Its about tippers

Q & A

Siddharth Kirtane,

Head – Sales & Marketing, Value Trucks, Mining Business, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd.

Interview by: Ashish Bhatia

Q. How has the Pro 6000 tipper series evolved in line with the BSIV norms enforcement?

A. The Pithampur plant has been exporting EuroIV and EuroV engines to Volvo Trucks and other (Volvo Group) brands since four years now. In terms of technology, Eicher engines were upgraded to comply with BSIV emission norms much before the respective norms came into effect. In the case of Pro 6000 and Pro 8000 series tippers, we are using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to meet BSIV emission norms. At VE Commercial Vehicles (Eicher), we have already sold 100 units catering to different applications and across segments.

Q. Was it just the inclusion of SCR technology that made the trucks BSIV emission norms compliant?

A. We adopted globally proven SCR technology to meet the BSIV emission norms. SCR technology is one of the most advanced and fuel-efficient technologies that can reduce diesel engine emissions (PM and NOx to near zero levels). In the SCR system, the exhaust gases are treated outside the engine and in the exhaust system. This paves the way for the engine to run in an optimised manner, and leads to enhanced reliability and significant improvement in fuel efficiency as compared to a BSIII engine. The SCR after-treatment works such that a liquid-reducing agent is injected through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine. The reducing source is usually automotive grade urea, also known as AdBlue or AUS32. AdBlue (urea) sets off a chemical reaction that converts nitrogen oxide into nitrogen, water and tiny amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is later expelled through the vehicle tailpipe.

Q. Have the prices risen due to the upgrade to BSIV emission norms?

A. Compliance to BSIV emission norms means the exhaust gas emitted by the vehicle should adhere to the specified limit (3.5 g/kWh) as per the Central Motor Vehicle Rules. To comply with the norms, certain design and technology changes to the engine, fuel injection system, catalyst, filters, sensors, etc., were necessary, and have been done. We are looking at a five to 10 per cent price increase across the Pro 6000 and Pro 8000 series tippers.

Q. Was there any inventory impact due to the transition to BSIV emission standards?

A. It is not unusual or abnormal to be left with an inventory at a certain point in time. There will always be some inventory in the channel. It is a regular phenomenon – to have three weeks to a month worth of inventory. We were left with around 2,000 units. It will be easy for us to export at least 50 per cent of our inventory and convert the remaining to BSIV standards.

Q. How have you leveraged the synergies with Volvo Group as you export engines?

A. Pro s eries is designed and developed with the Volvo Group processes and technology. It also seeks synergies with Eicher’s frugal engineering abilities and local expertise. The VEDX5 and VEDX8 engines have been designed and developed in collaboration with the Volvo Group, and use the latest Engine Management System (EMS) and after-treatment system.

Q. In terms of customer support, what preparations did you do as part of the move to BSIV?

A. At Eicher, we are constantly increasing and upgrading our service network. In our dealer development program, we create awareness as well as ensure necessary steps are undertaken to increase competency levels may it be the move up to BSIV emission norms or for any other service requirement.

Q. How useful are the customers finding the Eicher Live fleet management solution?

A. The ‘Eicher Live’ fleet management solution offers class leading features with uptime management as one of the core services. It plays a crucial role in providing proactive uptime support to the customer. The uptime services in turn enable the service team to proactively schedule and plan repair and maintenance activities. The truck is thus optimised for higher revenue generation. The proactive services enable us to identify faults generated by the vehicle and schedule preventive maintenance. This leads to fewer unplanned stops. The service team is also better prepared to attend to the customer needs. In an unlikely event of breakdown assistance, the service team is well prepared. Availability of specific diagnostics information (fault codes) enables it to arrange for the right parts, tools and the right technicians to minimise downtime. The dynamic service reminders in case of mining trucks ensure a change in vehicle utilisation in-line with the customer needs.

Q. How was the performance of Pro 6000 and Pro 8000 series in FY2016-17? What is your expectation for growth in the current fiscal?

