Asia Motor Works is aiming to be a niche player in the Indian commercial vehicle market.
After passenger cars and utility vehicles it is time for the commercial vehicle market to undergo a change. And with the current activities in the commercial vehicle sector there is all the more reason to believe this. Activities like Tata bringing in the Novus range, which was essentially developed by the Daewoo commercial division that Tata bought over. Ashok Leyland recently embarked on the mission to buy Avia a.s, a light commercial vehicle maker from Czech Republic. Force Motors tied-up with MAN of Germany to build Force MAN trucks here. Mahindra & Mahindra tied-up with International Truck and Engine Corp to build trucks. Then, there is Ural India from West Bengal, a joint venture between Uralaz of Russia and Motijug Group, which plans to manufacture trucks that will mainly cater to the mining industry and the armed forces. Yet another new truck maker to enter the fray is Asia Motor Works. Apart from the Avia s.a takover by Ashok Leyland, the aim of truck makers is to compete at the top-end of the commercial vehicle market, which is coming of age. It is a market where multi-axle and specialised solutions are the key words. In fact, in the last few months, sales of tractor-trailers capable of hauling 35 tonnes or more have greatly increased. According to industry sources, the sales of multi-axle trucks jumped from 704 vehicles in the corresponding period last year to 7168 vehicles in the current year. Sources add that the sales increased after the Supreme Court banned overloading of trucks. The rise in the sales of multi-axle trucks comes at the price of the medium commercial vehicles. Industry sources claim that medium commercial vehicles were used as a device where they could overload them, pay bribes and save on fuel. Fuel is an important factor and the rising cost of fuel has been another factor that has been shifting the focus of transport operators to modern, multi-axle solutions. This is the market where Asia Motor Works is aiming its 4923 tractor. The AMW 4923 tractor has a GCW (Gross Combination Weight) of 49 tonnes. The Cummins 6BTAA engine that produces 235bhp and 800 Nm of maximum torque at 1500 rpm powers it. Transmission is a 9-speed ZF 9S 75 Ecomid unit. Clutch is a Valeo unit whereas axles are from Meritor. A 6x4 design, the 4923 looks modern and is claimed to have a cabin that is equipped with a FM radio and air conditioning. The steering is power assisted and adjustable. The cabin is claimed to be equipped with a sleeper berth.According to the sources at Asia Motor Works, the 4923 is specifically designed for long haul and cross-country operations and is suitable for a wide range of applications like steel coil carriers, inland container, oil tanker, tip semi-trailer and bulk pressure tanker. Sources add that the 4923's configuration also results in low operational costs and savings up to 10-15 per cent as compared to conventional trucks. While the fuel consumption of the 4923 is considerably lower than standard trucks, this reduces cost per tonne resulting in more productivity and profitability. same cab. The components that make this truck are thus essentially the same that make the 4923. While the 380 mm diameter ceramic material clutch is supplied by Valeo, the tipper employs Meritor M 1495 tandem drive hypoid axles, frame inside frame to provide high reliability and durability, multi leaf front springs that permit high deflection resulting in good ride comfort, air spring limiters to prevent bottoming and failure of front springs due to overload conditions and bogey suspension as a standard fitment. Aimed at the construction and mining sectors, the 2523 is available in a standard body as well as an optional burden body. According to the sources at Asia Motor Works, all the key components of the global truck are sourced from global leaders like Cum-mins (engine), ZF (gearbox), Valeo (clutch plate) and Meritor (axles). They add that qualified design experts at the AMW R&D Centre seamlessly integrate this global expertise into one finely tuned machine, the global truck. Industry sources claim that Asia Motor Works has entered into collaborative partnerships with pioneering aggregate suppliers like Cummins, ZF, Valeo, Tata Toyo, Dana Spicer and Meritor and the trucks are made by sourcing world class aggregates locally. They add that the trucks are priced competitively in the range of Rs 22-26 lakhs. The 4923 and 2523 are built at a Greenfield facility at Bhuj, say industry sources. According to the Asia Motor Works sources, the Bhuj facility is a state-of-the-art fully integrated manufacturing facility spread over 8,50,000 sq.m and houses advanced production units built in collaboration with world leaders like Schuler, etc. The sprawling facility comprises an advanced assembly plant (10,000 units p.a), steel stamping press (45,000 tonnes p.a.), chassis rolling plant (25,000 tonnes p.a.), fabrication unit (100,000 tonnes p.a.), paint shop (50,000 units p.a.), crash barrier manufacturing unit (30,000 units p.a.) and wheel rim manufacturing unit (2.45 million units p.a).Initially, the company plans to manufacture 10,000 units per annum, which will be increased later, claim industry sources. They further claim that according to the agreement signed with the government of Gujarat, the company is expected to invest a total of Rs 2,000 crores in the project over the next few years. Sources add that Bhuj was badly affected by earthquake in 2001 and the units located in the region enjoy tax benefits. Asia Motor Works is among the Rs 25,000 crores of investment that has gone into the region. While the crash barrier manufacturing plant within the Asia Motor Works Greenfield facility premises has a capacity of over 25,000 tonnes p.a, on full commissioning, the plant will also produce wheel rims for a wide range of cars and HCVs, with a capacity of 2.45 million wheel rims per annum. According to Asia Motor Works sources, the most impressive auxiliary manufacturing facilities at Asia Motor Works is its press shop. Setup with technological collaboration with Schuler AG of Germany, the press shop has a capacity of 45,000 tonnes per annum and is equipped with a range of optimised individual components that can be combined to form complete systems. These are designed so that customers get economic solutions for virtually every manufacturing requirement. The press shop is expected to primarily cater to the production of truck cabs.Aiming to be a niche player in the Indian commercial vehicle market, Asia Motor Works, claim industry sources, will impart driver training. As of now, the only commercial vehicle manufacturer known to impart driver training in India are Ashok Leyland and Volvo India. The stress, add sources, is on ensuring that vehicle operators drive vehicles safely with maximum efficiency and comfort. According to Asia Motor Works sources, the company will have mobile service vans operating across the nation. Trained and experienced service engineers are already located at strategic locations and further more are being placed all over the country to provide personalised service. In addition to that major float aggregates like engine, gearbox and differential assembly, etc., are being kept at strategic locations to ensure minimum vehicle downtime.