Eicher to launch 66-seater bus for the Middle East
Eicher targets Middle East growth with left-hand drive launch strategy
Eicher has revealed it is to introduce a 66-seater bus to the Middle East before the end of the next quarter.
The launch forms part of the Indian truck and bus manufacturer’s broader strategy to grow sales in the region by expanding its range of left-hand drive vehicles. The 66-seater bus will be the first of several left-hand drive models that Eicher plans to introduce during to the Middle East during the coming year.
“As far as GCC countries are concerned, I think that Eicher’s activities are still somewhat constrained by the limited range of left-hand drive vehicles that it produces,” commented Arun Kumar Birla, executive vice president for sales, marketing, and aftermarket at VE Commercial Vehicles.
“We are currently embarking on the development of left-hand drive products to meet market demand across the region. Eicher already offers a left-hand drive version of its 32-seater Skyline 10.75 bus in the Middle East, and the company is hoping to introduce a 66-seater bus before the end of Q3 2014. We also intend to launch our next generation of light- and medium-duty trucks during the first half of 2015,” he told CW.
Owing to a lacklustre commercial vehicles market in India, exports are becoming increasingly important to the Eicher’s revenue. Earlier this week, CW reported that Eicher experienced a drop in sales during April 2014. Whilst its export activities grew by 325.8% compared to April 2013, its domestic sales dropped by 25.9%, resulting in a 12.3% fall in overall sales.
However, Birla is encouraged by the firm’s export growth, and contends that planned product launches will help to further boost business in the Middle East.
“Eicher is doing very well in terms of exports,” he said.
“In the month of April, we achieved more than 300% exports growth compared to the same month during 2013. For the calendar year so far – January to April 2014 – Eicher’s exports grew by 193% on the same period of 2013.
“We have a very busy calendar when it comes to the development and introduction of new products in the Middle East,” he added.
Moreover, he believes that VE Commercial Vehicles – a joint venture between Volvo and Eicher – has significantly benefitted product quality.
“Eicher’s latest products have been developed with the support of Volvo technology, which has allowed our team to engineer world-class products to the Middle East market,” said Birla.
Eicher’s next generation of left-hand drive buses and trucks will be rolled out across the region. The firm’s biggest target markets, however, are Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where Eicher is represented by distributors Rolaco and Pacific Machinery, respectively.