A. With Pro series tippers, in the mining segment, we increased our market share to 21 per cent in FY2016-17. Growth has been phenomenal till date, and in-line with the robust performance of the tipper segment. The Eicher market share stands at five per cent across different tonnage, power range and segments (applications). Our market share varies between 10 per cent to 12 per cent. The tipper segment drove heavy commercial vehicle sale last fiscal. The Total Industry Volume (TIV) grew by 27 per cent on account of construction, quarry, infrastructure and core sector projects such as road, ports, irrigation, railways and smart cities. However, demand on mining side was little subdued due to lower off-take of coal coupled with skewed demand for cement. In mining trucks segment, we have increased our market share to 21 per cent in FY2016-17. Eicher achieved a growth of 12.5 percent in volume terms, at more than 58,000 units against 52,000 units during the last financial year. The industry, in comparison, grew four per cent. Over the short-term, we see some challenges, and mainly due to pre-buying and customer postponing the decision to purchase due to the need for clarity of taxation upon GST implementation. Over the long term, demand is expected to pick up on account of the on-going infrastructure development initiatives, stricter enforcement of regulatory norms especially related to vehicle length for certain applications and the overloading ban. We expect to witness a growth of eight to 10 per cent. With wide range of tippers (from 16- to 31-tonnes), and tailor made offerings for various segments (applications), we are well placed to tap the rising potential in the construction and mining (tippers) industry. With the massive infrastructural push announced by the government for the financial year 2017-18, and the highest ever budget allocation of four-trillion across infrastructure sectors announced in the union budget, we expect the tipper market to touch 65,000 numbers in FY2017-18. We will continue to strengthen our position in the heavy-duty truck market,

Q. What are the export volumes like for the Pro 6000 and Pro 8000 series tippers?

A. Our exports volumes have improved over time. In FY2016-17, we recorded the highest ever export volumes at over 8000 units as compared to the export of 6512 units in the last fiscal. We command a strong presence in South Asia, and in some countries in Africa and the Middle East. We plan to leverage the distribution network of Volvo Group in Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and in Latin America to drive exports. The new products that are being revealed now will also be adapted for export markets.

Trendline

The tipper segment drove heavy commercial vehicle sale last fiscal. The Total Industry Volume (TIV) grew by 27 per cent.

VECV: Meeting BSIV with EGR and SCR

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Meeting BSIV emission norms with EGR and SCR technology, VE Commercial Vehicles has launched the Pro 5000 Series.

Story by:

Bhushan Mhapralkar

Eicher Trucks & Buses, a part of VE Commercial Vehicles Limited, has employed Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to meet the BSIV emission norms. The SCR technology has found its way into the heavier Pro 6000 Series and Pro 8000 Series trucks. The Pro 5000 Series trucks that the company recently launched in Mumbai employs EGR technology in combination with Volvo’s EMS 3.0 electronic governing architecture. Filling the gap, and turning VE Commercial Vehicles into a full range player according to Vinod Aggarwal, Managing Director & CEO, the Pro 5000 Series trucks range from 16-tonne to 49-tonnes. Found in 4×2 tipper and rigid haulage guise; 8×4 haulage guise, and in 4×2 tractor guise among others, the Pro 5000 Series, is powered by a common-rail 5.7-litre six-cylinder (E694) engine that produces between 170 hp and 192 hp depending on the application type.

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Sporting the Pegasus business grille and twin round head lamp design, which marks a departure from the single unit clear-lens assembly design found on other Pro Series trucks, the Pro 5000 Series is claimed to offer unmatched reliability and optimised operational cost. Expressed Aggarwal, “With the introduction of Pro 5000 Series, we have come to offer the widest range of heavy-duty trucks. The Pro 5000 is available at different price points, and is equipped with intelligent features like fuel coaching and cruise control.” Stressing upon competitive acquisition cost of the Pro 5000 Series trucks, Aggarwal mentioned that they recorded good growth last fiscal. It were more than the industry average.

Faster growth

In FY2016-17, VE Commercial Vehicles performed well. Despite being a challenging year, the company recorded a 12.6 per cent growth against the industry growth of four per cent. Tight planning on inventory, said Aggarwal, helped minimise the impact of the Apex Court’s order to stop the sale of BSIII vehicles from April 01, 2017. VE Commercial Vehicles produced only 2500 units after demonetisation. It was left with 1000 BSIII units in the plant and some 400 to 500 units with the dealers when the court order was issued. A decision to export or convert the BSIII vehicles has been taken, averred Aggarwal. Posting 50 per cent growth in HCVs, 33 per cent growth in MCVs, and 17.5 per cent growth in buses, the company exported 8,500 vehicles last fiscal, an increase of 25 per cent. Informing that the company has introduced a 180 hp bus powered by the E694 engine also found on Pro 5000 Series trucks, Aggarwal opined, “The market feedback we have received is that our bus gives higher fuel efficiency.” It has been sometime now that VE Commercial Vehicles has been increasing its STU exposure. It has supplied buses to KSRTC, BMTC, MSRTC, and Gujarat and Telangana transport undertakings according to Aggarwal. If the captive bus body building plant at Pithampur is proving to be advantageous, access to Volvo technology is also proving to be of much help. The VE Commercial Vehicles joint venture between Eicher and Volvo will turn nine on July 2017, and the EMS 3.0 governing system found on the Pro 5000 Series trucks is a reflection of Volvo technology percolating into VE Commercial Vehicles.

