Truck manufacturers push fully built vehicles
Top truck marketers, the fully built up truck segment will see major growth in coming months as part of the premiumisation drive in commercial vehicles.
Chennai: As the truck market drives towards higher gross vehicle weight (GVW) thanks to the new safety and emission norms, the earlier practice of producing trucks without chassis or load bodies will soon be a thing of the past. According to top truck marketers, the fully built up truck segment will see major growth in coming months as part of the premiumisation drive in commercial vehicles.
“With the new regulations like BS6 as well as the new safety norms, trucks will come kitted with huge amounts of electronics and sensors. This will make it necessary for truck bodies to be factory built because a lot of the companies that build cabins and bodies are from the unorganized sector and any problems with the electronics and sensors can completely mess up the vehicle,” said Vinod Aggarwal, MD&CEO, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV).
Currently, he added, only 50% of the trucks sold in India come factory-fitted with their bodies and cabins. “With speed limits going up, greater focus on safety, increase in axle loads, new crash norms etc, it is increasingly going to make more sense to factory fit cabins,” he explained.
VECV isn’t the only companies talking fully built vehicles. Tata Motors, the market leader in commercial vehicles, is also increasingly focusing on factory built cabins and truck bodies. “It’s part of the premiumisation drive in CVs which is about features and attributes that improve cost efficiency for the customer. In tippers, for instance, we are migrating to fully-built vehicles in a big way. We are also focusing on fully-built tractor trailers and in intermediate and light commercial vehicles more than 90% come fitted with cabin and load body,” said Girish Wagh, president-commercial vehicles business unit, Tata Motors.
The factory-fitted cabin and body is also necessitated by the growing interest in AC cabins. “We are already seeing 15% of cabin vehicles getting sold with AC in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment,” said Wagh. “In light commercial vehicle, that percentile is about 10. It is very small still but it is growing,” he added. Air conditioned cabins are becoming popular in niche applications for tractor trailers like mining. “E-commerce freight, which requires quick turnaround time, is also triggering the demand for AC cabins,” said Aggarwal.
The truck and bus body building industry is worth Rs 700 crore annually and several players in this crowded segment are unorganized. Apart from emission and safety norms, what’s also driving the trend for factory-built vehicles is the new axle norms which allow trucks to carry higher loads and therefore vehicles need to be manufactured for greater wear and tear, said truck marketers.