Renault Nissan Alliance’s first attempt at cracking the Indian Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment saw Nissan joining hands with Ashok Leyland. The JV’s first product, the Ashok Leyland Dost started off strongly, but the subsequent products, the Ashok Leyland Stile and Nissan Evalia ended up as utter failures.
Eight years after the formation of JV, Nissan and Ashok Leyland severed ties in 2016 following a legal battle. The Stile and Evalia went defunct while Ashok Leyland took custody of the Dost. Last year, it was reported that the company had started a market study for their re-entry into the LCV segment of India. There is now an update regarding the same.
Speaking to ET Auto, Denis Le Vot, global head, LCV Business, Renault-Nissan Alliance, acknowledged that the Indian market is of much importance to the automaker. He also confirmed that the company is actively working on platforms to tackle the Indian market and an announcement shall be made soon.
The Alliance recently formed a joint venture with Jinbei Brilliance to make LCVs for the Chinese market. The JV managed to have a strong start. India appears to the next focus market, however, it is unclear whether RNA will enter into a JV with a local player this time around or not. It also remains to be seen which brand will lead the LCV charge in India (Renault or Nissan?).
Thanks to increase in development projects, highway construction and flourishing e-commerce sector, the Indian commercial vehicle segment has been witnessing impressive growth of late. So naturally, the LCVs which are indispensable for last mile connectivity have been enjoying elevated demand. The LCV segment registered a growth rate of 19.46% in FY19 at 616,579 units compared to the previous fiscal. This momentum is expected to be carried forward this year as well.
Tata Motors, Mahindra, and Ashok Leyland are the key players in the Indian LCV segment while Maruti Suzuki has started taking baby steps in the CV space with its sole product, the Carry. The passenger vehicle stalwart has managed to garner a market share of 4.23% in the LCV space with its Carry. The addition of LCV business would help Renault Nissan Alliance improve the capacity utilization factor of its massive Oragadam factory.