VE Commercial Vehicles has introduced three new trucks to address the changing market requirements.

Story by:

Anirudh Raheja

& Bhushan Mhapralkar

VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) has introduced three new trucks in a span of one month. The first truck the company launched at the beginning of June in Delhi was the CNG version of their five-tonne Pro 1049. The two other trucks that the CV maker launched in late June at Mumbai were the heavy-duty 41-tonne Pro 6041 10×2 rigid truck and a 49-tonne Pro 6049 6×4 heavy-duty prime mover. With a wheelbase of 2750 mm, the Pro 1049 is the lightest and the smallest offering yet from VECV. Clever packaging results in the truck offering a substantial cargo deck area of 5.6 sq. m. considering the overall proportions of the truck. Powered by a E483 CNG engine that produces a peak power of 83 hp @ 3200 rpm and a peak torque of 230 Nm @ 1800 rpm, the truck is aimed at a segment that is currently dominated by pick-up trucks and SCVs. The application areas that the Pro 1049 CNG will target, include fruit and vegetables, milk, white goods, bottled water distribution, poultry, milk, beverages, and parcel couriers. If the 10 ft x 6ft cargo body dimensions should make the truck suitable for the above applications mentioned, the fact is, the Pro 1049 in the CNG guise will complement the good performance of the conventional 1049.

On offer in three versions – cab chassis, half body and high deck, according to Shyam Maller, Executive Vice President, LMD Trucks & Buses, VECV, the truck has been engineered to address the requirements of the market and help the operator to run a profitable business. Stating that the company has been successful in garnering 26 per cent market share and sold 3000 units last year posting 80 per cent growth, Maller said, “Demand for CNG trucks will come the green tax levied on diesel trucks.” Aimed at CNG intensive markets like Delhi NCR, which are a part of the ‘Clean Fuel Corridor’ being created by the government across the northern belt, the Pro 1049 CNG flaunts a modern, ergonomically well-designed cabin with tiltable and telescopic steering wheel. It also flaunts a dual tone dash, including a modern instrument panel (with 6-DIN multi-functional display), blower and premium beige interiors. The fuel tank capacity of the vehicle is 170-litres, and should make a good business prospect for ecommerce and food processing industry among others. Banking on CNG infrastructure that exists in the country, VECV, according to Maller, is hopeful of the CNG infrastructure expanding further to make inter-city movement of such trucks practical. Acknowledging rising competition, he averred that they are well placed.

The heavy-duty 41-tonne Pro 6041 10×2 rigid truck is the first to hit the Indian market by a CV manufacturer. Expected to present VECV with a front runner advantage, the heavy-duty truck should influence a migration from the currently best performing segment of 37-tonne by offering a higher payload of 28.5-tonnes. With a wheelbase of 6600 mm, the Pro 6041 comes with a twin tyre lift axle to offer a higher payload of up to 3.5-tonnes over a 37-tonne rigid truck. Drawing attention to features like M Booster, which enhances efficiency by providing different drive modes as per the load and need for power, Vinod Aggarwal, MD & CEO, VECV, expressed that they are creating a new segment with the Pro 6041. Stating that the heavy-duty truck market is growing very well on the basis of infra improvement, GST implementation (that has led to warehouse consolidation and increase in production), faster turnaround, higher operating speeds, and stricter implementation of anti-overloading norms, Aggarwal said,

the positive outlook and forecast for a good monsoon is indicative of disruptions having fallen behind. Averred Rama Rao AS, EVP – Sales, Marketing & Aftermarket, VECV, that the real Heavy Duty (HD) journey has just started.

