Ashok Motors

Ashok Leyland Limited
Traded as
Industry Automotive
Founded 1948
Headquarters Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Area served India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Products Automobiles, engines, commercial vehicles
Revenue Increase INR133.59 billion () (2012)
Net income Increase INR56.5 billion () (2012)
Employees 15,812 (2011)
Parent Hinduja Group
Subsidiaries Ennore foundries Limited
Automotive Coaches and Components Limited
Gulf-Ashley Motors Limited
Ashley Holdings Limited
Ashley Investments Limited
Ashley Design and Engineering Services (ADES)
Avia Ashok Leyland
Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS)
Ashok Leyland Project Services Limited
Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC[1]

Ashok Leyland is an Indian automobile manufacturing company based in Chennai, India. Founded in 1948, and it is Second largest commercial vehicle manufacturers of commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, as well as emergency and military vehicles. Operating six plants, Ashok Leyland also makes spare parts and engines for industrial and marine applications. It sells about 60,000 vehicles and about 7,000 engines annually. It is the second largest commercial vehicle company in India in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment with a market share of 28% (2007–08). With passenger transportation options ranging from 19 seaters to 80 seaters, Ashok Leyland is a market leader in the bus segment. The company claims to carry over 60 million passengers a day, more people than the entire Indian rail network. In the trucks segment Ashok Leyland primarily concentrates on the 16 ton to 25 ton range of trucks. However Ashok Leyland has presence in the entire truck range starting from 7.5 tons to 49 tons. The joint venture announced with Nissan Motors of Japan would improve its presence in the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment (<7.5 tons).

Ashok Leyland's UK subsidiary Optare has shut down its bus factory in Blackburn, Lancashire.[2] This subsidiary's traditional home in Leeds has also been vacated in favour of a purpose built plant at Sherburn-in-Elmet.


India’s first Prime Minister Nehru, persuaded Raghunandan Saran, an industrialist, to enter automotive manufacture. The company began in 1948 as Ashok Motors, to assemble Austin cars. The company was renamed and started manufacturing commercial vehicles in 1955 with equity participation by Leyland Motors. Today the company is the flagship of the Hinduja Group, a British-based and Indian originated transnational conglomerate.

Early products included the Leyland Comet bus which was a passenger body built on a truck chassis, sold in large numbers to many operators, including Hyderabad Road Transport, Ahmedabad Municipality, Travancore State Transport, Maharashtra State Transport and Delhi Road Transport Authority. By 1963, the Comet was operated by every State Transport Undertaking in India, and over 8,000 were in service. The Comet was soon joined in production by a version of the Leyland Tiger.

In 1968, production of the Leyland Titan ceased in Britain, but was restarted by Ashok Leyland in India. The Titan PD3 chassis was modified, and a five speed heavy duty constant-mesh gearbox utilized, together with the Ashok Leyland version of the O.680 engine. The Ashok Leyland Titan was very successful, and continued in production for many years.

Over the years, Ashok Leyland vehicles have built a reputation for reliability and ruggedness. This was mainly due to the product design legacy carried over from British Leyland.

Ashok Leyland had a collaboration with the Japanese company Hino Motors from whom the technology for the H-series engines was bought. Many indigenous versions of H-series engine were developed with 4 and 6 cylinder and also conforming to BS2 and BS3 emission norms in India. These engines proved to be extremely popular with the customers primarily for their excellent fuel efficiency. Most current models of Ashok Leyland come with H-series engines.

In 1987, the overseas holding by Land Rover Leyland International Holdings Limited (LRLIH) was taken over by a joint venture between the Hinduja Group, the Non-Resident Indian transnational group and IVECO Fiat SpA, part of the Fiat Group and Europe's leading truck manufacturer. Ashok Leyland’s long-term plan to become a global player by benchmarking global standards of technology and quality was soon firmed up. Access to international technology and a US$200 million investment programme created a state-of-the-art manufacturing base to roll out international class products. This resulted in Ashok Leyland launching the 'Cargo' range of trucks based on European Ford Cargo trucks. These vehicles used Iveco engines and for the first time had factory-fitted cabs. Though the Cargo trucks are no longer in production and the use of Iveco engine was discontinued, the cab continues to be used on the 'ecomet' range of trucks.

