Ashok Leyland's new Stile, unveiled in India this week, is a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) based on a Nissan NV200 variant called the Evalia made locally.

The Stile was developed by the Ashok Leyland-Nissan Motor joint venture and is made at Nissan’s Oragadam plant, the Hindu Business Line reported.

“We are systematically filling in the right slots of our fast growing light commercial vehicles business. This is the second baby from our joint venture… the first was the Dost. Despite the current downtrend, we are still bullish about commercial vehicle growth and demand,” Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain chairman V Sumantran said.

“We remain confident as ever for the need for mobility. We are staying on course for our range of products,” he added, without divulging details of sales targets, pricing strategies or whether exports would be immediately looked at.

The Stile, which seats seven to eight people, is positioned mainly to handle commercial use demand such as hotel shuttles, taxis, panel vans, courier services and inter-city travel.

Ashok Leyland chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said more new products would follow, also aimed mainly at the light commercial vehicle segment.

“We identified the need for a modern, efficient people-mover. The light commercial vehicle segment constitutes nearly 55% of the commercial vehicle industry. After Stile, we have the Partner and so on,” said Hinduja.

Sumantran dismissed suggestions that the Ashok Leyland-Nissan joint venture’s practice of sharing vehicles on the same platform would result in cannibalisation of each other.

“People will not get confused between the Stile and Nissan’s Evalia. They cater to two very different customer segments and we make sure it stays that way,” he said.

Talking about the joint venture’s decision to eventually start a greenfield manufacturing project, Sumantran said it was still on the cards.