RoadMaster G75 from Mahindra

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Mahindra RoadMaster G75 motor grader aims at the burgeoning road construction sector.

Story by:Ashish Bhatia

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) entered the off-highway segment in 2011 with the launch of a backhoe loader. Offering construction tippers through its truck and bus business vertical, the company has introduced the RoadMaster G75 motor grader to cater to the burgeoning road construction sector. Built at Mahindra’s integrated manufacturing facility at Chakan, Pune, the motor grader is claimed to be 100 per cent indigenous in its built. Positioned in a segment that is dominated by global Construction Equipment (CE) majors like Caterpillar, the RoadMaster G75, according to Rajan Wadhera, President – Automotive Sector, M&M, is built to last and priced highly competitively. Expected to elevate the speed of mechanisation in the road construction sector, which is expected to grow at 15 to 20 per cent over the current levels, the RoadMaster G75 is priced at Rs.34.99 lakh inclusive of GST. Claimed to cost almost one third of what it takes to buy a motor grader from global CE majors, the motor grader has been specifically engineered for spreading and grading applications. Set to play a role in the government’s ambitious plan to build 83,677 km of roads over the next five years at a rate of 45 km per day, and with an investment of Rs.6.92 lakh crore, the motor grader is claimed to offer an optimised solution to road contractors for their grading needs.

Expected to carve out a niche, the RoadMaster G75 was conceptualised in 2015. The first proto arrived in 2016. Productionised in 2017, the motor grader is powered by a 79hp DiTEC 4805 IA BSIII CEV engine. Mated to the engine is a four wheel drive (4WD), four-speed Carraro transmission. Featuring two hydraulic pumps, which provide it with a hydraulic multi-function capability, the RoadMaster G75 is fitted with a torque converter type clutch and power shuttle transmission. The motor grader, fitted with a 10 ft. wide blade, and a mouldboard designed to suit productivity and durability, is said to grade at 33 per cent. This is considerably more than what the other motor graders offer, claim M&M sources. Offering a blade cutting angle of 25.6 degrees, and a rotation angle of 30 degrees with a blade side-shift of 513 mm, the RoadMaster G75 comes with a one year, unlimited hours warranty. With (1.98 m) dozer blade and (5 Tyne) ripper as optional fitments, the motor grader was subjected to 6,000 hours of rigorous testing, and has been validated for performance, safety and reliability.

Supported by Mahindra’s sales and service network across the country, the RoadMaster G75 is equipped with Mahindra’s telematics platform DigiSense. Drawing from the experience Mahindra has gained selling tractors and backhoe loaders, the motor grader, claimed to have been bench marked against global quality standards, is both, functional and utilitarian. Aimed at the construction of small to medium roads, and to widen of state and national highways, the RoadMaster G75, said Vinod Sahay, Chief Executive Officer, Truck and Bus Division and Construction Equipment Division, M&M, will prove to be a disruptive addition to the motor grader segment. “It is set to deliver affordable mechanisation sans a compromise, and is aptly suitable for applications such as embankment or earthwork. For laying of railway tracks and levelling of large plots for industrial construction,” he concluded.

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Volkswagen to develop electric Cvs

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The Volkswagen brand of heavy trucks may not be present in India, its group companies MAN and Scania are present. It may be too soon to predict if they will profit from the Group’s move to invest Euro 1.4 billion in new technologies by 2022, including electric trucks and buses. Volkswagen will spend money to develop electric drives, autonomous vehicles and cloud-based systems. While a spin-off of Volkswagen’s trucks business is said to be under consideration, the move to electrify commercial vehicles is in-line with the rising regulatory pressure on auto makers the world over to develop vehicles that have zero tail pipe emissions. Navistar International Corp. and Volkswagen Truck & Bus announced plans recently to collaborate on electric vehicles. They are expected to launch an electric medium duty truck in North America by late 2019. Volkswagen competitor, Daimler has already launched an electric medium duty truck under its Fuso brand in North America. It has supplied the truck to UPS to carry out last mile deliveries in New York.

