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Piaggio Vehicles to roll out Ape Truk Plus

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Piaggio Vehicles Private (PVPL), the local unit of the Italian auto firm, will add another product to its basket next year.
 
The company is betting on Ape Truk, which it launched in the beginning of this year.
 
"We will launch Ape Truk Plus in 2008 to cater to the upper-end of the sub-1 tonne category. This will strengthen our presence in the fast-growing LCV segment, " said Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director.
 
The demand for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) grew by 16.05 per cent in April-August 2007.
 
"The new Ape' Truk Plus will take on Tata's Ace and Mahindra's Champion, market leaders in the category, and will be priced a little higher than Ape Truk, which costs Rs 2.19 lakh," Chopra said.
 
The company was also planning to introduce another mini-truck in India by 2010 as it seeks to become a full range four-wheeler light commercial vehicle maker.
 
PVPL, a subsidiary of the Italian two- and three-wheeler giant Piaggio, launched Ape Truk earlier this year in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and described it as 'India's only international pick-up in the sub-one-tonne' category. The company sold 1,000 units in the last two and a half months, since its launch.
 
Piaggio has an installed capacity of 1.8-2 lakh vehicles in India. It sold 1.4 lakh vehicles in 2006 and is likely to touch 1.6 lakh vehicles this year.
 
The company is also investing Rs 337 crore in its Baramati plant at Maharashtra to create a diesel engine facility for three-wheelers and four-wheelers. The plant will have an annual installed capacity of 2,00,000 units and will come up by 2009.
 
"This plant will supply to both India and Italy, but the Indian market will be a priority," added Chopra, speaking on the sidelines of a conference on its new three-wheeler, Ape CNG. This will also be manufactured at the Baramati facility.
 
"With sales of 5,800 cargo three-wheelers per month, PVPL has a market share of over 50 per cent in the three-wheeler cargo segment and 36 per cent in the passenger three-wheeler segment. This may increase by 3 per cent with this new launch," said Ashutosh Khosla, director, sales and marketing.
 
"Our focus is on ramping up volumes to sustain the current market share in the fast-growing cargo segment," he added.
 
The new CNG-variant has been priced at Rs 1.40 lakhs (ex-showroom, Chennai) for the cargo model and Rs 1.30 lakhs (ex-showroom, Chennai) for the passenger model.
 
Despite the industry three-wheeler sales slowing by 6.42 per cent in the April-August period due to higher interest rates, the three-wheeler division has grown by 8 per cent in the same period. The company has financing schemes in tie-ups with State Bank of India and others.

 

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