DICV: Meeting BSIV with SCR

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Daimler India Commercial Vehicles has developed SCR technology for its CVs to comply with the BSIV emission regulations, sans a price hike.

Story & Photos by:

Ashish Bhatia

The words ‘Profit Technology’ are doing the rounds at Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV). They concern the move up to BSIV commercial vehicles – trucks, which the company unveiled recently at Chennai. Also termed as HDTs, the trucks claim to deliver best-in-class productivity, efficiency and safety. Promising low cost of ownership, what the BSIV BharatBenz HDTs best offer perhaps is the lack of price differential between them and their BSIII breathrens. There’s been no price increase with the move to BSIV. Expected to provide DICV a solid advantage, the BSIV HDTs hint at a technological leap that reflects upon Daimler’s long standing experience in building trucks the world over, and the frugal engineering abilities that India has come to be known for. Flaunting a local content of upto 85 per cent, and supported by over 400 suppliers, the BSIV BharatBenz HDTs point at a distinct ‘value proposition’. Announced Erich Nesselhauf, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, that the company planned much before the BSIV mandate was enforced. Left with 200 BSIII CVs, the company is confident of gaining an edge.

SCR for BSIV compliance

Even as the 31-tonne GVW 3123 8×2 rigid haulage truck took the centre stage at Chennai, Nesselhauf drew attention to having sold more than 1000 BSIV trucks since August 2015; much before the enforcement of pan-India BSIV emission norms on April 01, 2017. Out of the range of HDTs, from 16- to 49-tonne, the 3123 flaunted a 60-litre AdBlue tank as part of its BSIV hardware. Powered by the 235 hp, 6372 cc, six-cylinder engine, the truck came fitted with a SCR exhaust gas after-treatment. The SCR has NOx sensors at the core of it apart from the AdBlue injector nozzle. The system is controlled by an ECU, and the AdBlue solution – made of Urea, is sprayed into the exhaust gas stream, with the NOx sensors sensing the amount of reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions as per the prescribed BSIV emission norms. What comes out of the tail pipe is harmless nitrogen and water. The BSIV trucks that DICV is offering, are claimed to have been tried and tested internationally. They are robust according to Nesselhauf. Drawing attention to the NOx sensors, which are indicative of the higher electronic content the BSIV trucks have come to carry, Nesselhauf explained, “Harnesses, sensors, electronic bits and software were added.”

Promising significant increase in fuel-efficiency, the BSIV BharatBenz trucks were subjected to weight shaving of upto 400 kg to compensate for the weight of the BSIV hardware. Claimed to weigh as much as the BSIII CVs did, the BSIV HDTs, according to Nesselhauf, are set to transform the commercial vehicle segment.

Operational support

Other than the 3123, the BSIV BharatBenz HDTs the company is offering, include the 1617, 2528 and 4023. Their AdBlue reservoirs (as part of the SCR system) will need to be topped-up at long intervals. For this, the company has made requisite arrangements at its dealers. It has also tied up with petrol pumps. Supply of quality Adblue solution is essential. Any compromise in quality may lead to the truck going into a limp mode, affecting operational efficiency as well as performance and emissions. It is this very aspect that links the reliability and performance of BSIV trucks rather closely with that of the dealers. With considerable uptake in electronics, DICV, it is not surprising, has invested in time and resources to bring its dealer network up to speed. Averred Nesselhauf, “We urged our dealers to look at areas of gain.” DICV also undertook upon itself to educate and address the concerns of its customers, both existing as well as new. Said Nesselhauf, “With fuel saving of 10 per cent, a fleet owner stands to save 1000 litres annually on each truck that he operates for 18,00,000 kms. In terms of pure carbon savings per litre of diesel, BSIV engines result in carbon emission reduction of 2.5 kg per litre. Significant savings are also achieved in the case of NOx emissions.” He opined, “It is the inefficient engines, which are a cause of global warming among others. Special focus was laid on optimising engines while moving to BSIV.”


