Don’t we all owe it to e-commerce industry for providing us our daily need, leisure and even fun products during the lockdown? While COVID-19 induced lockdown forced us all to sit inside the home, e-commerce industry was on a rise and to cater to such wide market like India, they turned to Light and Medium Duty Trucks. We got in touch with Vishal Mathur, Senior Vice President, LMD Truck Business – Volvo-Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV) to understand the rise in business and further changes in this segment.
Tell us about Eicher’s LMD business in India
Eicher launched its first LMD vehicle in year 1984 with the launch of canter series. Since then, the company has witnessed progressive dominance in the segment with products delivering superior performance in market. Our JV with Volvo Group also helped in providing an edge to Indian customers on technology while our robust network is spread across India to cater to the customer needs.
Currently Eicher commands about 31% market share in Light and Medium Duty trucks. This growth has been achieved on the back of strong and diversified product portfolio, catering to premium, value and mass-market segment. Currently Eicher offers the widest range of trucks in dual platforms in Pro 2000 series and Pro 3000 series and products ranging from 4.9T to 16T GVW delivering best in class payload from 2.4T to 10.5 Tons. We have product for every application with widest range of platforms from 10.4ft to 24ft cargo options.
In BS6 era, we have unique advantage with superior EUTECH6 technology which results in improving total cost of ownership for the customer by improving fuel efficiency, thus proudly retaining the brand equity of Mileage ka Badshah amongst consumers. We have focused on increasing productivity, by enhancing payload, Turnaround time, improved deck lengths, increasing service intervals and warranty coverage, and ensuring better uptime with 100% connected trucks.
How has e-commerce pushed the sales of LMD trucks?
Covid has created a great impact on customer preferences and their ways of working. Owing to the restriction in the movement and limited physical contact, the door-to-door delivery of goods has gained a lot of traction. Most of the e-commerce players have increased supply to various district pin-codes strengthening the hub-and-spoke model, as the result the demand of LMD is increasing q-o-q now. Demand is coming to service these increasing consumer base on digital space and we have also geared up to cater to the evolving needs of the e-commerce players, and that’s why we have widened our product range not only in Diesel but in CNG.
Are e-commerce specific LMD trucks different from regular LMD trucks?
Yes, we have tailor made solutions for e-commerce segment by providing extra space for voluminous cargo application need. Overall our space advantage goes upto 20% more loading space than conventional market. We have also launched new variants dedicated for Ecommerce like 24ft in Intermediate commercial vehicles in platforms like Pro 2095XP, Pro 2110, Pro 2114XP, 22ft variant in Pro 2080XP and 16ft in Pro 2059XP. Besides this we have heavily focused on bringing on extra space variants not only in Diesel but in CNG platform as well. We have widest range of trucks on CNG as well. Our CNG trucks in single filling can go upto 500 kms running.
We have significantly focused on the needs to e-commerce segment where the trucks ply in a time bound high-speed operations that require continuous running. To cater to these segment needs Eicher has focused on delivering enhanced productivity through improving turnaround time by giving higher torque at wheels, superior driving comfort which enables driver to run continuously for over 10 hours.
Also, the e-commerce segment needs vehicles that can run for longer duration and yield a hassle-free driving experience. VECV’s vehicles are best suited for this as we offer features such as cruise control, comfortable car like cabin with comfy 2.0 seats. Eicher Pro 2000 and Pro 3000 series trucks are European crash test compliant dual panel sturdy cabin, fog lamp, DRL headlamps and comfort features like walk through cabin with lateral sleeping provision that enable the transporters extract the best profit and performance from Eicher LMD trucks.
Apart from the above stated features Eicher’s truck comes with a host of other features such seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android One connectivity. This system also includes support for micro–SD Card, Bluetooth connectivity, FM, and USB. Apart from these, the mini truck also gets steering mounted controls for the infotainment system and a fuel coaching system that acts as a guiding tool for drivers to improve the fuel economy of the vehicle. Other features on the truck include DRLs, fuel coaching system, and Eicher Live telematics system with readouts for trip meter, fuel gauge, and uptime management.
How has pandemic dented the truck industry?
Yes, there is no denying that the sector has witnessed a tough time due to the advent of Covid pandemic. With respect to the emission norm, the industry was ready, but the pandemic imposed lockdown posed further challenges. However, now the sector is back on track with a positive turn through consistently increasing demand. VECV is receiving orders from different sectors such as infrastructure, e-commerce, mining, and construction. LCV demand is being driven by the need for last mile connectivity by the e-commerce players. There is pent up demand from the market and the sector are now completely back on track.
How do you see the future of India’s trucking industry?
In our opinion, the worst seems to be over for the CV sector. The industry will witness great recovery in 2021 and sees a very good growth on account of high GDP growth projections. We are quite positive on getting orders for all our product range including the light, medium and heavy duty. With great push from Make in India initiative we expect a lot of demand to come in and hoping to end the current financial year on a positive note. We also expect increase in the demand for the reefer van with development of COVID vaccine as it will be critical to transport that around across the country. There is also a growth expected on account of scrappage policy along with the incentives for scrappage.
What’s the next big innovation that we can expect in CVs?
As we move forward, we will witness various new technologies gaining popularity such as like touchless experiences, phygital stores, augmented walkthroughs etc. The need for the vigorous transition of the auto industry is further catalysed by the pandemic. We are successfully tiding through the toughest phase of the pandemic with the help of improved digital infrastructure. With a highly advanced integrated data management system in place, we are undertaking various complex tasks with great efficiency such as introducing new product, reviewing the technicalities, etc.