In the journey towards global standards of quality, Ashok Leyland reached a major milestone in 1993 when it became the first in India's automobile history to win the ISO 9002 certification. The more comprehensive ISO 9001 certification came in 1994, QS 9000 in 1998 and ISO 14001 certification for all vehicle manufacturing units in 2002. In 2006, Ashok Leyland became the first automobile company in India to receive the TS16949 Corporate Certification. Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles peeking into clean car industries and car manufacturers of China, India, South Korea and Germany.


Among many other goals, Ashok Leyland aims to expand its operations to penetrate into overseas markets. Included in the company’s plans is to acquire smaller car manufacturers in China and in other developing countries. In October 2006, Ashok Leyland bought a majority stake in the Czech based- Avia. Called Avia Ashok Leyland Motors s.r.o., this will give Ashok Leyland a channel into the competitive European market. According to the company, in 2008 the joint venture sold 518 LCVs in Europe despite tough economic conditions. Furthermore, the company will expand its product offers into construction equipment, following a joint venture with John Deere. Newly formed in June 2009, the John Deere partnership is a 50/50 split between the companies. The company says negotiation is progressing on land acquisition, and the production plans are in place. The venture is scheduled to start rolling out wheel loaders and backhoe loaders in October 2010. Aside from the full expansion planned for the company, Ashok Leyland is also paying close attention to the environment. In fact, they are one of the companies showing the strongest commitment to environmental protection, utilizing eco-friendly processes in their various plants. Even as they thrust into different directions, Ashok Leyland maintains an R&D group that aims to uncover ways to make their vehicles more fuel efficient and reduce emissions.

In fact, even before laws were placed on car emissions, Ashok Leyland was already producing low-emission vehicles. Back in 1997, they have already released buses with quiet engines and low pollutant emission based on the CNG technology. In 2002 it developed the first hybrid electric vehicle. Ashok Leyland has also launched a mobile emission clinic that operates on highways and at entry points to New Delhi. The clinic checks vehicles for emission levels, recommends remedies and offers tips on maintenance and care. This work will help generate valuable data and garner insight that will guide further development.

When it comes to the development of environmentally friendly technologies, Ashok Leyland has developed Hythane engines. In association with the Australian company Eden Energy, Ashok Leyland successfully developed a 6-cylinder, 6-litre (370 cu in) 92 kW (123 hp) BS-4 engine which uses Hythane (H-CNG,) which is a blend of natural gas and around 20% of hydrogen. Hydrogen helps improve the efficiency of the engine but the CNG aspect makes sure that emissions are at a controlled level. A 4-cylinder 4-litre (240 cu in) 63 kW (84 hp) engine is also being developed for H-CNG blend in a joint R&D program with MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) and Indian Oil Corporation.

The H-CNG concept is now in full swing, with more than 5,500 of the technology’s vehicles running around Delhi. The company is also already discussing the wide-scale use of Hythane engines with the Indian government. Hythane engines may be expected in the near future, but these may not be brought to the United States as yet. Ashok Leyland’s partnership with Nissan is also focusing on vehicle, powertrain, and technology development listed under three joint ventures. With impressive investment, the joint ventures will focus on producing trucks with diesel engines that meet Euro 3 and Euro 4 emission standards.

In the coming years, Ashok Leyland also has some hybrid trucks and buses in store for its market. The buses and trucks are set to feature a new electronic shift-by-wire transmission technology as well as electronic-controlled engine management for greater fuel efficiency. Ashok Leyland focuses on improving fuel efficiency without affecting automotive power, and the vehicles will have a 5% improvement on fuel efficiency. Ashok Leyland is also developing electric batteries and bio-fuel modes.

Recent history

Ashok Leyland Ltd’s March quarter results were expected to be impressive, as its monthly vehicle output reports had indicated a 138% jump in volumes. But what impressed was its net profit growth of 317%, to Rs2.23 billion, over the year-ago period, even as sales rose by 139%. Ashok Leyland’s operating profit margin rose to 13% compared with 10.5%. Higher volume growth, a better product mix due to higher sales of multi-axle vehicles and tractor trailers, and cost reduction were key reasons for margin expansion. its estimate for volume growth in 2011 is conservative, at 15% compared with over 30% in FY2010.