Positioned as a value truck that offers cruise control and onboard fuel coaching as part of the Volvo Group engine management system EMS 3.0, which supports real-time fuel efficiency gains, the Pro 6041 is powered by a 250 hp, 7.7-litre diesel engine mated to a nine-speed ZF gearbox (with overdrive). Featuring an SCR-based exhaust aftertreatment system, the Pro 6041 is equipped with a modern four-point suspended cabin that is ergonomically well-engineered and pays attention driver comfort and convenience. Equipped with a blower unit, the truck reflects value truck vibes through a modern dash, comfortable and supportive seats. Said Rama Rao, that the Pro 6041 will help address the unique dynamics of the Indian market and the demographics. “The shift from 37-tonne 8×2 to a 41-tonne 10×2 truck is indicative of how adaptive and pragmatic the Indian operators are,” he added. Stating that the HD truck scenario has changed drastically, Rama Rao said that segmental shifts have been supporting a substantial addition in capacity. This, he mentioned, indicates that we as an industry are becoming more efficient. He pointed out that less number of people, less number of trucks, lower consumption of fuel per km will lead to significant efficiency gains. Informing that a silent revolution is under way with truck drivers at the core, Rama Rao drew attention to trucks that are idling because of the lack of drivers. “It is not about pay as much as it is about the environment the drivers work in. The demand for air-conditioned trucks is rising. Many features like these are coming in. They are leading to an improvement not only from a safety point of view but also from an environment point of view,” opined Rao.

The Pro 4091 6×4 prime mover from VECV is one of the many trucks the company offers with a chassis made of Domex steel. This variety of steel is light yet strong according to Aggarwal, and aids in helping the client to carry more load. If this is one of the reasons why VECV is claiming that its trucks are up to five per cent more fuel efficient. Powering the Pro 4091 is the same engine that propels the Pro 4061. It is mated to a nine-speed ZF 1110 TD gearbox. The rear axles are of the Meritor tandem variety with a single reduction gear. Sharing the modern and ergonomically well-designed cabin with the Pro 6041, the Pro 6049 comes across as a modern truck. A value offering to be precise. Both the trucks, the Pro 6041 and Pro 6049, exude an amount of modern touch. Reflecting a change that is taking place as the demand from basic trucks shifts to value trucks, the Pro 6049 aims at container, cement, stones, and various other segments, which demand efficient and time bound transportation. The four-point suspended cabin and a sleeper cab should appeal to the driver as well as the operator in terms of comfort and the ability to clock more kilometres in less time. The operator and driver would also count upon the reliability and efficiency of the truck for a sustainable operation.

Sporting a modern dash with an instrument panel, which presents a plethora of information at the finger-tip, the Pro 6049, apart from the M booster, also features cruise control and fuel coaching that advises the driver on how he could extract better efficiency and lower wear and tear. Equipped with a 350-litre fuel tank, the Pro 6049 is engineered to have a three-axle trailer of various varieties coupled to it, including tip trailers and bulkers. The truck has a gradability of 23 per cent. Revealing that customers are looking at more

data from trucks to improve profitability, Rama Rao informed that prime mover operators have fixed preferences. Stating that Eicher Live telematics is standard on Pro 6049 and Pro 6041, he expressed that the use of the such technologies is driving a significant change where the CV maker would know of a fault in the truck even before the driver is able to detect it. This, as a value add, could present an opportunity to inform the driver of the problem, help him to reach out to the nearest service station or call for service at site.

Leaving it to every heavy-duty BSIV truck to activate Eicher Live, the CV maker is looking at carving out a larger pie of the HD market in India.

Consistently doing 1000 units a month for the last few months, VECV, with the launch of the two new heavy duty trucks is looking at increasing the number to 1500. Stating that the Volvo Eicher joint venture is ten years old, Rao announced that a lot of work has happened. He stressed upon the engines produced by Volvo Eicher Powertrain joint venture, one of which powers the Pro 6041 and Pro 6049, and upon the development of truck cabins among other elements. Of the opinion that there is much scope for inclusion of new technologies, Rao said that the company will dial new technologies as and when it sees an opportunity. The customer continues to be price sensitive he added. Keen to buy a truck that is extremely reliable and efficient rather than technology, an Indian truck operator, according to Rao, is changing. “He is changing as new fields like ecommerce and agricultural supply chain turn into strong growth sectors,” opined Rao. Of the opinion that it is becoming easier to convince large fleet buyers and international players, which are bullish and looking at expanding the fleet, Rao said, “How goods are getting packaged, and moved at the end user will decide how quickly the market will move from a rigid truck to a tractor-trailer.”

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