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Powering the heavier Pro 6000 and Pro 8000 Series Eicher trucks are 5-litre and 8-litre engines that are produced by VE PowerTrain (VEPT), a joint venture company between Eicher and Volvo with a plant at Pithampur. The plant replicates the production systems that are in place at the Skovde engine plant of Volvo in Sweden. The engines produced at VEPT plant are also supplied to Volvo locations the world over, and in a form that makes them Euro6 compliant. The engines made at VEPT also find their way into Volvo’s other group entities like Volvo Penta.

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Volvo tech for superior performance

If the EMS 3.0 governing system in the Pro 5000 Series trucks is reflective of Volvo technology percolating into VE Commercial Vehicles, the technology is also helping the CV maker deliver products that promise best in class efficiency. Expressed Aggarwal, “Technologies like EMS 3.0 present the company with a big advantage.” Quipped Gill, that they were the first to introduce cruise control in 2014. When VE Commercial Vehicles was established nine years ago, the Eicher product range that was transferred from Eicher Ltd. to the joint venture company were essentially CVs that employed Mitsubishi technology. With the participation of Volvo, these legacy products were upgraded and turned around to offer a superior experience, reliability, efficiency and low cost of operation. The E694 engine interestingly employs a bit of legacy technology, a bit of UD technology and a bit of Volvo technology claimed sources close to the company. If that provides an interesting insight into the ways of working at VE Commercial Vehicles, it is easier to understand the claim made by Gill that technology and emission norms are not new to them. “We looked at trucks running more, and earning more. As technology leaders, we have installed Eurodip paint tech and robotic welding line for the manufacture of cabins at Pithampur,” mentioned Gill, The Pro 5000 Series of trucks are available with a fully built cabin (long-haul trucks like the Pro 5031 come with a sleeper cabin), and a rolling chassis (cowl). Telematics is optional, and also the M-Booster technology, which is claimed to further enhance fuel efficiency according to Gill.

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Increasing efficiency and performance

VE Commercial Vehicles overhauled the parts distribution network to up efficiency and performance even as it continues to launch new products with the view of addressing the exacting needs of the market. Said Gill, “Over 97 per cent of the parts are shipped the same day. Over 98 per cent of our trucks have delivered on the fuel efficiency promise.” “Our vehicles offer 97 per cent uptime,” he stressed upon. Offering features like fuel coaching and cruise control, which are claimed to reduce driver fatigue and inform the driver and the operator about fuel efficiency, the Pro 5000 Series, it is clear, is a step forward by VE Commercial Vehicles to increase medium and heavy commercial vehicle market penetration. With GST expected to roll out in July, and if delayed, by September 2017, the year ahead looks challenging for the CV industry. VE Commercial Vehicles continues to be confident of growing faster than the industry. To achieve greater market reach, the company, said Gill, has invested in 250 GPS connected breakdown repair vans, and a dial-a-part call centre. The company has 151 3S dealers, 13 2S facilities, and 23 SPD and 160 EGP facilities as part of its network to support its clients.

With BSIV CVs expected to call for better dealer support, what with OBD systems on board, VE Commercial Vehicles is looking at addressing the exacting needs of the CV market. In the wake of rapid changes the market is experiencing, customer expectations are changing. As a full range player, for VE Commercial Vehicles, AMCs and re-built engines, and gearboxes, will matter as the need for up-time rises. The Pro 5000 Series trucks reflect not just upon VE Commercial Vehicles’ capabilities, and its journey into the future, they also reflect upon how the Indian CV industry is changing.

