Domestic heavy commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland on Monday announced a product blitzkrieg of 18 new trucks under its recently launched Captain series as it seeks to shrug off a protracted slowdown in the economy with sales sliding for 22 straight months.
The firm’s overall sales have declined 21% in this financial year so far with heavy trucks and buses suffering a 26% drop in sales.
The slowdown forced the company to lay off 500 employees through a voluntary retirement scheme last year and its factories are operating at 20-30% capacity utilisation. It expects the Captain series, its first new heavy-duty truck range in four years, to turn the tide.
“During the calendar year 2014, we plan to launch a total of 18 different types of trucks for different applications under the Captain range,” said Vinod K Dasari, managing director, Ashok Leyland.
“These trucks will be rolled out from our Pantnagar plant. We have developed this range on our own. As opposed to adapting an existing cabin design, we have designed and developed a new cabin family in-house. It meets international standards in ergonomics, design principles and performance standards,” Dasari added.
The Captain series will be available in 16-49 tonnes in various types such as tippers, tractors and haulage vehicles.
The fir m hopes demand will pick up over the next three months and it is ramping up its production capacity accordingly.