Home-grown commercial vehicle manufacturer, Ashok Leyland today launched an all-new light commercial vehicle (LCV) in India. Christened Ashok Leyland Bada Dost, the newly launched LCV is built on an all-new platform that has been developed by the company in-house. It's the first light commercial vehicle to be wholly developed and designed by Ashok Leyland, unlike its existing Dost range, which is based on the platform developed by the company's previous joint venture with Nissan. Ashok Leyland is offering the new Bada Dost in two variants - i3 and i4, and they will come with a best-in-class payload capacity of 1,860 kg and 1,405 kg, respectively.
The Ashok Leyland Bada Dost's in two variants - i3 and i4, both will come in LS and LX trims. While the Bada Dost i3 LS and LX trims are priced at ₹ 7.75 lakh and ₹ 7.95 lakh, the i4 LS and LX variants are priced at ₹ 7.79 lakh and ₹ 7.99 lakh (all ex-showroom, Mumbai) respectively. Also, for the first time, the company will be accepting online bookings for the Bada Dost. The LCV is being launched initially in 7 states and will gradually be available pan-India over the next 3 months.
Speaking to carandbike about the new product, Nitin Seth, COO, Ashok Leyland said, "LCV is 70 per cent of the Indian market, and if we are not present in that 70 per cent fully, then you will miss-out growth. We are doing pretty well, but with a limited range. Our problem was not the products, it was the range of products. That is what we are trying to address with this particular platform. First time we are trying to develop a platform in-house for a Light commercial vehicle."
Ashok Leyland's new Bada Dost comes with new premium and contemporary exterior styling with signature indicator lights. The LCV bigger than the existing Dost range, and also offers a best-in-class ground clearance of 206 mm, along with new 15-inch steel wheels with covers, shod in 215-75 section tubeless tyres. The LCV also comes with a best-in-class loading area of 9.8 feet translating to more profitability. Ashok Leyland is also offering LED taillamps, reverse parking assist function, 50-litre fuel tank. The suspension duties are handled by a 2 stage leaf RFS with double-acting shock absorbers up front, and semi-elliptic 2 stage leaf suspension with double-acting shock absorbers at the rear.
Ashok Leyland says that idea was to create a global standard product, and thus a lot of attention has been given to the cabin and creature comforts, offering car-like features. The Bada Dost comes with an ARAI certified 3-seater layout with cushioned fabric seats with seatbelts, foldable backrest, and reclining & sliding driver seat. Instead of exposed sheet metal, the cabin comes with moulded trims for roof and doors, bright LED roof lamp, and doors equipped with bottle holders & ashtray. The dashboard also comes with several utility compartments, dual glove box (LX trim), Digital instrument cluster, Provision for music system, USB provision for mobile charging, and ergonomically positioned dash-mounted gear shift lever. The Bada Dost also comes with a tilt-adjustable power steering wheel with optional air-con system.
Ashok Leyland has installed its first, state-of-the-art, fully robotic cubing line at it Hosur plant for the new Bada Dost, which will manufacture both Left-Hand Drive (LHD) and Right-Hand Drive (RHD) models. Depending on the application, the vehicle will be available in multiple Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) options. While initially, the LCV will be launched with a 70 bhp BS6 compliant diesel engine, soon the company will also introduce a CNG version. Ashok Leyland is also planning to introduce an electric vehicle in the future, depending on demand and government regulations.
By December 2020, the company will also start exporting the vehicle to other markets as well. The RHD model will go to markets like - Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. By early 2021, the company will start exporting to LHD version markets in Africa.