22 March 2018

Interaction-P Ravishankar, EVP-Sales, Mktg & aftermarket, VE Commercial Vehicles

At Eicher, we believe that the point of sale is only the beginning of the relationship

Eicher Trucks & Buses, a leading brand from VE Commercial introduced its new Pro Series of trucks offering higher productivity, better uptime, lower maintenance and lower project costs. P RAVISHANKAR, EVP-SALES, MARKETING & AFTERMARKET, VE COMMERCIAL VEHICLES spoke to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES about the new product additions and his company’s agenda to strengthen business.


Could you brief us on your range of off highway equipment offerings and their applications?

VECV (VE Commercial Vehicles) has been growing from strength to strength, outpacing the industry across various segments and gaining market share with breakthrough products and a lean business model. With synergies being established between the world class technology of Volvo Group and Eicher Motors’ frugal engineering, an entire new range of trucks and buses have been introduced that are modern, cost-efficient and more productive.

ETB (Eicher Trucks and Buses) have also made strong inroads into heavy-duty trucks segment of 16T-49T with their "VE" series of Fuel Efficient heavy-duty trucks, and the next generation Eicher Pro Series of Heavy Duty Trucks

Eicher Pro Series

The all new product range, the "Eicher Pro'' series follows the new brand philosophy - "Go Pro"; that is to give Indian trucking a truly professional offering which will lead to higher productivity, profitability and prosperity for the customer. Adopted as a professional and holistic approach to modernise the Indian trucking industry, Eicher's new Pro series trucks promise to deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency higher superior uptime and overall vehicle life time profitability. Eicher has always been present in mining and construction equipment with its Terra range of tippers. We have increased our focus on mining and construction with our new range of Eicher Pro Series Tippers in the 220 to 330 HP range. With the new Pro Series range of Mining and Construction Tippers, we now have an offering which is set to revolutionise these two industries where higher productivity, better uptime, lower maintenance and lower project costs are of paramount importance.

For road construction we have a wide range of solutions which can be deployed in different applications which are involved. As most of these projects are driven by deadlines Eicher Pro 6025T with 220 HP and 850 Nm torque is an appropriate solution for construction companies which are looking for improved productivity and high uptime. These tippers are deployed in aggregate movement and earthworks. For more demanding applications Pro 8025T with hub reduction is also available. In Terra range we have Terra 16 and Terra 25, 16t and 25t tippers respectively which can also be used for highway applications. We also offer special chassis for movement of RMC which are also deployed in some projects where concrete roads are made.

In mining our offerings are now relevant to a much larger cross-section of the market; beyond coal and iron ore overburden. We are catering to a broad-base of mining operations in Limestone, China Clay, Sand etc besides of course coal and Iron ore. We launched the Eicher PRO 8031XM in EXCON 2015 which is designed keeping in mind a variety of mining applications and operating conditions in the mines, overburden or coal transportation suitable for both flat roads or gradients and long leads or short leads. Equipped with fuel efficient driveline, robust chassis, advanced telematics and world class cabin; the Eicher Pro 8031XMis built in collaboration with Volvo Group with a vision to provide premium experience at value. In the current wave of revival, key contractors and transporters in the sector are open to change their past preferences of products. They have an overall lifetime profitability perspective and are looking for trucks with higher fuel efficiency and durability. In the last 15 months of its focus in the Mining Sector, the Eicher Pro series has demonstrated its ability to deliver top of the line fuel efficiency and uptime upwards of 95 per cent.


Tell us of the new products you intend to introduce and the geographical markets where you are planning to push them?

VECV not just registered growth across its product segments, it has also outpaced the industry thereby gaining market share. The company saw of sales of 27652 units YTD, clocking a growth 17 per cent.

The launch of new products, increased penetration and advanced technology like telematics has led on to the growth of the company.

The HD market looks very optimistic and we aim to grab a significant market share in HD in the coming years owing to improved demand from coal mining and construction verticals. With a strong portfolio of product, services and an effort to improve the trucking ecosystem; our focus is now to build a larger market share in the HD sector from a current market share of around 5.3 per cent YTD FY 2016-17.

When it comes to construction and mining, our product range caters to different mining operations such as haulage and dumping solutions.

Tipper trucks are making steady inroads in Indian Mining and construction sector. The growing acceptance of Rigid Multi-axle tippers is owing to complete engineering makeover the tippers have undergone in recent years, in response to change in usage which requires multiple utility to be delivered at the sites. The new range of tippers are delivering both haulage and dumping solutions.

