By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles Ltd (VECV), a joint venture between global automobile giant Volvo and India’s Eicher Motors Limited, recently launched its next generation Pro series light and medium trucks and buses in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with its local trading partner, the Senok group.
“We are bringing the qualities of Eicher and Volvo together into VECV. At the end of the day, with this collaboration, we are able to put out a complete new range of products. This will cover a new segment in the mid-premium market,” VECV International Business Senior Vice President Emmanuel Levacher said.
The new products being introduced to Sri Lanka include the Eicher Pro 1000 Series light truck in the five to 14 tonne range, the Eicher Pro 3000 series in the range of 10 to 15 tonnes and the Eicher 20.15 Starline Heavy Duty Bus, with seating for 44 to 54 designed specifically for Sri Lanka.
While the 20.15 Starline Bus looks similar to the competitor buses currently operating in the Sri Lankan bus routes, Eicher has provided its Pro series trucks with improved cabs, both in terms of aesthetics and comfort.
“We also provide value for money, more driver and road user-friendly features and fuel efficiency. Our customers will have better profitability,” Levacher said.
He also added that the infrastructure development in Sri Lanka, similar to other developing markets, creates more demand for safety and fuel efficiency, which are catered by the technology developed by Volvo.
VECV currently has a 5 percent market share in Sri Lanka, and plans to further increase its share with vehicles optimized for the South Asian market.
“But in some segments, we have double digit market share. In light and medium buses we have a 17 percent market share and in heavy trucks an 11 percent market share,”Levacher said
Eicher has sold 108 units in 2013, 325 units in 2014 and aims to achieve a sales figure of 500 this year.
Levacher also said that VECV, through its 100 percent owned subsidiary VECV Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd will provide driver training in Sri Lanka and establish three new full-service centres in Kandy, Kurunegala and Anuradhapura, increasing the total to six, in addition to the 21 spare-part centres.
The Pro 1000 truck will be priced between Rs.2-3 million, while the Pro 3000 truck will cost around Rs.3-3.6 million.
Eicher currently exports to over 27 countries in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and South East Asia and has seen its growth double in recent years.