Eicher trucks and buses available with AMT technology

Eicher Trucks & Buses, part of VE Commercial Vehicles Limited, has announced the introduction of AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) technology in its CVs. The technology has been adapted from Wabco’s OptiDrive technology, and saw the involement of Wabco in the development of AMTs. Introduced in 20.15BS4 HD bus, Pro 3016 and Pro Skyline Midi as of current, the AMT technology includes a two-pedal layout with auto gearshift. Increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions, AMT, automatically shifts gears and operates clutch actuation at optimal speed. Freeing driver of frequent gear-shifting, reducing stress and fatigue, the AMT, apart from elongating clutch life, offers hill start assist. Available with optimised gearsift strategy, the AMT technology on offer, enhances safety. Said Vinod Aggarwal, MD & CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles, “The introduction of AMT technology, apart from fuel efficiency, will also improve comfort, safety and efficiency. These are the most critical aspects of driving these days.” VE will soon offer AMT technology in its complete range of LMD and HD buses (from 9T to 16T) and medium duty haulage truck application.

Eicher partners with IOCL for diver empowerment

In what is regarded as an industry-first, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) and Eicher Trucks and Buses (a division of VE Commercial Vehicles) tied- up to introduce Driver Pragati Kendra at Manesar, Delhi. Designed to empower the driver, the facility at Manesar is a IOCL COCO outlet. It has been customised to offer a complete solution that addresses fatigue management, road safety and shares best practices for driving profession. The Driver Pragati Kendra will also help induct commercial vehicle drivers within the realms of respectable society by giving them access to basic amenities. Driver Pragati Kendra has been designed to offer dormitory accommodation, bathing and washing areas, and laundry facilities Food is offered at subsided rates. There are recreational facilities too apart from an access to cash vending machines. With demand for skilled truck drivers poised to increase against the current situation of acute driver shortage, the Driver Pragati Kendra initiate is expected to play a crucial role in addressing the need gap. It would focus on educating the drivers, and at the same time, improve their health.

Pankaj Dubey is the CEO of Eicher Polaris

Eicher Polaris, a 50:50 joint venture between Eicher Motors and Polaris Industries Inc, has announced the appointment of Pankaj Dubey as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He succeeds Radhesh C Verma, and will continue to be the Managing Director apart from being the CEO of the company. Dubey’s appointment comes at a time when the company is about to introduce a slew of new products. Claimed to have been built with an investment of Rs.350 crore in 2012, Eicher Polaris is currently offering a four-wheeled vehicle called the Multix. It is similar to a mini pick-up truck with a twin-cab configuration. The PTO makes for a vertsatile arrangement, and the Multix can power agricultural euipment like water pumps. The Multix is priced at Rs.2.32 lakh (ex-showroom Jaipur). For attractive financing options, Eicher Polaris has tied up with Bank of India (BOI). Buyers of Multix can approach 4900 branches of BOI.

Sales for VECV

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Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV) sells 4843 units in September 2016. It recorded a growth of 14 per cent with 4248 units in September 2015. The sold units include 4734 units of Eicher brand and 109 units of the Volvo brand. In the domestic Commerical Vehicle market, Eicher branded trucks and buses recorded sales of 4148 units in September 2016 as compared to 3452 units in September 2015 representing a growth of 20.2 per cent. On the exports front, Eicher branded trucks and buses recorded sales of 586 units in September 2016 as compared to 595 units in September 2015. Volvo trucks recorded sales of 109 units in September 2016 as compared to 201 units in September 2015.

Eicher Pro 8000 finds takers in the heavy tipper segment

After its introduction at the Excon construction equipment fair at Bangalore in December last year, the Eicher Pro 8000 has been finding good acceptance in the heavy-duty tipper segment. Priced in the region of Rs.45 lakh, the tipper, claimed to be based on the Volvo Asia truck platform, is finding takers on the back of the fresh investments the construction and mining industry is attracting. Promising superior fuel efficient and higher productivity, the Pro 8000 tipper is also promising reliability, driver comfort and safety. Powered by a 280 hp, 8-litre electronically governed engine mated to a nine-speed transmission, the Pro 8000 features a cab that is aerodynamic and ergonomic, and meets the stringent European cab safety standard of ECE R29 cab strength tests including front impact and roof strength tests. Aimed at the emerging mid-premium category in heavy-duty tippers, the Pro 8000 has powerful service brakes with ABS, and superior exhaust brakes for down-hill operation. Two stage differential lock on wheel and axles prevents the vehicle from skidding on slippery roads. Anti-roll bar on front and rear axle offer better stability. Complying with the safety requirement prescribed by DGMS, the Pro 8000 is fitted with advanced telematics for real-time tracking and efficient fleet management.