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Volvo Eicher has introduced a sub-five tonne light truck, the Eicher, in an effort to offer a profitable transport alternative to pick-ups.

Story by:

Ashish Bhatia

In what is looking like a strategy to expand the product spectrum, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles has launched a light, sub-five tonne truck called the Pro 1049. It is a part of the Eicher Pro 1000 Series, and is aimed at those who would ideally look up to a pick-up. Invading a territory that has been proliferating, especially with the advent of pick-ups that have grown out of small commercial vehicles, the Pro 1049 makes Volvo Eicher’s first such offering in the sub-five tonne (up to 4.9-tonne GVW) category. Built to cater to last mile connectivity across urban, semi-urban and rural landscape, the Pro 1049 is claimed to offer superior driving comfort. A forward control design, the Pro 1049 gives the impression of having been derived out of the Pro 1059 XP, which has a rated payload of 4.5-tonnes. The frontal appearance is quite similar to that of the Pro 1059 XP or it looks like. Termed as a mini truck with mega space, the Pro 1049 interestingly looks beyond pick-up trucks. It looks bent upon blurring the boundary between a pick-up and a LCV. Expected to play a role in inter and intra-city light-duty transportation, the Pro 1049 comes with a rated payload of 2.7-tonne.

Providing Volvo Eicher an opportunity to push down into the light-duty segments, the Pro 1049 comes at a time when the light commercial vehicles have turned positive. With the authorities coming down heavily on operators that flout loading rules, are likely to find the larger sized deck of the Pro 1049 promising, the cargo deck of the Pro 1049 measures 3068 mm in length and 1850 mm in width. Claimed to have the longest cargo deck length in the category, the Pro 1049 rides on the solid reputation built by Eicher trucks in the 9- to 16-tonne category. Its modern looks are in-line with the other modern Eichers out there. Stepping into a category that is no less crowded or competitive – for there is the Tata 407 pick-up as well, the Pro 1049 makes an interesting light truck for certain. It is a truck that can be used to transport a range of goods like food items, LPG cylinders, etc., that have a distinct rural and urban connect. Such items also call for an amount of quick transporting. The deck height of the Pro 1049 is 1357 mm, and makes for easier loading and unloading.

Riding on 7.00 x 16-inch tyres, the Pro 1049 employs a tilt and telescopic steering, which is claimed to offer easy manoeuvrability in a variety of traffic situations. The truck features semi-elliptic laminated leaf springs at either ends of both the axles for superior load carrying capability and low maintenance. Brakes are hydraulic. Aailable in BS III and BS IV guise, the Pro 1049 is powered by a 3.3-litre turbocharged inter-cooled two-valve four-cylinder diesel engine that does 95 bhp and produces 285 Nm of torque. The BS III engine is mechanically governed; the BS IV engine is electronically governed, and is of the common rail variety. Claimed to be frugal, either engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The direct linkages and cable shifts are claimed to reduce vibration and eliminate long gear shifting patterns to support an easy drive. Said Shyam Maller, Senior Vice President, VE Commercial Vehicles, that work is on to launch a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) variant in the next three to six months. This version will be targeted mainly at NCR, Mumbai and Ahmedabad in the wake of the revised regulations. The CNG variant is expected to be priced higher than the two diesel variants.

Offered with a three-year unlimited warranty on engine and gearbox, and a one-year unlimited kilometre warranty on the vehicle, the Pro 1049 is backed by a 40,000 km oil drain interval. The oil drain interval of the truck is claimed to be way ahead of the industry standards; ahead by a good 15,000 kms. Built at Volvo Eicher’s Pithampur plant, the Pro 1049, in the BS III guise is priced at Rs.7 lakh (ex-showroom). The BS IV variant is priced at Rs.8 lakh (ex-showroom), inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT). Targeting a 18 to 20 per cent market share in the sub-five tonne segment, Volvo Eicher is hoping for a gradual shift in the sub-five tonne commercial vehicle market. The current situation indicates a tilt towards offering more per truck. Given the situation, the Eicher Pro 1049 makes an interesting light truck indeed.

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