Around 1,200 buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme are yet to be delivered of the 5,098 ordered. Besides, it has orders on hand from state transport undertakings for another 2,000 buses. The firm is investing to increase its capacity, with Rs12 billion proposed for expansion plans over the next two years; mainly to increase output of engines and new generation cabs. Besides, it plans to invest Rs8 billion in joint ventures. Analysts believe that its Uttarakhand plant is expected to deliver 22,000-25,000 vehicles in fiscal 2011, in its first full year of operation. The company has also steadily gained market share, from 21-22% in the first quarter of 2010 to 28-29% in the fourth quarter. One concern is that it is not yet a strong player in the eastern market. Besides, the southern market, traditionally its stronghold, has grown by only 15% in volume terms in 2010. The rest of India (mainly north and west) grew by 40% during the year.

An Ashok Leyland-Nissan joint venture produced light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from the former's Hosur facility near Bangalore as well as from Renault-Nissan's car plant near Chennai.[3]

On 11 June 2012, Ashok Leyland supplied 100 Falcon buses to Ghana for $7.6 million (about Rs 420 million).[4]

Ashok Leyland foreign operations

Lanka Ashok Leyland (LAL) in Sri Lanka was formed in 1982 and started its operations in 1983 as a Joint venture between Lanka Leyland Ltd (a wholly owned company of Government of Sri Lanka) and Ashok Leyland Ltd India. LAL imports commercial vehicles in both knock down kits or fully built and carry out assembly operations, repair and service, body building on chassis.[5]

Current status

Ashok Leyland is the second technology leader in the commercial vehicles sector of India. The history of the company has been punctuated by a number of technological innovations, which have since become industry norms. It was the first to introduce multi-axled trucks, full air brakes and a host of innovations like the rear engine and articulated buses in India. In 1997, the company launched the country’s first CNG bus and in 2002, developed the first Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

The company has also maintained its profitable track record for 60 years. The annual turnover of the company was USD 1.4 billion in 2008-09. Selling 54,431 medium and heavy vehicles in 2008-09, Ashok Leyland is India's largest exporter of medium and heavy duty trucks. It is also one of the largest private sector employers in India - with about 12,000 employees working in 6 factories and offices spread over the length and breadth of India.

The company has increased its rated capacity to 105,000 vehicles per annum. Also further investment plans including putting up two new plants - one in Uttarakhand in North India and a bus body building unit in middle-east Asia are fast afoot. It already has a sizable presence in African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and South Africa.

Ashok Leyland has also entered into some significant partnerships, seizing growth opportunities offered by diversification and globalization – with Continental Corporation for automotive infotronics; with Alteams in Finland for high pressure die casting and recently, with John Deere for construction equipment.[6]

As part of this global strategy, the company acquired Czech Republic-based Avia's truck business. The newly acquired company has been named Avia Ashok Leyland Motors s.r.o. This gives Ashok Leyland a foothold in the highly competitive European truck market.

In 2010 Ashok Leyland acquired a 26% stake in the British bus manufacturer Optare, a company based on the premises of a former British Leyland subsidiary C.H.Roe. In December 2011 Ashok Leyland increased its stake in Optare to 75.1%.

The Hinduja Group also bought out IVECO's indirect stake in Ashok Leyland in 2007. The promoter shareholding now stands at 51%. Leyland has a state of the art research and development center at Vellivoyal Chavadi which is located near Chennai. Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland has been awarded the first overseas order worth $6 million for its vestibule buses from Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC).[7]

Nissan Ashok Leyland

In 2007, the company announced a joint venture with Japanese auto giant Nissan (Renault Nissan Group) which will share a common manufacturing facility in Chennai, India. The shareholding structures of the three joint venture companies are:

  • Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., the vehicle manufacturing company will be owned 51% by Ashok Leyland and 49% by Nissan
  • Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain Pvt. Ltd., the powertrain manufacturing company will be owned 51% by Nissan and 49% by Ashok Leyland
  • Nissan Ashok Leyland Technologies Pvt. Ltd., the technology development company will be owned 50:50 by the two partners.

