Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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

Our new Pro Series is set to revolutionise the construction and mining industry


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 of the role played by your company in terms of the support it is providing to the Mining Sector?

Eicher has always been present in mining and construction equipment with its Terra range of tippers. We have increased focus on mining with our new range of Eicher Pro Series Tippers in the 220 to 330 HP range. With the new Pro Series, Eicher Trucks and Buses is set to revolutionise the construction and mining industry where higher productivity, better uptime, lower maintenance and lower project costs hold paramount importance.

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 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. They are suitable for overburden and coal transportation on 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 are bent towards overall lifetime and productivity of the vehicle and are looking for trucks with higher fuel efficiency and durability.  With our focus on mining sector in the last 15 months, the Eicher Pro series has delivered fuel efficiency and uptime of more than 95 per cent.



Tell us of your various product offerings and their demand in the Indian market? Tell us of the new products you intend to introduce and the geographical markets where you are planning to push them?

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

Both rigid and multi-axle tippers find their own space depending on the site, work to be carried out. 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 augur well for multi-axle tippers are stricter overloading regulation enforced by different states for transporting minerals to end user/ports trucks.  Since these trucks need to carry legal load, demand for multi-axle tippers with higher load body will grow as they will do the job effectively and offer customers better cost per ton/Km. We have product range starting from 4x2 tipper to 8x4 tipper with various drivelines & body combinations based on application and customer needs.

When it comes to mining, our product range caters to different mining operations such as haulage and dumping solutions. In Q2 of FY17, we will introduce new variants in our Pro series Tipper range and we will continue to expand in the new mining geography in India with new range.



Tell us about your firm’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? Give us an understanding of their key features, their specific advantages and the post-sale services offered?

The Eicher Pro series Tippers has been designed and tested rigorously (for millions of Kms) keeping in mind a variety of applications and operating conditions in the mines, overburden or coal transportation suitable for both flat roads or gradients and long leads or short leads. Eicher works on holistic business models (pre-sales, sale, after sales, value added services) which gives a differentiated edge to our customer and clients. Our tippers are equipped with key features like CRDI Engine with wide flat torque and perfectly matched driveline for higher fuel efficiency, robust chassis and aggregates for reliability and uptime. With advanced features like Fuel coaching, Eicher Live and world class cabin for higher productivity; the Eicher Pro series Tippers are built in collaboration with Volvo Group with a vision to provide premium experience at value.

There are signs showing the Indian market for tippers is maturing. Instead of a sole focus on upfront acquisition cost for determining what product to purchase, customers have started focusing on total cost of ownership (TCO), with an additional emphasis on quality, performance, and profitability over the lifetime. The customer´s key priority is transporting heavy loads at the lowest possible cost. Hence, ruggedness and reliability are essential in tippers along with higher uptime, different load bodies and capacities with higher fuel mileage. Beside product reliability and performance, customers also seek good aftermarket support. As mining activity takes place round the clock, you need superior on-site service and parts support which helps tippers to run 24x7 in mines. This allows achieving higher uptime and productivity, meeting project time lines and maximise their profit.



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 more than `2700 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 is being upgraded to 70,000 units by end of this year and can be further increased to 100,000 units as per market requirements

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 & 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 of Volvo 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 this type of engines in Asia. And hence, we are fully equipped to meet the Euro 6 norms compliance in India in 2020.The plant has a current installed capacity of around 7200 pa at 12/ shift on 2 shift basis and expandable to 15000 per annum.



What are the opportunities you are seeking in the Indian market? Which are the important projects your products have supported? Could you name some of your clients?

As we move forward, we see the mining sector opening up with iron ore, bauxite, chromite, lime stone and other mining. While they do not individually contribute (to mining tipper sales) as much as coal, they still have a sizable share together. We are already seeing some movement in the iron ore sector and expect demand to increase towards the last quarter of the year. Furthermore, with a number of infrastructure projects opening up we expect construction segment to grow thereby spurring demand for cement and increasing limestone mining as well. With launch of the latest technology products in our Pro 8000 and Pro 6000 series of multi axle tippers, we are now in a relatively advantageous position to take benefit of this expected revival in mining and construction segment. Our clients are leading mining contractors and transporters in the coal sector across the belts in South, Central and East India.                              



Plans for the future and outlook?

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 are further allocating an investment of `400 crore for development of new products, for the new emission norms and capacity expansion

VECV is now stepping up their HD trucks and buses portfolio. The HD sector is the backbone of the economy, hence the focus for us in the next 5 years remains on HD. We have plans to introduce new variants in our Pro 6000 series as well as in heavy duty buses this year.

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. Another major indicator is that CE have risen at a CAGR of 6.6 per cent during 2007-2012 and is expected to see a growth of 24.8 per cent due to the infrastructure push from GOI. In this backdrop, we intend to strengthen our presence in the mining sector with our Pro Series range.

We can foresee some key trends shaping tipper demand by 2020. As the Indian CV industry heads towards organised consolidation of small and medium fleet owners, vehicle owners will realise the power of value over mass market vehicles and the benefits of TCO. New technologies will be another key contributor in tipper demand to meet production target setup by government of India. It will call for superior product build quality and performance. This shift will be fueled by cohesive regulations, policy framework, subsidy to the Logistics industry and Mining and construction sectors and improvement in overall business sentiment.

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