The commercial vehicle segment in the domestic automobile industry is witnessing a paradigm shift with the launch of new products in the past few months. Though the segment is yet to achieve pre-COVID-19 sales, commercial vehicles have fared well this fiscal year. However, despite an increase in domestic demand, commercial vehicle exports continued to remain sluggish, which is a major concern for the industry, Vinod Aggarwal, MD & CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) Limited tells Fortune India in an interaction. VE Commercial Vehicles is a joint venture between Swedish auto giant Volvo Group and domestic commercial vehicle manufacturer Eicher Motors.
"Fundamentally it's the geopolitical tension and the foreign exchange pressure from some of our neighbouring countries such as South Asian countries where the entire country exports a lot. The exports of trucks and buses are maximum in South Asian countries. So these markets are down because of the foreign exchange. Other markets are also down because of the geopolitical situation and the global demand situation. But hopefully, that will improve going forward," says Aggarwal. Aggarwal was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of its Non-stop series, which is a range of the company's heavy-duty trucks.
In October, the exports of VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) declined by 43.5%. Aggarwal, however, says that the company continues to expand in new markets. “We keep on adding new markets in Africa. In the Middle East, we have added more markets. Our buses are very successful in the Middle East. We have now started exporting to Southeast Asian countries, which is still very small. Those are the future markets for us,” says Aggarwal.
Meanwhile, with the launch of its Non-stop series, the company aims to improve its market share in the heavy-duty segment. Eicher Motors, which is the country's third-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, currently holds a market share of 9%. With the commencement of the festive season, the company is aiming for strong growth in the Q3 and Q4 of the current fiscal year, according to Aggarwal.
The commercial vehicle manufacturer is also betting on new technologies such as hydrogen, electric trucks and LNG (liquefied nitrogen gas). While the company is planning to launch LNG trucks in the future, the commercial vehicle manufacturer has already forayed into the electric vehicle segment. The company has earlier partnered with e-commerce giant Amazon to deliver 1,000 electric trucks.
"We have recently introduced electric truck in five and a half ton segment. We are already selling electric buses and we are designing higher horsepower long haul electric trucks. We are going to introduce LNG trucks in future. We are already the strong players in the CNG fuel series. So we are there in all the futuristic technologies," says Aggarwal.
In the second quarter of FY24, the company clocked sales of 19,551 units. Of this, the company’s sales in HD trucks stood at 5,291 units, with a market share of 8.1%. In the bus segment, the company clocked sales of 3,214 units.