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DICV has utilised the opportunity to treat its trucks to a face-lift as part of the move upto BSIV. The trucks now feature a bold new face. The grille has got bigger and wider; there are LED DRLs built into the head lamp assembly. The bumper is body coloured on higher spec models. DICV has also added a host of new features to turn its trucks into a better value proposition. With ABS standard on BharatBenz trucks since 2012, new features like auxiliaries have found their way into the truck. Aerodynamic improvements have been carried out, and also efforts to reduce friction. In an effort to reduce driver fatigue, the trucks come with ‘cruise-control’. The head lamp design with built in LED DRLs is claimed to offer better visibility. The higher spec models come with a reverse camera. Advocating the deployment of AC in truck cabins, the BharatBenz BSIV trucks come with AC as optional. A brief drive revealed the difference in how the BSIV truck feels over the BSIII version. If an improvement in NVH is noticeable, the 2528 construction truck felt as capable and pro-efficient as its BSIII brethren. A differential lock buzzer in the cab indicated the engagement of active differential lock as the truck drove on an earthern path with hurdles. An interesting feature the BSIV BharatBenz trucks come with is the fuel-theft protection device.

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To go with the higher electronic content on the BSIV BharatBenz trucks, DICV is working to streamline processes. Seeking feedback from owners, operators and drivers to improve products and services, the company has devised a mobile application, ProServ. The ProServ app. enables customers to analyse vehicle data or access maintenance instructions. Sales and customer service representatives across the brand’s network have access to all relevant information as well. This equips them to provide effective consultation and support to customers. Averred Nesselhauf, “We have trained our dealers to deal with BSIV vehicles.” Apart from training, the dealer staff is supported by an online technical information platform called Ascent (After Sales Central). It is a multilingual, animated system to facilitate information access at all DICV service centres. In addition, mobile service workshops, claimed DICV sources, are equipped to reach out in case of an emergency (in four hours flat). Customers can reach out to the company network through a 24×7 helpline number.

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Future ready

With attention to the future, DICV is keen to double its market share in HDTs. Said Nesselhauf, “We are future ready.” He is of the opinion that the implementation of GST in July will eliminate inefficiencies in the transport industry. In the wake of the global headwinds and the slowing down of many markets in the world, India, it is not surprising, is assuming greater importance in the scheme of things at Daimler. A big chunk of CVs made at DICV’s Chennai plant are exported to over 14 markets under the Fuso brand. It is the DICV built HDTs that have led to a change in Fuso’s perception. Fuso is now being increasingly looked at as a heavy-duty truck brand. As a matter of fact, averred Nesselhauf, that they are confident of the new range boosting volumes. A big draw is the price, which has not increased despite the additional BSIV hardware that has been incorporated. In 2016, DICV sold 13,100 trucks as compared to 13,997 numbers in 2015. To further strengthen its position and market reach, the company could soon launch a sub-nine tonne (seven-tonne) truck for the export market. The Indian market launch is expected to happen sometime later.

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Shaving weight to compensate for BSIV hardware

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To enhance the performance and comply with BSIV emission norms, DICV, to fit an exhaust gas after-treatment (SCR), resorted to light weighting. The engineering team went through the entire truck; analysed every nut and bolt to achieve weight reduction of upto 400 kg. The team turned to value analysis. Functions of different parts were analysed. Material analysis was carried out. The exercise, expected to shave up to 300 kgs on lighter trucks, led the team to choose materials that would balance cost and weight. Material and design changes played a crucial role, and also the non-load bearing members. The grade of material was improved to facilitate a reduction in thickness, and in-turn weight. Without sacrificing performance or reliability, weight reduction was achieved through the use of superior grade material. In many application areas, the use of ‘Domex 650’ high strength steel was resorted to. This steel grade is used by many body builders to build containers in North India, and leads to substantial weight saving. The Domex cold forming steel the company is claimed to have used, is thermo-mechanically rolled. Its heating, rolling and cooling processes are carefully controlled.

To increase fuel efficiency, DICV compartmentalised the function of engine and the after-treatment system. SCR was chosen since it reduces the engine effort to meet tighter emission norms. With the chemical process limited to the after-treatment system, the SCR is often looked upon as an advanced active emissions control technology system that injects AdBlue into the exhaust gas stream while the engine is operating. Reducing (Nitrogen Oxide) NOx emission primarily, the SCR helps to achieve better fuel efficiency by putting hardly any burden on the engine. Engine performance is thus not compromised. Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) flows into the SCR system for reduction reactions to take place in an oxidising atmosphere. SCR reduces the level of NOx using ammonia as a reducing agent within a catalyst system. For the chemical reaction Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is used as a reducing agent that reacts with NOx to convert the pollutants into nitrogen, water and less amount of CO2. DEF also enables the engine to use less EGR and higher oxygen levels for better combustion. With the use of SCR, NOx can be reduced by up to 90 per cent. The system, it is clear, seeks a balance between fuel efficiency and emissions.

