Striving to develop its own commercial vehicle portfolio in the country, India’s one of the leading automobile companies, Ashok Leyland plans to introduce a multi-utility 8-seater van, called Stile, as well as a 13-seater people mover called Dost Express this month. Interestingly, both the vehicles seem strategically designed so as not to fall under direct competition with the market leader Maruti Suzuki.
While the Stile is expected to be priced at around Rs. 7.5-9 lakh, mainly targeting the fleet and taxi operators in major cities; the Dost Express is believed to be intended for the rural areas, with a price of about Rs. 6 lakh. Talking about the target customers for Stile, Nitin Seth, the executive director of light commercial vehicles and defense businesses, Ashok Leyland, said: “Stile is not a vehicle aimed at personal buyers; it is aimed at the value seeker fleet operator. In India, people want a balanced vehicle, with focus on functionality of fuel efficiency and cost of running than on the performance of the car, and Stile intends to deliver that.”
Taking lessons from the failure of Nissan’s Evalia, the Ashok Leyland has packed the Stile with dual air-conditioning along with rear AC vents, rear window, bigger wheels, glove boxes and bucket seats among other features.
The fact that this new MUV is powered by Renault’s 1.5 litre K9K engine, with a mileage of 19km/litre, probably makes the company confident enough to claim it to be the most fuel-efficient multi-utility vehicle in India.
The Stile will be available for purchase across 130 light commercial vehicle outlets in the northern, southern and western part of the country, with the company still building its network in the east, and it aims to hold minimum 25,000 test-drives a month in over 100 cities.