VECV looks at capacity expansion

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VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) will be investing Rs.400 crore to Rs.450 crore towards capacity expansion, claim industry sources. They cite that this is part of the company’s plan to invest a similar amount year-on-year towards development of new products; BSVI compliant products. Seeing a good rise in the 14- and 15-tonne segment due to buyers downgrading from 16-tonnes, the company is looking at good demand to emerge from various businesses as they re-arrange their strategies and assets to align with the GST. In the 14- and 15-tonne, VECV is claimed to enjoy a good demand for its Pro 1000 series and Pro 3000 series trucks from ecommerce companies among others. Sources draw attention to the company having a slew of products in the 5- to 16-tonne GVW. These product offerings are also expected to help the company find a strong foothold in the rising last mile connectivity market. VECV recorded 12.5 per cent growth in FY2016-17 by selling over 58,000 units as against the sale of 52,000 units in FY2015-16. The industry grew at four-per cent. Experiencing improvement in all the segments, and exports in particular, VECV, through capacity expansion, will continue to have products across every price point and application areas. It will be able to address every customer need too, with a wide range of engines on offer.

BKT wins SQEP Silver Award from Caterpillar

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BKT has won the SQEP Silver Award (Supplier Quality Excellence Process Certification) from Caterpillar. The award reflects the high levels of quality and process control at BKT, a leading manufacturer of industrial and OTR tyres in India. For Caterpillar equipment, BKT produces Earthmax SR 47 and Earthmax SR 45 tyres. The Earthmax SR 47 24.00 R 35 tyre is fitted to the 60-tonne CAT 773 E dump truck, and the Earthmax SR 45 18.00 R 33 tyre is fitted to the CAT 770G. The CAT 773 E and CAT 770G dump trucks find use in mining and quarry as well as construction applications. Expressed Arvind Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director, BKT, “The award acknowledges our products and aligns with our strategic objective of quality and reliability. We continue to win the confidence of large global manufacturers.”

Truckers for GST inclusion of diesel

Truckers went on a two-day strike in early October with a demand to include diesel fuel in GST. Protesting against the disruptive policies under GST and the inclusion of diesel in GST, truckers, claim industry sources, have not been happy with the government’s decision to review fuel prices every day. Sources draw attention to truckers complaining that the number of challenges they have come to face after the implementation of GST are actually more than they faced earlier. There’s utter confusion and chaos, they state, due to varied policies under GST that have been imposed on the road transport sector.

With fuel and toll accounting for 70 per cent of a truck’s operating cost, truckers, sources say, are of the opinion that there should be uniformity of fuel pricing across the country. Out of the ambit of GST, petrol and diesel continue to be heavily taxed by the central government as well as the state governments. The inability of transporters to lift goods from unregistered users (many SMEs continue to grapple with GST) since it would require them to pay GST on their behalf under Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) a drop in business is said to have been the case. Transporters can avail Forward Charge (FCM) where they need to pay 12 per cent GST but claim full input credit. Claimed sources that the laws in the GST regime are leading to coercive registration and unnecessary compliances by truckers and transporters. With hardly any change in travel time post GST, truckers and bus owners are said to be planning an indefinite strike for a toll gate-free India. India has 371 toll plazas.

Three-wheeler sales revive

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Three-wheeler sales are reviving, and also exports. Providing a reason for companies like Bajaj Auto to cheer up, the reason for the revival is said to be the discontinuation of permits in Maharashtra, the requirement for new permits in Delhi, and the replacement of two-stroke three-wheelers with four-stroke equivalents in Bangalore. Claim industry sources that there is an incremental market of 1.5 to two-lakh three-wheelers. While the revival in exports is said to be gradual, the rise in domestic demand looks more heartening. Sources draw attention to the four per cent rise in Bajaj Auto three wheeler sales volumes in the second quarter of the current fiscal. This, they explain, marks the first positive volume growth year-on-year after a span of past few quarters. The three wheeler segment posted a 14 per cent growth in the second quarter of this fiscal.

Mahindra sees heavy CV sales rise

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By selling 1,311 units of tractor-trailers in the first half of FY2017-18, Mahindra Trucks and Buses is claimed to have out paced the competition to reach the fourth place in truck segments above 16.2-tonnes. Drawing attention to the company posting a growth of over 90 per cent in the tractor-trailer segment, which is typically of 40- and 49-tonnes, against market growth of 40 per cent, sources cite that the company has crossed the 4.5 per cent market share mark in heavy trucks. In September 2017, the company sold 3,497 trucks. Present in the medium and heavy commercial space, Mahindra Trucks and Buses is claimed to have posted a growth of 34 per cent in the first half of FY2017-18 against a market growth of seven-per cent. The reason for heavy truck buyers turning to Mahindra is said to be the good power to weight ratio that its 7.2-litre engine offers. Until before BSIV, the same engine was looked upon as more powerful, and less efficient thereafter. The other reason is claimed to be the offering of fuel smart technology and a host of after sales initiatives. Good discounts are also said to woo customers to the brand.