Commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland launched its first passenger vehicle in Mumbai today. Called the Stile, the MPV is a result of a 50-50 joint venture between Ashok Leyland and Nissan. The vehicle is basically a re-skinned Nissan Evalia MPV that was launched a year ago in India. Compared to the Evalia, the Stile gets a different front end on the outside as well as redone interiors that are surprisingly good in terms of fit and finish on the car we were shown.
With a starting price of Rs. 7.49 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai), the Stile costs about Rs. 1.20 lakh less than the equivalent Evalia and aims to compete against a wide range of MPVs that includes the Rs. 5 lakh Chevrolet Enjoy, the Mahindra Xylo and the current king of the segment, the Toyota Innova. But unlike these, the Stile is squarely targeted at fleet operators and will be sold through Ashok Leyland’s commercial vehicle dealerships.
The Ashok Leyland badge may discourage private customers from purchasing the Stile but Ashok Leyland is viewing them as a bonus and isn’t counting on them to meet their targets. Despite this, the top-of-the-line model is reasonably well equipped with dual tone interiors, a music system and alloys wheels.
As part of its core strategy, Ashok Leyland is promoting the MPV as one that concentrates on utility rather than luxury. According to Dr. Sumantran, Vice-Chairman, Hinduja Automotive, “The Stile is a product that uses both, Ashok Leyland’s experience in keeping operational costs low and Nissan’s experience with private automobiles in improving the fit and finish”. He also mentioned that the Stile’s ECU has been further tuned to improve fuel economy and drivability of the Renault DCi engine that powers this MPV and this has helped the Stile achieve an ARAI certified economy of 19.5kpl (0.2kpl more than the Evalia).
The Stile is part of a Rs. 1200 crore phase 1 investment programme that is responsible for making the small Dost LCV, and the soon-to-be introduced, Partner LCV. The company also plans to launch a CNG variant of the Stile in the near future.
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