, the participation of Fiege also brings with it the advantage of having a presence in 70 countries, and across 200 locations,” says Prasad. Under its asset heavy business, the company has got four dry ports out out of which the one in Panvel is directly owned by the flagship company. For strengthening its presence in Sourthern India, ALS acquired Chennai based logistics company, Kailash Shipping Services, in 2013. ALS has also strengthened its capabilities in handling export-import containers, refrigerated cargo and warehousing. States Prasad, “We also have two dry ports in Tuticorin and Katupalli respectively.” “We are awaiting approvals to commence operations,” he adds. For 3PL logistics and freight forwarding services, ALS acquired a controlling stake in a firm called Freight Reach with presence in the Middle East and Africa. “With most of the automobile manufacturers including Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland exporting to Africa, it made sense to expand our reach,” expresses Prasad.

Staying ahead

Applying good deal of emphasis on technology to stay ahead, ALS, according to Prasad, is driving its end-to-end logistics solution business with the help of its joint venture with Lycos. As a technology company, Lycos allows ALS to help its clients with end-to-end logistics solutions in the area of ecommerce especially. Opines Prasad, that in the logistics business, it is more or less similar as far as operations are concerned. What makes a difference is technology. With Lycos on board, ALS is helping global brands to deploy e-commerce platforms that target Indian customers. ALS clients include 612 league and Kyo creations. “Anybody who wants to get on the ecommerce bandwagon, we can hook its operation in a day’s time. This capability of our will indirectly help us with our logistics side of the business. It is no surprise that we would like to be their logistics partner as well,” stated Prasad. For increasing reach in dry port services, ALS acquired Wifin Technologies in 2016. The company has also partnered with CargoWise for freight forwarding. This, says Prasad, is allowing us to develop mobile apps like Mobizee, Billijee, and Purplepatch for ecommerce logistics.

For an improved ecosystem

With increasing radialisation and better roads, Prasad feels that the hub and spoke model in India will gain momentum soon. As the length of the vehicle is increasing, improvement in highways in many parts of India has also reduced time in transit and costs for the cargo movement, he points out. This Prasad opines will get a boost once GST gets fully implemented which may lead to 30-40 per cent fall in frieght times and up to 30 per cent reduction in logistics costs. “Transportation under GST will make more sense as monitoring of the truck at every stage will be much easier. It will also reduce inventories to large extent which will benefit the economy in the long run,” said Prasad. He feels substantial results might not arrive soon as there might be a dip, but things will gradually improve. “It may not affect the cost which we have to see in the long run. But if you are using a good infrastructure you have to pay for it,” stressed Prasad.

Startups and Automation

Highlighting transparency and lack of will as a serious issue in logistics, Prasad points out that real time access to information on goods movement aids building of trust between the company and the clients. “A large part of cargo is still transported by road as it happens to be cheaper than railways. Any reduction in manpower dependence is beneficial,” he states. Mentioning that CFS needs 20 approvals, Prasad opines that there is a need for a single window clearance system. Prasad draws attention to the fact that the logistics industry has its aspects coming under ministries. This, he avers, leads to inefficiencies. With startups in logistics sector coming up and vanishing like wild mushrooms, Prasad is of the opinion that large flow of funds is spoiling startups, and calls for building up of a sustainable business model. Terming the constant change in taxation structure as detrimental to the growth of the logistics industry, Prasad calls for better channeling of forex reserves for faster development

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Moving forward

ALS recorded a revenue of Rs.800 crore in FY2016-17. By 2020, the company aims to quadruple it. This, it plans to achieve through organic and inorganic growth. Setting aside Rs.200 crore for acquisitions, the company, according to Prasad, has been growing at a CAGR of 50 per cent for the last few years. With thrust to continue on exim services and freight forwarding, the company is keen to enter the area of cold chain. Avers Prasad, “Cold chain is one area that we are thinking of.” “Without full fledged transport support it is not going to be helpful though,” he adds. Having a cold storage setup at Panvel for select goods that require temperature controlled containers, the company, concludes Prasad, will require to ramp up cold chain infrastructure, which would call for an amount of investment in the future.”

The changing world of aggregators

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Aggregators in India’s transportation industry are growing up to be a force to reckon with.

