Tata Motors has overtaken the long-time industry leader Ashok Leyland to become the No 1 bus brand in fiscal 2017.
Mumbai: Tata Motors expects volumes, led by light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and buses, to grow by 10- 15 per cent in fiscal 2018 aided by a favourable GST rate and the monsoons, which is forecast to be normal.
The company will also create a new segment in the bus market with an AMT (automatic manual transmission) version shortly, apart from launching an AMT version of its premium pick-up Xenon.
"We led the LCV growth by more than doubled the industry growth rate last financial year clipping at 22 per cent volume. We're confident of this trend continuing in fiscal 2018 as well, and overall I see Tata Motors driving the industry volumes by clocking 10-15 per cent growth," executive director, commercial vehicle business unit, Ravi Pisharody told PTI here today.
As against this, the industry lobby Siam has forecast a 4-6 per cent growth in fiscal 2018 for the commercial vehicles segment. Tata Motors has overtaken the long-time industry leader Ashok Leyland to become the No 1 bus brand in fiscal 2017. In 2016-17, Tata Motors' bus volumes (medium and heavy segment) grew by 22 per cent to 18,198 units from 14,917 units a year ago.
On the contrary, Ashok Leyland, saw its bus sales declining by 10 per cent to 17,725 units against 19,586 units. For fiscal 2017, Tatas' cumulative sales stood at 5,42,561 units, up 6 per cent over 5,11,705 vehicles sold in 2015-16. During the year, the bus market (medium and heavy) grew by 8 per cent to 47,262 units.
Tata and Leyland together dominate the market with a combined market share of about 76 per cent, with Tatas commanding around 40 per cent now.
"We added almost 7 percentage points to our market share in the year", Pisharody said, adding "as our volumes clipped 26 per cent in the IMHCV (intermediate, medium & heavy commercial vehicle) bus category."
He said this was driven primarily by orders from state transport undertakings. During the year, it bagged an order for over 1,500 buses from Uttar Pradesh, around 870 from Rajasthan and Haryana and 630 from Andhra.
On exports, Pisharody refused to hazard an estimate saying it depends a lot on external factors. In fiscal 2017, its bus exports improved marginally to 5,650 units from 5,142 units, while Leyland's declined massively to to 4,877 units from 6,135 units. On the AMT buses, Pisharody said the move is following the better prospects for the bus market.
"We will very shortly launch an AMT version of Ultra range bus. We are also planning an AMT version of the Xenon pickups, which will be shipped to Australia from this month."
He said the new Xenon has been received well in the domestic market with over 1,000 units sales so far and expects sales to touch 1,500 shortly Pisharody also claimed an AMT bus and pick-up is a first for the domestic industry.
When asked about any plans for an AMT version of for LCVs and trucks, he answered in the affirmative saying, the company is working on such plans as well. On new launches for the year, Pisharody said its runaway success mini pickup Ace will have a range of slightly larger bodies.
Ace Magic and Ace Zip will shortly have longer bodies of 8.2 feet from the present 7 feet as customers are looking for larger carrying capacity. These will be launched next month itself. Similarly, its new truck Yodha from the Prima range will come with double cabins shortly, Pisharody said.
On GST, he said, sales should pick up after July when the new tax regime is rolled out and since the rates are likely to be 28 per cent it should aid sales. The present VAT excise duties average at 30-32 per cent, he added.