Hinduja group flagship Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor on Monday said they would jointly build a new-generation Nissan Atlas F24 light truck for launch in India. A separate, co-owned, engine company will develop engines for light trucks, while a third company will engage in research and development.
This will be Nissan’s second venture in India’s light truck segment after the Allwyn Nissan Cabstar, a light truck manufactured in collaboration with the Mahindras. India’s truck makers sold 486,000 trucks, or 5.5 per cent of the total vehicle sales in 2007-08, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
The truck would be one of three platforms to be built for India by Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles, one of the three joint venture companies to be set up by the two companies. Ashok Leyland will hold 51 per cent in the truck-making arm, while Nissan Motors will own the rest. Nissan is Japan’s third largest maker of passenger vehicles and trucks.
The plan, announced late last year, is part of Nissan’s global play in light trucks. "We see India emerging as an important hub in Nissan's global footprint," Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motors told the Japanese media last year.
Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain, the engine manufacturing company, will develop the new engine specifically for light trucks as part of the range of Euro 3 and Euro 4 compliant diesel engines. Nissan will hold 51 per cent in Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain, and Ashok Leyland will hold the rest.
The total investment in all three companies will be Rs 2,300 crore ($575 million). The truck making plant will involve a capacity of 100,000 in the first phase, to be scaled up later. The plant is expected to start production from 2010-11.