_ Bhargav TS

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.

Trading Cvs

Specialising in vehicle transactions, Shriram Automall India Limited is expanding its operations on the back of good growth.

Story & Photos by: Ashish Bhatia

Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC), has turned six. Providing a platform to purchase and sale pre-owned vehicles, CVs and equipment, especially through organised and transparent bidding platforms, the company is looking at expanding its operations. Conducting ‘physical’, ‘online’, ‘one-stop classified’ and ‘private treaty’ transactions towards the purchase and sell of pre-owned vehicles, the company, to mark six years of its fruitful journey held 60 bidding events simultaneously recently. The bidding events were held on one single day, and across all the centres the company has in the country. In what could be termed as a display of high level of synchronisation, bidding events were simultaneously held at Shriram Automall’s centres in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Claimed SAMIL sources that over 5000 vehicles and equipment were auctioned on that day. These were valued at over Rs.100 crore. Auctions at SAMIL are a part of a systematic process that calls for interested people to register with them. Only those who have registered are allowed to participate. Commissioning the 66th mall at Agra to commemorate six years of the successful journey, SAMIL is working towards expanding its reach by introducing a mobile app, ‘MySAMIL’. Making it to the ‘Limca Book of Records’ as the ‘largest platform for acquisition and disposal of pre-owned vehicles and equipment’, and for ‘conducting highest number of physical bidding events in a single day’, SAMIL, according to Sameer Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, Shriram Automall, has in a short span of time become the most trusted brand for all leading OEMs, banks, NBFCS, transporters, leasing and rental companies, vehicle aggregators, dealers, contractors and individuals. It is a brand that they look up to, to dispose their pre-owned commercial vehicles, construction equipment, farm equipment, passenger vehicles, three-wheelers and even two-wheelers.

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A visit to SAMIL’s centre at Panvel revealed that there were 155 vehicles listed for auction. Over 152 bidders registered for the event. Over 80 vehicles went on the block, and were successfully traded. The total transaction value according to SAMIL sources was in excess of Rupees-two crore. For all the centres combined, SAMIL transacted vehicles and equipment worth Rs.50 crore in that day. A new high for a single day business transaction according to Malhotra. Braving the harsh weather, and rising temperatures, indicating the onset of summer, Goldy of Ulhasnagar-based Shiv Shakti Transport, came to the event to buy a good used truck to add to his fleet of 12 trucks. Claiming to be a regular visitor, Goldy said that the number of CVs auctioned at the event, whenever it was held, were good. While SAMIL sources claimed that the auction is held twice every month, Goldy expressed, “ The maths behind an eight year old Tata truck would be an opportunity to save to the tune of Rs.18 lakh on a truck.” This truck, at the previous event, did not sale, he mentioned. If Goldy could have the truck for Rupees-six lakhs, financed 100 per cent by STFC, against a price of Rs.24 lakh for a new truck, it would amount to a good deal of saving. There would be little liability in the short term. Drawing attention to the lucrative nature of pre-owned vehicles, Goldy averred, “A price depreciation of Rupees-two lakh kicks in every year. A brand new truck thus amounts to a loss of Rupees-one lakh on its valuation the moment it is bought.” “In the case of this truck, I can invest in repairs to get to a good running condition if the need be,” he added.

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Milind Chauhan operates a tourist car company called Amit Travels, and is based at Dahisar in Mumbai. He came to the auction to buy a tourist passenger car with the intention to earn a good profit by reselling it to a rural buyer in the short term. Chauhan kept a close eye on the condition of cars being auctioned, aware of the fact that a worn out battery or a need for major repair would lead to a big cut in his intention of earning a profit from a resale. Mentioned Chauhan, that it is often that the seller hasn’t done the mandatory ‘fitness passing’ of the vehicle, and would result in an amount of expenses for the buyer. “If you are careful, and aware of what to look for, you could end up with a good deal.”