Team CV

In the Oxford Dictionary, the word aggregator is defined as a website or program that collects related items of content and displays them or links to them. In India, the word aggregator has come to be associated with radio taxi operators like Ola, Uber, SheTaxi, Apnacabs, Baxi and AutonCabs; shuttle bus operators like Shuttl, Cityflo and Zipgo, and on-demand transport companies like Quikhop, Rivigo, Trukky, Shiprocket, LetsTransport, ThePorter, Blackbuck, Truckola, 4TiGo and TruckMandi. Looked upon as a disruptive force in the US$ 300 billion transportation industry in India, these aggregators are technology driven. Leveraging cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) to help transporters and service providers to scale up their business for a fee or a commission; to enable clients and commuters to avail of a superior experience, aggregators are displaying the capability to dismantle malpractices and loopholes. Coming to play a significant role in the country’s mobility space, aggregators have moved beyond the start up phase. It is a different story that their success is fuelling startups.

Set to gain from the GST council’s decision to lower taxes, cab aggregators, according to a survey report by Morgan Stanley, have much scope to grow. The report mentions that more than half of the millennials in India have not used an app-based cab service yet. The usage of cab-aggregator services, the survey report claims, has led to a mere three per cent of the millennials giving up their cars. A small fraction of the people surveyed mentioned that they are availing of cab aggregator service to avoid the rush and deficiencies that public transport mediums like buses, local trains and even metros offer. If Women on Wheels and SheTaxi make an innovative aggregator model on the back of social and economic empowerment of women, bus aggregators like Shuttl and Cityflo are making travel to work easy and stress free. Providing AC buses with assured seats without having to pay big bucks for fuel and shared cabs, bus aggregators are helping commuters to travel without cash. Commuters can also reserve as well as real-time track the seats. Providing a clue about the growth potential of bus aggregators, Jaspal Singh, Analyst, Valoriser Consultants, avers, “Even if 10 per cent of the commuter volume shifts towards bus aggregating platform, it will amount to a big number for the industry.” He draws attention to over 30 million bus rides taking place in India everyday. The demand for mobility is rising, and the government is required to support new disruptive initiatives the aggregators are taking, opines an industry source.

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An interesting aggregator in the inter-city travel space is Redbus. It is claimed to be the biggest bus service aggregator in India, and commands a 75 per cent market share of online bus booking. With the overall size of bus ticketing industry in India (both offline and online) estimated to be about 20,000 crores worth, about 14 per cent of the tickets are known to be sold online. Approximately 10 per cent of the bus operators are said to have a fleet size greater than 75 each, and 25 per cent of the bus operators are claimed to have a fleet size between 20 to 75 buses each. If challenges exist in retaining customers by ensuring a superior travel experience, much of which could be out of the control of the aggregator, and to help bus operators to scale up their business, there is no smooth road to success that the aggregators could look at. With government agencies beginning to acknowledge the benefits, the aggregator bus and cab services have come to provide, what was once perceived as the biggest challenge is now ebbing. Other challenges include standardised fare structure, quality of service, and an ability to integrate with other services.

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With the government’s stress on cashless transaction, aggregators stand to gain, albeit with a steady rise of e-commerce and on-demand services. Playing a key role in bringing structure and equilibrium within the organised space across various industries, aggregators in the logistics space, claims an industry source, are helping to lose unnecessary weight in terms of structure and costs. Attracting seeding on the basis of an innovative approach, aggregators like Trukky, Lobb and Blackbuck are providing not just fringe benefits to truckers, they are also matching and optimising the demand and supply of trucks. Says Apollo Sharma, CEO, Quikhop Logitic Solutions, “Our algorithms have integrated solutions for return trucks that are available at a cost that are cheaper than the origin city trucks for resource management.”

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With aggregator startups like TruckMandi, Trucksumo and Sastabhada folding up on account of logistics sector fragmenting, and the brick and mortar business posing a big challenge, it has become essential for aggregators to take a full stack view of the space they want to be a part of. The Indian logistics space is complex, mentions an industry expert. He states that it is so complex that it can demand attention, which technology simply cannot help overcome. Mukul Arora, Managing Director, SAIF Partners, is known to have expressed that adding a thin layer of technology cannot solve deep routed problems in the logistics sector such as non-availability of drivers and fragmented truck ownership. The demand for credit that often extends beyond is also a factor. Looking at the challenges faced by TruckMandi, Trucksumo and Sastabhada, it is clear that knowledge and experience will only add to the sustainability of aggregators. Set to witness greater adoption among numerous market players, aggregators have a long way to go before success is theirs. The path is challenging, but also exciting and well worth the effort.

