Nissan and commercial vehicle joint venture partner Ashok Leyland will have three new products ready for launch by the middle of next year and are already investigating export opportunities, according to the partners.

“The Indian LCV segment has robust growth over the past decade and by joining forces, we have created synergies to launch our products for this market on schedule – just three years after the formation of the JV,”  Andy Palmer, senior vice-president, Nissan Motor Company and chairman, Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles, told a news conference.

“This is an ambitious plan that will allow Ashok Leyland to expand its business at home and [in] the other markets.”

Two of the models will be produced at Ashok Leyland’s factory at Hosur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, while the third will be manufactured at the Renault-Nissan factory near Chennai, also in Tamil Nadu.

“We feel our products will help us deliver very competitive value to our customers,” said V Sumantran, executive vice-chairman, Hinduja Automotive – parent company of Ashok Leyland – and chairman Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain.

The Nissan-Ashok Leyland JV is among several companies seeking to benefit from an expanding Indian economy and the government’s move to strengthen the country’s infrastructure. The growth potential has led auto makers such as Daimler, Volvo, Navistar and MAN to either form alliances or directly sell their trucks and buses in India while domestic truck makers Tata, Eicher Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra are revamping their product ranges.

Total truck and bus sales rose 38% in the fiscal year ended 31 March to 531,395 vehicles, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Of this, light truck sales climbed 45% to 251,916 units.

The Ashok Leyland-Nissan joint venture vehicles will have a load carrying capacity of 5-7.5 tonnes and will carry either Ashok Leyland or Nissan badges.

Separately, Ashok Leyland said on Friday its total vehicle sales more than trebled to 6,502 units in May.

Domestic sales surged to 5,973 units compared with 1,697 in May 2009 while exports nearly doubled to 529 units, it told Reuters.