Van Major Force Motors has come off a good second quarter of the fiscal (Q2FY23). Ashish Bhatia shares how with the delivery timelines set for the Force URBANIA panel van, the company is setting itself up for growth in the second half of the fiscal (H2-FY2023).

Setting aside the Covid-19-induced, delayed commercialisation of the T1N monocoque panel van, the company earlier today invited dealers from both India and abroad to visit a new state-of-the-art facility, in Indore. The dealers were given a test ride of the T1N that the company has named ‘URBANIA’. A marquee project for the company, it brings in a new platform with many segment firsts. First showcased at the Auto Expo 2020, in both a diesel and EV guise has since resulted in high anticipation built upon with test rides of the URBANIA spotted on the Pune-Mumbai expressway. The company has confirmed that the serial production has now commenced at the new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility specially created for the new platform. The first lot of vehicles will be shipped to dealerships in the coming fortnight. The pan India prices (Ex-showroom) of the URBANIA start from Rs.28.99 lakh.

The medium wheel base (3615mm) variant seating 13 excluding the driver has priced at Rs.28.99 lakh. The long wheelbase (4400mm) variant seating 17 excluding driver has priced at Rs.31.25 lakh and the short wheelbase (3350mm) variant seating 10 excluding driver is priced at Rs.29.50. To be made available across the country in the metros and mini-metros, the company in phase 1 has an installed capacity of 1000 vehicles per month which can be increased up 2000 vehicles per month.

Bringing in segment firsts
The URBANIA is claimed to be the first vehicle in this category in India to offer crash and rollover compliance with airbags for driver and co-driver as a testimony to the OEM going beyond the current Indian legislation that is known to not mandate them. In addition, URBANIA comes with large ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels with ESP, ABS, EBD, and ETDC to offer a high degree of safety for its passengers. Prasan Firodia, Managing Director at Force Motors in the past had expressed high expectations from both the domestic and international markets. Having developed the van with global aspirations from the very beginning, the design is protected for plying in select markets of the Middle East, Africa, ASEAN and South America where the company expects it to be received as an excellent value proposition vis a vis high premium products like the Sprinter from Europe, Far East and USA. No wonder, the creation and development of this ground-up modular monocoque van and the setting up of new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities have had the company commit a total investment of over Rs.1000 crore.

The Van is known to have had the Force Motors team working on the development of URBANIA with extensive consultation with leading technology specialists, and domain experts across the globe, in Italy, Spain, the UK, Germany, Japan, and the USA to improve, refine and validate this platform made in India, and match international performance expectations, shared Firodia. The URBANIA has the teamwork on the next generation, international styling, and body design to position it in the same league as leading international offerings. It brings along segment first, signature Day Running LEDs (DRLs), first-in-segment projector lamps, and first-in-segment tail lamps with light guide technology expected to draw upon second looks. The two-box construction of the platform helps to keep the engine fully outside ensuring the lowest NVH levels in the passenger compartment. For the first time in this segment, the van features an independent front suspension with transverse springs to give it superior, best-in-class ride quality.
The chassis and drivetrain
The next-generation modular monocoque panel van platform, in a segment first, is claimed to comply with the crash, rollover, and pedestrian safety regulations with driver and co-driver airbags mentioned above. It also offers the first in-segment, ergonomically designed cockpit with a carlike steering wheel with tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column. The URBANIA is powered by the Mercedes-derived 115 hp, BSVI-compliant, Common Rail Diesel (CRD) engine claimed to develop a peak-rated torque of 350 Nm over a wide range starting from 1400-2200 rpm. It also offers all-wheel disc brakes and an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) to detect vehicle skidding movements and counteract them. The ABS helps steer the vehicle in emergencies by restoring traction on the tyres. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution caters to the extent of braking needs on individual tyres. With Electronic Throttle Control (ETDC), the vehicle offers fuel economy, emissions, drivability, and safety.

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