New 16-tonne bus from BharatBenz

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Daimler India Commerical Vehicles has introduced a 16-tonne bus under the BharatBenz brand.

Story and Photos by:

Anirudh Raheja

With an aim to tap the fast growing inter-city bus segment in India, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has launched a new 16-tonne bus that measures 12 m in length. Adding to the company’s bus portfolio, which consists of a 9 m long BharatBenz bus (for school, staff and tourist application), and a multi-axle Mercedes-Benz luxury coach, the new 12 m long bus is available as a rolling chassis, and a fully-built vehicle. The fully-built vehicle complies with AIS 031 CMUR Bus Body code, which mandates roll over safety of up to 28 degrees. The 16-tonne BharatBenz bus is claimed to have a roll-over safety capability of up to 48 degrees. Featuring an ‘aluminique’ body fabricated without welds, particular attention has been paid to keep the centre of gravity low. This is said to lower the chances of the bus toppling over. Expressed Markus Villinger, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India, “Using ‘aluminique’ body has helped us to reduce weight by one-third in comparison to the weight of an all steel body. Lower weight boosts fuel economy.”

Powering the 16-tonne bus is a six-cylinder 6373 cc DE175 BSIV compliant turbo-diesel engine that is situated at the front. The drive to the rear wheels is through a G85 six-speed manual gearbox and a live axle. The bus chassis is of the ladder type, and has its front frame support brackets developed from cast metal to offer better protection to the driveline in case of a frontal impact. Producing a maximum power of 238 hp, and a maximum torque of 850 Nm, the bus is equipped with wider brake linings. “With localisation of over 90 per cent, we are looking forward to sell over 1000 buses against 500 buses sold last year,” averred Villinger. Equipped with ‘Glide’ air suspension that includes stabilisers and double-acting telescopic shock absorbers, the 16-tonne bus, for lower operating costs, offers oil drain interval of one-lakh kms for the engine and gearbox. Fitted with tilt adjustable steering system, the bus contains Daimler’s proven Bluetec technology. The SCR system on the bus includes an aqueous urea tank of 60 litres. The AC is a 32 kW unit from Spheros Motherson. Guaranting comfort with 790 mm legroom and a 2×2 seat layout, the bus, available with 43+driver and 39+driver seating configuration, is fitted with anti-skid top layer vinyl flooring and fire retardant materials. Built at DICV’s Chennai plant, having a 1500 units capacity, the 16-tonne bus has seen its maker tie up with six body builders in India. Of these, JCBL has gone ahead and built a sleeper coach on the bus platform. “As the market continues to grow, we will also offer new bus models. We will also introduce a 16-tonne rear engine bus later this year,” signed off Villenger.

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Jivo from Mahindra

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Mahindra has launched a new, small 25 hp tractor for affluent farmers with 4WD capability.

Story and Photos by:

Ashish Bhatia

Tractors are changing. Much like trucks and buses, they are modernising. The recent tractor launch by Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is a case in point. Called the Jivo, the tractor, producing 24 hp out of a direct-injection diesel engine, is equipped with 4WD mechanism. Looking to increase the manufacturer’s market reach in the 25 hp tractor segment, Jivo is made available in a two-tone paint scheme. Equipped with Mahindra’s DigiSense technology, the Jivo is priced at Rs.3.90 lakh for the 4WD version, and Rs.4.05 lakh, ex-showroom, Maharashtra, for the two-tone colour version. With sales starting April 24, 2017, the tractor is available in the state of Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh besides Maharashtra. Claimed to offer best-in-class performance, the Jivo is equipped with Automatic Depth and Draft Control (ADDC). Said to enable the farmer to experience a superior land preparation experience, the tractor is designed for multi-application, crop care, land preparation, inter culture and vineyard spraying. With an ability to work with larger implements like a 1.2 m rotavator and seven tyne cultivator, which make for greater depth of hard soil cutting, the Jivo, according to Rajesh Jejurikar, President – Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., offers highest load carrying capacity of up to three-tonnes in the segment. “Helping in small farm mechanisation with its multi-application suitability, the Jivo has best-in-class PTO horsepower and fuel efficiency apart from comfort and value,” stated Rajesh.

