As part of its strategy to become one of the top five bus manufacturers in the world,Ashok Leyland (ALL) has entered the Australian market through its UK subsidiary,Optare,with an exclusive dealership appointment. Optare,in which Ashok Leyland holds a 75.1% stake,will be the key driver for ALL to spread its wings across the globe to become a major bus player. As part of its entry,Optare will soon demonstrate its vehicles for the Australian customers.
The dealer Avia Oceania is based in Dandenong,a suburb of Melbourne and is the Avia truck dealer for Australia. Avia is also a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland and the appointment directly stems from that relationship. Initially,Optare will offer its Tempo SR and Solo SR single-deck models.
“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 prospect of doing business in Australia through Avia Oceania,” said Glenn Saint,Optare’s deputy CEO.
“The Australian bus market is substantial with an estimated 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,” he added.
“Well also be looking at the high density urban sector with our 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 9,650 kg,giving it the potential to carry up to 85 passengers,” he said further.
It may be recalled that Ashok Leyland picked up a 26% stake in Optare in July 2010,and then subsequently increased it to 75% in January 2012 with an eye on the international bus market. Optare,a leading bus maker in the UK,gives impetus to ALL’s global bus strategy to accelerate technology adoption,develop new products and address new markets.
Exporting to over 30 countries worldwide,ALL is the leader in the bus markets of Sri Lanka,Bangladesh and Mauritius and has a significant presence in the Middle East and Africa too. The company also participanted in the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Lagos,Nigeria,which is going a long way in providing better and comfortable city travel and is ready to make inroads into CIS and Latin America.
With the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority,the company also set up a state-of-the-art facility at Ras Al Khaimah,UAE,with an initial annual capacity to manufacture 2,000 vehicles of international quality.