Dr. V. Sumantran, Executive Vice Chairman of Hinduja Automotive Limited and a Director on the Board of Ashok Leyland is the Chairman of the Powertrain company and he is on the Boards of the other two JV companies. The venture, once it takes off, will be one of the largest investments made in automotive field in the country


Ashok Leyland announced iBUS in the beginning of 2008, as part of the future for the country's increasingly traffic-clogged major cities. Its Rs 60-lakh, iBus, a feature-filled, low-floor concept bus for the metros revealed during the Auto Expo 2008 in India, a vehicle for a first production run of pilot models should be ready by the end of this[?] year. The start of full production is scheduled for 2009. Developed by a team of young engineers, the low-floored iBus will have the first of its kind features, including anti-lock braking system, electronic engine management and passenger infotainment. The executive class has an airline like ambience with wide LCD screens, reading lights, audio speakers and, for the first time, Internet on the move. A GPS system enables vehicle tracking and display of dynamic route information on LCD screens, which can also support infotainment packages including live data and news. The bus will probably be equipped with an engine from the new Neptune family, which Ashok Leyland also introduced at this exhibition, which are ready for the BS4/Euro 4 emission regulations and can be upgraded to Euro 5.[8]


Ashok Leyland, announced sale of vehicles on the new U-Truck platform from November, 2010 with the rolling out of the first set of 10 models of tippers and tractor trailers in the 16 – 49-tonne segment. Further, another 15 models are set to enter the market in the next 12 months.


DOST is a 1.25 ton light commercial vehicle (LCV) that is the first product to be launched by the Indian-Japanese commercial vehicle joint venture Ashok Leyland Nissan Vehicles. Dost is powered by a 58 hp high-torque, 3-cylinder, turbo-charged Common Rail Diesel engine and has a payload capacity of 1.25 Tonnes. It is available in both BS3 and BS4 versions. The LCV is being produced in Ashok Leyland's Hosur plant in Tamilnadu. The LCV is available in three versions with the top-end version featuring air-conditioning, power steering, dual-colour of a beige-gray trim and fabric seats. With the launch of Dost Ashok Leyland has now entered the Light Commercial Vehicle segment in India[9][10][11][12][13]


Boss is an Intermediate Commercial Vehicle launched by Ashok Leyland. This is available in the range of 8T to 14T. This is available with two engine options 120IL(LE) and 130CRS(LX) engines and both are first time such an engines are offered in this range of trucks. The LX variant is available with Air condition and Leymatic AMT which are again the industry first.

Ashok Leyland Defence Systems

Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS) is a newly floated company by the Hinduja Group. Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of Hinduja group, holds 26 percent in the newly formed Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS). The newly floated company has a mandate to design and develop defence logistics and tactical vehicles, defence communication and other systems.[14] Ashok Leyland is the largest supplier of logistics vehicles to the Indian Army. It has supplied over 60,000 of its Stallion vehicles which form the Army's logistics backbone.[15]


  • Ashok Leyland's Technical Centre, at Vellivoyalchavadi (VVC) in the outskirts of Chennai, is a state-of-the-art product development facility, that apart from modern test tracks and component test labs, also houses India's one and only Six Poster testing equipment.
  • The company had an Engine Research and Development facility in Hosur, which was shifted to VVC, Chennai.
  • The company has signed an agreement with Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) in UAE for setting up a bus body building unit in the Middle East.


(not exhaustive)

Current Buses


  • ULE
  • Janbus
  • Titan Double Decker
  • Vestibule bus

Interurban or Moffussil

  • Viking
  • Cheetah


  • 12M
  • Luxura


  • Janbus Midi
  • Stag
  • Lynx


  • Avion ULF
  • Avion RESLF
  • Avion ULE
  • Gensets

Goods segment

  • Comet 1611
  • 1612 H
  • 1613 H
  • 1613 H/2 (12m Goods)
  • 4/51 GS
  • 1613
  • Taurus 2516/2 (6x4) Tipper
  • CT 1613 H/1 & H/2
  • Bison Tipper
  • 1613 ST (4x2)
  • Taurus HD 2516MT/1 (6x4)
  • Taurus 2516 - 6X4
  • 2516 H (6X2)
  • Taurus 2516 - 6 X 2
  • 4018 Tractor
  • Artik 30.14 Tractor
  • Tusker Turbo Tractor 3516
  • ecomet 912
  • ecomet 111i
  • 4921
  • U-Truck Tippers U-3123 U-2523 U-2518 U-1616 U-1618
  • U-Truck Tractors U-4923 U-4023 U-3518



See also

External links

  • Ashok Leyland Official website (India)
  • Lanka Ashok Leyland Official website (Sri Lanka)
  • Ashok Leyland Defence
  • Ashok Leyland Optare Buses
    • Optare Bus official site
  • Ashok Leyland Avia Trucks
    • Avia trucks official site
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