Style and Comfort

The dual-tone version of Jivo (with DigiSense) offers 24×7 connectivity to farmers. Based on telematics, DigiSense offers the Jivo owner updates on performance. DigiSense also provides crucial alerts like high engine rpm and battery charge indication among others. And this, it does on a real-time basis. In both the Jivo versions, the direct-injection diesel engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission. There are four reverse gears. The gear shift lever is located on the side, and on the fender. The placement of the gear shift lever hints at much thought being given to driver comfort and ergonomics. Especially the long work hours that may entail. The 4WD version of the Jivo offers superior traction under wet and slippery operating conditions. The two-speed PTO is claimed to improve rotavator application, and help in vineyard applications where the need is to continuously spray pesticides and other such liquids. Boasting of a top speed of 25 kmph, the tractor, said Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., “we have embarked on various initiatives with innovation and technology as the bedrock. We are working towards redefining the face of farming with the launch of Farming 3.0 platform that would help to elevate farm mechanisation to a new level. The launch of Jivo marks a significant step in that directiion.”

The Jivo, claim sources close to the company, has been benchmarked against the Kubota 2420. One can’t help but notice the uncanny resemblance. Jivo, claimed sources close to the company, is superior in fuel economy and the application of implements than the Kubota. With a wide range of tractor offering, including the range of tractors offered by Group entity, Punjab Tractors, the company has come to command a 42.7 per cent market share in tractors. The Jivo will present the company an opportunity to carve out a larger pie of the tractor market. It looks like an attempt to blur boundaries and move up the value chain, the fact is, the nature of farming is changing. Mechanisation is continuing to rise, and change. With row crop farming and horticulture assuming greater importance, including orchids and vineyards, the demand for mechanisation is only expected to rise further. Horticulture production is growing at a pace faster than food grain production, at 284 million-tonnes compared to 252 million-tonnes earlier. The under 30 hp tractor segment constitutes an eight to 10 per cent volume segment of the overall segment size. Before the Jivo was launched, Mahindra had a single offering in the sub-25 hp segment. The arrival of Jivo is expected to help increase the market reach. Following the Arjun Novo and the Yuvo as the third new platform in a span of three years, the Jivo has much going for it.

Healthy growth of tractors

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Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector saw good growth in FY2016-17. It along with Escorts saw a year-on-Year (YoY) sales growth of 29 per cent and 32 per cent respectively according to a report by Emkay Research. A report by ICRA states that tractor volumes in domestic market have had a positive growth trajectory during current fiscal (growth in volumes of 18.2 per cent in 10 m, FY2017 on a YoY basis) fuelled by favourable farm sentiments as southwest monsoon performance remained healthier as compared to previous two fiscals. While the monsoon performance augured well for kharif production, it also replenished reservoir levels that supported rabi sowing despite weak winter monsoons. The growth momentum witnessed a pause in November, 2016, the report mentions, with demonetisation causing cash crunch resulting in a decline in monthly volumes by 13 per cent (YoY basis). After the minor blip, however, domestic volumes recovered, with the industry volumes growing by eight per cent and six per cent respectively in December 2016 and January 2017 on YoY basis. In February, 2017, leading tractor OEMs reported a healthy growth in domestic volumes, pointing to continuation of growth momentum for the domestic industry. Pointing at the good growth enjoyed by the farm equipment segment, sources close to Mahindra, stated that the Jivo was engineered to target affluent farmers with a land holding of five to 20 acres for a reason. Data suggests, they mentioned, that 80 per cent of the total land holding in India is estimated to be at less than five acres. The segment has witnessed a meagre two per cent tractor penetration making it a high potential area for growth. Describing the current times as an era of ‘Farming 3.0’, Dr. Goenka, averred that the space of change in India’s farming segment is slow. “Change is in store over the next five to 10 years, and we want to be a part of it”. A 20 hp, 2WD variant is also in the works claim sources. They point to a launch time of September 2017. The Jivo platform has seen Mahindra invest Rs.90 crore. Plans are being chalked to produce 50,000 units per annum initially. Having sold 17,973 tractors in March 2017, and realising a 29 per cent growth in the domestic market over the corresponding period last year, Mahindra, is bullish about healthy growth on the back of new, technologically apt and smart farm equipment. The secret of Mahindra Farm Equipment success may lie in the fact that the company recorded an exports growth of 82 per cent in March 2017 as compared to March 2016.

