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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Indian CV industry in 2017

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.

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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.

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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.