The Indian arm of the Italian automobile major, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd (PVPL), said in New Delhi on Wednesday that it would be introducing two new mini trucks in India by 2010. The move is a part of its efforts to emerge as a full range four-wheeler light commercial vehicle maker in a market in which it must take on entrenched giants including Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Unveiling his plans to have a significant presence in the light commercial vehicles segment, PVPL chairman and managing director Ravi Chopra said, "One has to grow the platform of four-wheelers. In the next two years we should be able to introduce variants of a sub-one tonne truck. The vision is to create another platform beyond the sub-one tonne but less than two tonnes by 2010."
The company has already introduced its sub-one tonne truck 'Ape Truk' in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and by March 2008 its pan-India roll out will be complete. "Next year we should be able to introduce 'Ape Truk Plus' which will cater to the upper end of the sub-one tonne segment," Chopra said.
With these efforts, the company hopes to tap the growing transportation sector.
The company is investing 60 million euros at its Baramati facility for a three-wheeler diesel engine facility, which will have a capacity of about 2 lakh units a year. The plant is expected to be operational by 2009. The facility will cater to the Indian market as well as the requirements of the Italian parent.
Piaggio has introduced CNG version of its three-wheeler cargo carrier 'Ape CNG' priced at Rs 1.4 lakh. The passenger carrier version will be unveiled soon with a price tag of Rs 1.3 lakh. In this segment, Piaggio will compete mainly with Bajaj Auto.
Referring to CNG driven three-wheeler, Chopra said, "We at Piaggio are truly passionate about offering the Indian customer a new benchmark in eco-friendly transportation. The Piaggio Ape CNG-three-wheeler is a product of advanced research at Piaggio's R&D centre in both Italy and India."
Asked about the possibility of the company making a re-entry into the two-wheeler segment, he said, "At present our plates are full and would like to concentrate on being the number one three-wheeler company."