Mahindra Supro springs seven variants

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Mahindra’s small commercial vehicle platform, the Supro, has sprung seven variants to address the cargo and passenger market demands.

Story by: Bhargav TS

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has introduced seven new variants of its small commercial vehicle Supro. The company has launched four new passenger variants called the Supro Minivan, Supro Minivan VX, Supro Minivan CNG and Supro School Van. For the cargo carrier market, the company has introduced three variants – Supro Minitruck, Supro Minitruck CNG, and Supro Cargo Van. The price of the Supro Minivan starts at Rs.4.62 lakh, and that of the Supro Minitruck starts at Rs.4.34 lakh, ex-showroom Chennai.

BSIV emission compliant, the new Supro variants, the company is hoping, will address the exacting, and changing needs of the small commercial vehicle market. As a platform, the Supro boasts of a widest range of passenger and cargo vehicle offerings. They measure 11 in total, and are available in diesel, CNG and electric propulsion mediums. Conceptualised to cater to the needs of multiple segments in the passenger and cargo movement categories, the Supro, according to Pravin Shah, President and Chief Executive (Automotive), Mahindra & Mahindra, offers a superior value proposition. “As the leader in the small commercial vehicle load segment with a market share of 51 per cent in the less than 3.5-tonne category, we are always aiming to understand and address the evolving needs of our customers. The roll-out of seven new variants from the Supro platform is a step in that direction,” he expressed.

Built at Mahindra’s modern plant at Chakan, Pune, the seven new variants of the Supro add to the two variants on the same platform that were launched in 2015. Subjected to rigorous and full test cycle runs, and having been validated on performance, safety and reliability parameters, the Supro saw an addition to its range in 2016 in the form of electrically-propelled eSupro Van and the eCargo Van. Offered with a class-leading warranty of two years or 60,000 km, the Supro shares the SCV space with the Mahindra Jeeto and Maxximo.

Spares & service initiative for Mahindra Cvs

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Mahindra Trucks and Buses has unveiled a new spares and service initiative in an effort to carve out a greater pie of the market.

Story & Photos by: Ashish Bhatia

After launching the Blazo range of medium and heavy-duty trucks with the guarantee of more mileage over competition, Mahindra Trucks and Buses Ltd. (MTBL) has announced a spares and service initiative. A key differentiator, according to Nalin Mehta, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MTBL, the new initiative assures Mahindra truckers of service support at an interval of 60 kms on the Mumbai-Delhi corridor of the Golden Quadrilateral. MTBL chose this corridor as it caters to about 30 per cent of the truck movement in India. Across the 1500 km-long corridor, MTBL has 27 touch points, including 3S dealerships and service centres, and eight mobile workshops. As part of the initiative, the company is assuring truckers of availing service support in case of a breakdown in two hours, failing which a penalty would be paid upfront for every hour of delay. In the case of spares, the company has announced the setting up of exclusive retail outlets called ‘Mparts Plaza’ along the corridor, and operated by its distributors and dealers. Part of a pan-India exercise to make 150 fast moving parts available, the‘Mparts Plazas’ will sell genuine spares at a fair price. Elevating MTBL’s network strength to 82 ‘3S’ dealerships, 120 authorised service centres, and 2900 roadside assistance points, the spare retail network of the company has reached 2069 numbers.

