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Ashok Leyland to enter Australia through its UK arm

Ashok Leyland has said it has become fourth largest bus company in World and one of key drivers was Optare

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

Ashok Leyland plans to enter Australian bus market through its UK subsidiary Optare. The UK arm has appointed a local dealer and said that initially it will offer two single-deck models and a tempo model to cater urban sector.

It may be noted, Optare is one of the key acquisitions by Ashok Leyland to penetrate into European markets and other global markets. In 2010 Ashok Leyland acquired 26% stake for around Rs 28 crore and in 2011 further it increased the stake in Opatre. This acquisition was one of the key drivers to support its ambition of becoming top five bus in the World.

Recently Ashok Leyland has said it has become the fourth largest bus company in the World and one of the key drivers was Optare.

As the next step as part of expanding its global foot print, Ashok Leyland's subsidiary Optare is targeting growing bus market in Australia. The bus maker appointed an exclusive new dealer and plans for demonstration vehicles to be available in the near future.

The dealer, Avia Oceania, is based in Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne, and is the Avia truck dealer for Australia. Avia is a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland and based in Czech Republic.

According to Optare, initially it will offer company’s Tempo SR and Solo SR single-deck models. These integral buses are expected to prove appealing to Australian operators because of their low-weight, leading to exceptional fuel efficiency.

In a statement Glenn Saint, Optare Deputy CEO, commented that Optare target growing bus market in Australia, which is estimated to be around 88,000 buses registered in the country and has shown consistent growth over the past few years.

The structure of the market also lends itself to our products with a large proportion, some 60%, being small buses of the type for which Optare is renowned through its award-winning Solo range.

The company will also be looking at the high density urban sector with its Tempo model, which is available in three body lengths of 10.6, 11.3 and 12.0 metres and with standard seating capacities ranging from 35 to 43. The 12 metre SR model weighs in at just 9,650kg giving it the potential to carry up to 85 passengers.

“The appointment of Avia Oceania as our exclusive representative in Australia is a great example of the benefits we are gaining from our relationship with Ashok Leyland. As one of the world’s top five bus manufacturers it is able to support us in a number of ways to open up new markets and we are excited at the prospects of doing business in Australia through Avia Oceania, said Saint.

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First Published: Thu, July 11 2013. 15:38 IST