INDIA: Ashok Leyland eyes new MUV to compete with Toyota's Innova
With the demand for multi-seater personal vehicles on the rise in India, Ashok Leyland is looking to launch a seven to eight-seater vehicle in the next two years.
The Indian truckmaker will base the vehicle on its partner Nissan's NV 200 van.
The move comes in the wake of increasing demand for such vehicles exemplified by Toyota's Innova whose September sales of 4,765 units more than doubled from the same period a year ago.
The growth is even more impressive when taken into account the fact that Toyota Kirloskar Motors is facing production constraints.
Hinduja Automotive's executive vice chairman V Sumantran echoed these sentiments saying: "The demand for the Innova has defined the overall demand for such vehicles in India. The way people travel has completely changed in India in the past few years.
"There used to be a Tata Sumo, which got replaced by Toyota's top-selling Qualis, which eventually made way for the Innova. Today, there is a waiting period for the Innova, which sells close to 5,000 units every month."
While a prototype of the new car could be ready by the international motor show in New Delhi next January, an official launch is expected to take at least over a year.
Sumantran said: "We will have a common platform but they would be expressed differently, with different styling, different content and different positioning. We will target more towards commercial users, while Nissan will target more of personal users.
"If we take the Innova, for example, a lot of people use it for family transport and some others as a tourist car and as taxis.
"There will be some time between the launches of the two companies (Leyland and Nissan). So, we are looking at a couple of years for launch, for us."
The new vehicle is expected to be priced in the Mahindra Xylo range, below Innova.