For Mahindra truckers to avail of these services, MTBL will soon launch an awareness campaign. With the 1500 km corridor passing through five states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi-NCR, with end terminals at Dadri in the National Capital Region of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru Port at Uran near Mumbai, the new spares and service initiative will highlight the seven ‘Mparts Plazas’ that are operational at seven strategic locations of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Indore, Guwahati, Sankagiri and Patna. The number of ‘Mparts Plazas’, said Mehta, will be increased to 26 by the end of FY2017-18. The 150 fast moving spares the plazas will house have been identified as essential maintenance parts, said Rajan Wadhera, President and Chief Executive, Truck and Powertrain Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Upon non-availability of a part upon demand, MTBL, mentioned Mehta, will supply it free of cost to the trucker. He drew a comparison with their earlier initiative to compensate truckers with Rs.1000 per day if the truck was not back on the road in 48 hours. Averred Mehta, “This way, we are keen to guarantee the Mahindra trucker of a hassle-free experience that is unlike anything that the competition offers.”

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Terming the new spares and service initiative as one more step towards customer-centricity, Wadhera explained, “Following the highly successful mileage guarantee and the 48-hour uptime guarantee, the spares and service initiative is part of our endeavour to introduce a disruptive change. It is also a part of our endeavour to offer an unprecedented after-sales guarantee. This will further reinforce our value proposition.” The truck driver, said Mehta, will be paid Rs.500 for every hour of delay in reaching him post the two-hour guarantee on the corridor.

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In the Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment, MTBL claims to have more than 25,000 trucks on the road. The company, according to Mehta, posted a growth of four per cent on a Year-To-Date (YTD) 2017 basis in HCVs. The industry in comparison witnessed a negative growth of seven per cent. In the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment, MTBL has a market share of 9.4 per cent YTD. While the industry grew by six per cent in LCVs, MTBL, said Mehta, posted a growth of 16 per cent. Aiming for a presence in all the CV segments, from 3.5-tonne to 49-tonne, MTBL has invested in a multi-lingual customer care helpline. The helpline, according to Wadhera, is manned by technical experts who offer instant support to customers. Claiming to be the first CV maker to offer a five-year or a five lakh kilometer transferable warranty, MTBL is looking at doubling its market share in the next two and a half years. In HCVs, it is currently 3.5 per cent.

Xenon Yodha from Tata

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With Xenon Yodha pick-up truck range, Tata Motors is looking to extend its lead in the LCV segment

Story by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Tata Motors has launched the Xenon Yodha pick-up truck range. Launched by brand ambassador, Akshay Kumar who is well-known as a action hero in Hindi films, the pick-up range, based on the Xenon platform, which could trace its roots to the Tatamobile or the Tata 207, is aimed at a wide range of commercial applications. A body bolted to the chassis design, the pick-up truck is available in 4×2 and 4×4 configuration. Stylish yet rugged, comfortable and safe according to Tata Motors, the Xenon Yodha is also available in single and double cab configurations. Powering the pick-up truck is a 72 hp, three-litre BSIII engine and a 85 hp, three-litre BSIV engine. The basic architecture of both engines is the same. The peak torque output is 223 Nm and 250 Nm respectively at 1600-2200 rpm. Transmission is a five-speed manual unit. In case of the 4×4 variant, drive to the front wheels is selectable. Engineered to tackle good gradability, the chassis frame of the truck is madeup of 4 mm thick members with reinforcements. The pick-up truck rides on 16-inch high profile tyres. The suspension is made up of five leaves at front and nine leaves at the rear. Suitable for diverse commercial usage including agri-produce (fruits and vegetables), poultry, fish, milk, cash, and service support, the Xenon Yodha, according to Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director – Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, will enable the company to partner existing mini-truck customers, aspiring for the next phase of growth. Drawing attention to GST, Pisharody added, “The new Xenon Yodha will help the customer grow post GST regime and on the back of improved road infrastructure.” Emphasising upon the change in the hub and spoke model of distribution, Pisharody expressed that the new pick-up truck is an ideal work horse for diverse commercial usage and will extend the company’s lead in the light commercial vehicle category. The new Xenon Yodha is looked upon by Tata Motors to complement the success and popularity of the Tata Ace range of small commercial vehicles. To entice the customers, the Original Equipment Manufacturer has announced an inaugural buyback offer. The offer assures the buyer 50 per cent of Xenon Yodha’s cost, after four years of usage. Additionally, it is being offered with an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) of three years or one lakh kilometre and a warranty of three years or three lakh kilometres. Available in both single cab and double cab variants, the Xenon Yodha single cab – BSIII variant is priced at Rs.6.05 lakh. The single cab – BSIV variant is priced at Rs.6.19 lakh.

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