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Bidding process

Of the four distinct channels used to bid at SAMIL – physical bidding, online bidding, private treaty and through a one-stop classified kiosk, it is the physical bidding channel that garners 90 per cent of the business according to Umesh Govind Revankar, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, STFC. “Over 90 per cent of the business comes through the ‘physical channel’. The ‘kiosks’ haven’t added much to the volumes, and we are slowly looking towards tapping the mobile segment, he averred. The mobile application is said to facilitate participation in live bidding events, submission of proxy bid for vehicles, digital payment options, customer registration and uploading of KYC documents apart from notifying the customers of the latest developments in the company. “In Classifieds, we haven’t really invested too much. It is a medium that needs substantial investment, both in terms of technology, upgradation and up-keep,” he mentioned. Revankar averred that his company is looking at diverting its profits towards technology addition going forward. In ‘private treaty’, SAMIL negotiates deals as a mediator, between the buyer and the seller. This channel is exclusive to big ticket clients, and accounts for few select transactions for the company. The ‘physical’ bidding process highlighted a medium that facilitates seamless transactions. Especially when one considers the value additions like easy finance, refurbishment, valuation, documentation, and insurance.

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Stating that there is an urgency to replace an existing vehicle with a more efficient one as fuel prices are rising, Revankar opined, “The need for efficient vehicles is creating a demand for used vehicle transactions.” SAMIL, in the next financial year (FY2017-18) is looking at 30 per cent top-line growth. In the long-term, the company is looking at doubling the number of centres from the current 64 to over 150. To do so in a sustainable manner, and with good revenue to support healthy growth, the company is looking at a franchise model.

Umesh Govind Revankar, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, STFC

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Q. The year 2017 marks Shriram Automall’s sixth anniversary. How has the journey been?

A. The plan initially was to give our customers a reasonable choice to buy a vehicle at a fair price. We are a used vehicle finance company in the form of Shriram Transport Finance (STF) afterall. This would improve our valuation expertise. And, this is how we discovered the actual used market price even though we had the valuation expertise for used vehicles. For the customer it was a matter of choice; for us, it amounted to a learning opportunity. Truck buyers physically inspect the vehicle before buying it. This led to the formation of this business actually. We started with trucks and then diversified into passenger vehicles. We have to our credit the auction of two-wheelers too. We have also done some gold auctions apart from being present in properties (real estate) as well. Credit of this achievement should go to the relationships we have fostered over the years. We began working closely with corporate clients to sell their repossessed vehicles. Corporate banks wanted other services. This led us to enter into other areas of business. As far as the customer is concerned, we still have around 50 per cent of the business turnover coming from vehicles. Customers walk in a day or two prior to the auction, and park their vehicle in a bid to get a fair price. They are unable to get a fair price when they deal with a broker or a dealer. It is often that they are not aware of the fair price. Our platform helps them, to get a good price. The customer can change his vehicle, increase or decrease the price by gauging the pulse of the customers at the auction. We have around five lakh bidders. Many of these could be one time buyers. They come to the auction, buy and sell. We thus have sellers as well as buyers coming to us.

Q. How has the used vehicle and industrial equipment segment evolved in your opinion?

A. We are increasingly seeing participation from manufacturers. Imagine a transition from BSIII to BSIV, and there are some vehicles which they will not be able to sell. They have to find a way to sell these vehicles. It also happens that some manufacturers resort to placing their existing inventory for sale. There are those that encourage their dealers for buying and selling. Dealers accumulate old vehicles, and take part in our auction. We thus have customers that include manufacturers, banks, other companies, dealers and individual truck operators. Our preference is to sell to the customer directly. We prefer a B2C business model over a B2B business model. The intention behind this is to be able to finance the customer and build a relation with him. The challenge is in documentation. Whatever vehicles we try to gather from individuals or corporates, we organise their documents for a smooth title transfer. Not everyone does this. Some corporates and banks pose a big challenge for us due to the lack of proper documents. We always prefer a vehicle with documents, and are thus able to fund the buyer as per his requirement.