With more output required per day demand for multi-axle tippers will grow, as it helps fleet owner to reduce fleet size and carry more load same time. Other factors which augurs well for Multi-axle tippers is stricter overloading regulation enforced by different states for transport minerals to end user/ports trucks need to carry legal load, hence more demand for Multi-axle tippers with higher load body will grow as Rigid Multi-axle tippers can do job effectively and offer customers better cost per ton/Km.

We have product range starting from 4x2 tipper(16 T GVW) to 8x4 tipper(31 T GVW) with various driveline and body combination based on application and customer needs. When it comes to mining, our product range cater to different mining operation be it haulage or dumping solutions. Likewise for construction industry we have different options of 6 speed and 9 Speed gear boxes, Bogie suspensions, box and rock bodies to cater to demands of different applications.

In FY 16 we strengthened our presence in mining and construction segment with the introduction of Pro 6025T and Pro 8031XM. In Q2 of FY17, we have introduced new variants in our Pro 6025T in BSIV. Our latest addition to the construction portfolio is a 6 Speed variant of Pro 6025TFE specially designed for on road transportation of materials and Pro 6025TM RMC chassis. Both these variants will be available in BSIV.

We will continue to expand with increased participation in major infrastructure projects across the country and in new mining geographies in India with new range.


The road and infrastructure sectors have received a major push what sort of demand do you expect in current year and subsequent years.

Construction and mining trucks are up by 37.5 per cent in October and in April-Oct period the segment is up by 31.8 per cent.

We are already seeing a considerable growth due to push from the government on infrastructure and we anticipate that demand for construction equipment and trucks will continue to be fuelled by infrastructure growth going ahead. The infrastructure and mining segments account for around 30 per cent of heavy duty trucks market in India. The speedy approval of mining and infrastructure projects would go a long way in driving double digit growth in truck sales. With the implementation of these projects, we can expect good growth in truck sales this fiscal year.

Apart from the push given by the government in the area of infrastructure, positive sentiments owing to a good monsoon, economic growth, spurt in e-commerce, and the 7th Pay Commission, among others, have improved consumption. Demand has also been led by replacement of vehicles in the marketplace. The government is also pushing the mandate of smart cities and smart transportation and it will play an integral part. In this backdrop, we intend to strengthen our presence in the construction and mining sector with our Pro Series range. With services like Eicher Live, technologically advanced Pro Series HD trucks, we are ready to keep pace with the government agenda and modernise the construction and mining industry.

In the last one year, medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment has managed to recover some lost volumes owing to resumption of activities in the infrastructure and manufacturing space. Eicher has built up a significant presence in tipper trucks segment and has a 4.1 per cent market share which constitutes of 16T, 25T and 31T GVW tippers. We have been solidifying our position in the Tipper segment with 56 per cent increase in volumes in 2016-17 Y-o-Y over 2015-16. Our wide range of solutions ranging from 16T to 31T in VE Plus, Pro 6000 Series and Pro 8000 series has already helped us in seeding our vehicles to some of the key contractors associated with roads and irrigation. With the revival of coal and mining activities, tipper sales have started to see some upward movement and we attempt to take this opportunity in our favor. Going ahead, we will be keeping a close tap on the infrastructure push and are also expecting to see growth in activities related to Railways, Irrigation, Airports and Ports where tippers we will be required. Also, the mandatory conversion of old trucks will be a volume booster for truck manufacturers.


How smart and efficient are your machines. What is your company’s focus on technological innovations and what are your strategies to market your firm’s product and services going forward across India and overseas markets?

The Eicher Pro series of trucks promise to deliver higher Profitability and more Prosperity for its customers. Eicher Trucks are equipped with cutting-edge technology features like-

Fuel Coaching – This fuel coaching system is an advanced man machine interface that gives real time coaching and guidance to the driver on when to shift gears, when to accelerate, and guides a driver as to how to drive in the most fuel-efficient way.

Eicher Live- We have also introduced Eicher Live in Eicher Pro 6000 and Eicher Pro 8000 series which offers advance telematics addressing three critical areas of uptime, fuel and trip management. Eicher Live provides real time dashboard data analytics of the fleet, tracking the most important factors including fuel management and fault identification; thus allowing customers to plan maintenance.

Onboard Diagnostics – A self-diagnostic and reporting capability with 29 tell-tale signs, proactive signals and alarms, error codes for correct diagnosis

  • We have a dedicated team for tapping opportunities in the mining space.
  • We closely monitor infrastructure projects and engage with the top contractors across the country.
  • We have been very actively launching new products to cater to customer requirements, increasing demand inflow from the infrastructure and mining space
  • We also undertake live product trials to establish the capabilities and performance of our products.


Could you offer information about your manufacturing units, location of plant, their current capacities, investments and planned upgrades?

