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Force Motors to launch hybrid version of Traveller

Last updated on: December 22, 2011 15:12 IST

Force Motors to launch hybrid version of Traveller

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Force Motors on Thursday said it will launch a hybrid variant of its commercial vehicle 'Traveller' by the end of 2012 after unveiling to the public at the upcoming Auto Expo next month.

The company will also launch a nine-seater multi-purpose vehicle, being developed under a license from German auto giant Daimler, by 2013 with price ranging around of Rs 12 lakh-15 lakh (Rs 1.2-1.5 million).

"We are showcasing a hybrid concept of the Traveller at the Delhi Auto Expo in January. It will be a parallel hybrid that utilises solar energy as well as has regenerative exhaust systems," Force Motors managing director Prasan Firodia told reporters in New Delhi.

The company is developing the technology in association with a firm from the United Kingdom, he added.

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"We will commercially launch the vehicle within a year from now. This will be manufactured at our Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh," Firodia said.

Beside, the company will also showcase a CNG version of the Traveller during the auto show at the National Capital from January 5-11.

Talking about its association with Daimler, Firodia said: "We have tied up with the German firm to produce a nine-seater van under a licence agreement. We will launch the vehicle in Indian market in 2013."

In July this year, the domestic firm had tied up with Daimler for comprehensive supply of product technology for the proposed multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

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Asked about the price of the new vehicle, he said: "This will be a completely new category. Although we have decided yet, it will be in the range of Rs 12 lakh-Rs 15 lakh."

Force Motors currently uses a 2.2 litre common rail engine, the OM 611, in Traveller range of vehicles. Variants of this engine will be adapted for installation in the MPV, the company had earlier said.

The company is setting up a new facility at Pithampur for this MPV with a capacity of 24,000 units per annum, to be attained in two equal phases.

Elaborating on the agreement, Firodia said: "We have bought a complete vehicle under licence. Though we cannot export it to Europe, but we can still sell it in neighbouring nations like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh."

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Force Motors will, however, be supplying parts of the MPV such as sheet metals to Europe, he added.

In August this year, Force Motors had said it would

invest Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) across passenger and commercial vehicles segments to build-up capacities, carry out R&D activities and launching new products, over the next two years.

On new products, Firodia said the company will launch a new 26-seater bus at the Auto Expo, besides introducing some variants of its sports utility vehicle (SUV) Force One.

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Meanwhile, the company is ramping the production capacity of Force One to 1,000 units a month from January. It currently rolls out 500 units every month.

"The demand for Force One is very good. At present we are having a waiting period of about 45 days for this vehicle and so we are hiking the output," Firodia said.

Firodia said the company has already sold 1,000 units so far since its launch in August as against an aim to sell 4,000 vehicles in the first year.

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The company is targeting to sell 10,000 units of Force One during next fiscal, he added.

In August, the company had rolled out the SUV, priced at Rs 10.65 lakh (Rs 1.065 million), ex-showroom, Delhi. It has roped in Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador to promote the SUV.

The company is expecting to sell a total of 65,000-67,000 vehicles, including the Traveller range, in 2012-13, he said, adding: "We are expecting a about 45 per cent jump in Force Motors's revenue to around Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion) in this fiscal."

Firodia said the company's dealer strength will be ramped up to 44 by the end of the year from 22 dealerships currently.




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