Q. What are the key milestones the company has achieved?

A. A key milestone for us was when we partnered with banks in the second year of our operation. We signed up with one or two banks. Now, almost all banks have a relationship with us. The participation of almost all the banks makes us an ideal platform. We are able to cater to the needs of banks, individuals or institutions. We are, in terms of numbers, having a quarterly revenue of Rs.150 crore from the Automall. That is the top-line. We are making a profit. This year, the profit margin will be around Rupees-eight to Rs.10 crore. Net profit was not something that we consciously targeted. Our aim was to increase the revenue of the company. The figure of Rs.150 crore would be a good milestone therefore. We should soon be able to double it. The growth that we expect from Automall is 40 per cent on the top line. The bottom line can vary depending on the challenges, including the varying operational expenses. We would like to incur more expenses now on the business. Our investment here after will be into technology. The aim is to make people participate through their mobile phones. They would not be required to be physically present at the auction. The customer will be able to see the live stream of the auction, and participate. He could alternatively visit any of our branches to view the live-stream and participate. In six months, we should be able to make this possible.

Q. What are the key focus areas in terms of finance that you are looking at?

A. We never looked at this business as financial in nature. The basic idea was, and is to support customers; to help them buy the right vehicle at the right price. We have achieved that. As I said, we expect the top-line to grow at a rate of 30 to 40 per cent annually. We will additionally look at increasing the number of centres. We have 64 centres as of now. We would like to take them to 150. We have been operating on properties that we have leased. We would now want to convert to a franchise model.

Q. How has the strategy to diversify from just selling used commercial vehicles panned out?

A. We are happy with the progress we have done. We have established a significant rural presence. This has helped us to finance tractors and vehicles aimed at rural markets. We added passenger vehicles due to the coming of cab aggregator business models like Ola and Uber. The presence in different segments of used vehicles has helped us to cater to the differing needs of our customers.

Q. What is the contribution from each segment that you operate in; from Shriram Transport Finance Company, and from Shriram Automall?

A. Commercial vehicles still dominate. The share from transportation (small and big trucks combined) is about 70 per cent. From passenger vehicles, it is about 25 per cent. From farm equipment, it is around five per cent. As far as the Automall business goes, passenger vehicles contribute 35-40 per cent. We expect passenger vehicles to contribute more than 50 per cent going forward.

Q. What was the effect of demonetisation on your business?

A. We are recovering from the effect of demonetisation. Transactions saw a 30 per cent decline in the third quarter of the current financial year. We are expecting the business to bounce back this quarter. The business of used vehicle has always been cash intensive. People found it difficult to participate. We are yet to understand the impact of Rs.3,00,000 cash transaction limit put by the government. We have to really understand that particular aspect. Once we understand it, we will be able to tell you how things will pan out. As far as the fourth quarter of the current financial year is concerned, it is looking good. We are hoping to end this financial year with good earnings.

Q. What is the short to medium-term and medium to long-term plan for growth?

A. In the medium-term, we should be able to grow 30 per cent on our top-line. That is in the next financial year (FY2017-18). In the long run, we expect technology to play a major role. We will add classified and mobile applications. It will be directly proportional to the money we invest in technology and its implementation. We are bullish on that front. We expect to grow very fast in the next three to four years. The last quarter of this financial year is expected to display demand on the back of pre-buying. From April 2017, BSIV emission regulations will come into force. The implementation of regulations will negatively impact the demand in the first quarter of FY2017-18. The second quarter of the next financial year will be uncertain due to the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). The next six months may not be good for new vehicles. Demand for used vehicles is likely to be high. Demand for Rabbi crop in April-May will be high. This is likely to induce demand from the rural sector. Depending on the monsoon, post the October 2017 quarter, demand from all segments including CVs and tractors is expected to be strong.

Q. How are different channels contributing to increase Shriram Automall’s revenue?

A. The physical channel contributes 90 per cent of the business. The ‘kiosks’ haven’t added much to the volumes. We are slowly looking to tap the mobile segment. In Classifieds, we haven’t really invested much. It is a medium that needs substantial investments, both in terms of technology upgradation and up-keep. We would like to divert our profits towards adding technology.

Q. What regions are you looking at to expand Shriram Automall network?

A. We have been strong in the western region. It is the northern and eastern region where we want to strengthen our presence.

Q. How do you look at the participation of banks and NBFCs?

A. Banks have been supportive of used vehicle equipment business segment. NBFCs are not, barring a few. This could be because they feel that that we are competing with them in terms of financing. Over a period of time, they, I am certain, will see the advantages.

Q. With regulations like fuel emission norms, CAFE, Bharat NCAP and the scrappage policy, do you see a disruption in CV sales?

