The commercial launch of the Ashok Leyland-Nissan Dost Pick Up Truck is just around the corner even as the production of the latest entrant in the Indian mini pick up truck market has commenced at the Ashok Leyland factory at Hosur. The Dost LCV comes with many class leading features like a three cylinder, common rail diesel engine, power steering and air conditioning, which if accepted well by the Indian pick up truck market, could see the Dost’s features soon being replicated amongst the other mini pick up trucks in India.
Quite surprisingly, Ashok Leyland and Nissan are opening standalone dealerships despite the Dost LCV being an effort borne out of a joint venture. Under this model, both Ashok Leyland and Nissan will independently establish dealerships, which will sell and service the various products to be produced under the joint venture.The Dost will be sold in 25 dealerships to begin with, with that number going up to 63 by the year end, further increasing to 100 by the end of 2012.
We’re still wondering how exactly the independent dealership model will work as Nissan and Leyland would have to ensure that they don’t operate in the same area simultaneously. Perhaps, we might have an agreement between Leyland and Nissan so that the two brands operate in different regions/cities/towns of the country. Another possibility could be that Nissan could mainly focus on the passenger vehicles spawned out of the joint venture while Leyland could focus on the load carrying segment.
This, as the Ashok Leyland-Nissan NV200 MPV is due for a launch in 2012, and that vehicle would require slightly up-market dealerships as it is touted to compete with the likes of the Mahindra Xylo MPV and the Toyota Innova MPV. Customers of these premium MPVs wouldn’t want to hobnob with commercial vehicle dealerships and would expect a certain level of finesse in customer service, a factor that is usually missing at commercial vehicle dealerships. So, the strategy of Nissan handling passenger vehicles while Ashok Leyland managing the load carriers seems quite apt.