Keeping in line with our vision of driving modernisation in the commercial vehicle space, VECV has invested heavily to set up new plants with world class technology and standards. We have invested up to Rs.2500 crores in the last 4-5 years on new products and creating world class industrial infrastructure and setting up state of the art R&D facilities.

The VECV truck plant is an integrated Manufacturing Facility, located in the industrial town of Pithampur, near Indore (Madhya Pradesh). The manufacturing facility of VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) started operations in 1986 as ‘Eicher Trucks and Buses’ (ETB). It is the first commercial vehicle manufacturing plant set up in central India. The current annual capacity of the ETB plant is 66,000 vehicles which can be upgraded as per market demand.

The VECV Bus Plant at Baggadhas been set up under our overriding vision of driving modernization of the Indian CV market. Production in the plant started from September 2013 manufacturing buses that catered to the requirements of the school, staff, and city and Intercity segments. The bus plant in Baggad has a current installed capacity of around 9000 per annum and is expandable to 18000 per annum.

The VE Powertrain (VEPT), started in 2013, is a global hub for meeting the medium-duty automotive engine requirements globally for five- and eight-liter engines. The Euro VI-compliant diesel base engines are being supplied to Volvo Group and the same platform is adapted to Euro III and IV engine (BSIII/BSIV) technologies to meet the current requirements of VECV and other Volvo Group requirements for these type of engines in Asia. And hence, we are fully equipped to meet the Euro VI norms compliance in India in 2020.


Give us an understanding of their key features in terms of operating of your machines, cost efficiency etc their specific advantages and the post-sale services offered?

Eicher Live is an advanced Telematics solution available on HD trucks (Pro 6000 and above). It is a communication hub that connects the truck with the customer workshop and with the Eicher support system, to enhance productivity of the transport operations. It has unique features that include fuel management (where a customer can capture the fuel consumption for every trip, how much time the vehicle has been driven in a fuel-efficient way, fuel loss alarms, etc.); uptime management (with service reminders, remote diagnostic information for timely and correct service support, etc.); and of course regular track and trace features (of location, routes covered, stoppages, etc.).

Promise of partnership through vehicle life-cycle: At Eicher, we believe that the point of sale is only the beginning of the relationship. The entire experience, from the expanding network of over 272 touch-points, to the dealership infrastructure, together with 160 Eicher Genuine Part (EGP) Shoppes, 2500 multi parts dealers outlets and GPS enabled mobile service vans, promise a hassle-free journey.

We have introduced a host of different support solutions, from vehicles finance, attractive AMC packages, site support, workshop on wheels and Eicher Live – advanced telematics which provide real-time vehicle performance diagnostics, to ensure high uptime and high productivity, right through the vehicle life-cycle.

Our strategy is to engage the customers and meet their expectations throughout the life cycle of the vehicles which effectively mean that our service outlets are one stop solution for customers for all of their After Market needs through our country wide network of sales, service and spares. Genuine Service Processes and competent manpower enable execution as well as support service offerings. We also offer innovative and customised service solutions to meet individual customer needs.

Our warranty offerings are among the best in the industry. To support beyond standard warranty period, customer can opt for extended warranty program as well. We offer the most comprehensive Annual Maintenance Contracts under the brand umbrella of “Freedom”. The Freedom offers are designed taking into consideration the customer requirements and usage pattern to deliver an optimized maintenance and best in class uptime package. Our “Eicher Promise” guarantees turnaround time in an unfortunate event of a break down at PAN India level and not just on National Highways. Soon we shall be extending this to our service outlets as well.


Plans for the future and outlook?

Keeping in line with our vision of driving modernization in the commercial vehicle space, VECV has invested heavily to set up new plants with world class technology and standards. We will continue to invest for development of new products, to meet the new emission norms and for capacity expansion.

VECV is now stepping up their HD trucks and buses portfolio. We have plans to introduce new variants in our Pro 6000 series as well as in heavy duty buses this year. We also have a comprehensive program of new product introduction in the LMD segment.

We are already seeing a considerable push from the government on infrastructure and we anticipate that demand for construction equipment and trucks is going to be fuelled by infrastructure growth in the coming months. The proposal by Planning Commission to spend $1 Trillion spend on infrastructure related projects in 2012-17 plan is an assurance that this is an industry to keep a tap on. The sector has a seen an accelerated growth due to the infrastructure push from GOI. In this backdrop, we intend to strengthen our presence in the mining and construction sectors with our Pro Series range.

In summary, we see a strong growth story for the Indian industry in medium and long term. We have positioned the Pro Series to support the dynamic and changing requirements of the Indian customer.


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