A. These factors will only enhance the demand for used vehicles. There is an urgency to change the vehicle and move up to an efficient one. Fuel prices are going up. Regulatory factors will create demand to sell old CVs and buy new ones. In either case, finance needs will go up. This will help us. We would like to give a helping hand to the customer. In terms of scrappage, as of now no legislation exists. Except Delhi there is no other state that has banned 10 year old CVs. The cap is at 15 years. The government will have to compensate the people owning the asset in case of the scrappage scheme. Till such time re-registration of vehicles will hold us in good stead.

Q. What are the key trends from the global used vehicle markets that will find their way to India?

A. India being a very unique country, one cannot replicate trends from other markets blindly. I have tried to understand the Chinese used vehicle market. Even that market is not moving in a structured manner when it comes to commercial vehicles. However it still remains the only country in my opinion that we can learn from. Markets like USA and Europe are way different. Their entire ecosystem is different. India has more individual owners and small fleet operators. Entrepreneurship spirit is high here. People wanting to own a business is high here.

Reliance Industries to enter cab aggregator business?

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

Reliance Group is looking at entering the cab aggregator business some time soon, or at the start of the FY2017-18 financial year, claim industry sources. Buoyed by the proliferation of the cab aggregator business in India perhaps, and with the participation of global and homegrown players like Uber and Ola, the business model Reliance is said to be looking at could be modelled on the lines of the Reliance Group’s telecom venture, Reliance Jio. In the absence of any official announcement by the group, it can be assumed that the move would set in motion a disruptive change. With the new regulations announced by the government and the view taken by many state governments towards cab aggregators – Ola and Uber especially, it will be interesting to see how the Reliance Group structures its cab aggregator strategy. Stress, claim industry sources, would be to find a strong foothold and grow.

Coming at a time when the two leading players, Ola and Uber, are finding new ways to make money, the Reliance business model, industry sources claim, will limit itself to cabs, atleast initially. With Ola and Uber said to be bleeding, the entry of Reliance Industries (RIL) could prove to be intresting. Especially when the Group is said to purchase its own cabs. Applications for drivers are claimed to be out. Drivers, claim Sources, will be paid more than what the current players are paying. An asset intensive business model, cabs, claim industry sources, are being bought from Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M). Assuming the service will roll of Mumbai, RIL, says an industry expert, will set change in motion.

Destiny’s ride


A Hindi movie of the early nineties, ‘Dil hai ke manta nahi’, turned out to be immensely popular. It had a simple, flowing story which revolves around two young souls. Pooja and Raghu (portrayed by Pooja Bhatt and Aamir Khan). Depicting a journey that is fraught with danger, excitement, drama and more, the story evolves as Pooja runs away from home. She is in love with an actor who is wooing her to fulfill his ulterior motives. Pooja’s father, a wealthy businessman, is aware, and keen to save his daughter of the trouble. On her way to Bangalore, Pooja comes across press reporter Raghu, as she boards a bus to meet her lover. The two ride the same bus. While Pooja is out to meet her lover Raghu is out to cover an assignment. The journey that follows is eventful, and draws the two closer. Pooja and Raghu eventually come to like each other, and fall in love.

The bus that Pooja and Raghu ride during their journey of the Tata make. It together is of Tata make. It seems to be a LPO 1510. Albeit in luxury guise with considerable rear overhang the bus in the movie depicts a luxury coach. Its considerable rear overhang suggests that it seats more people. The LPO 1510 couls seat up to 52 passengers depending upon the configuration of the seats.


In the movie, the bus is shown negotiating the picturesque ghats of National Highway four (NH4). It may be safely assumed that it is powered by a Tata 697 series engine. This engine was popular with bus operators in the mid 80s and early ninetees. It eventually went out of production, and replaced a Cummins engine. The 697 series however made a comeback in 2001, albeit in a revised form. The revised 697 range was turbocharged and Euro compliant. It was re-introduced in medium commercial vehicles, and made them price competitive. The Tata LPO 1510 chassis proved to be a popular choice with bus operators. In 2008, at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, a Long-Distance Variant (LDV) of a CNG LPO 1510 bus chassis was also launched. The LPO 1510 forward control bus platform was eventually upgraded to LP/LPO 1512. The LP/LPO 1512 continues to be a popular choice with bus operators. It continues to find favour with private and public bus operators.