Hinduja Ashok Leyland introduces the user-friendly Dost in a low-key launch
The small, full-forward mini-pickup has become the visible face of the new Indian auto evolution—just like what the Maruti 800 and Omni vans managed about 20-30 years ago
There have been a lot of big-bang launches lately from the likes of Chevrolet and Ford. But what many might have missed is the rather low-key launch of the small goods- & people-carrier from Hinduja Ashok Leyland. Named the 'Dost', this lands up straight in Tata Ace territory, but with a bigger engine, bigger cabin, bigger tyres and bigger payload. The on-road cost, however, is close to that of the Tata Ace. And the man behind it, Dr V Sumantran, was there at Tata Motors for the Ace too. As Moneylife readers will know, this is a very interesting segment.
With the changing landscape in the non-Metro areas, this small all-products and passenger-carrier category, becomes an even more interesting upcountry vehicle. Take a drive anywhere in India and you will see how, from nowhere, the small full-forward cab kind of mini-pickup has become the visible face of automobile evolution in India-just like the Maruti 800 and Omni vans did about 20-30 years ago. Only, this lot, the Tata Ace, Hinduja AL Dost and similar vehicles, run on diesel and can lug a lot more. And retain resale value quite well, too.
Volvo trucks, which have an interesting joint venture with Eicher Motors for larger engines, are doing the same in India. After a decade and a bit more of a sort of monopoly in the luxury bus and high-powered trucks business, they are suddenly in the line of competition in this segment from India and abroad with Mercedes-Benz, MAN, Tata Daewoo Commercial, Hinduja Ashok Leyland—and that home-grown dark-horse, Asia Motor Works from Bhuj.
In a recent initiative, Volvo Eicher has tied up with specific engineering colleges in Mohali/Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Mysore to train young people in specific automobile fields. This is social responsibility with a vision and it is hoped that other manufacturers also do something similar soon, instead of constantly complaining about the lack of trained manpower.
More in Moneylife
TODAY'S TOP STORIES
Moneylife Foundation launches Legal Helpline and Resource Centre
What's your say?
What you said
Thanks for casting your votes! View Previous Polls