The foundation of Ashok Leyland goes back to 1948 when a humble freedom fighter from Punjab, Raghunandan Saran started Ashok Motors. Saran named this company after his only son Ashok. Initially, the company made collaboration with the Austin Motor Company of UK in 1948 to assemble Austin cars.
In 1950, Leyland Motors of UK formed a joint venture with Ashok Motors to assemble commercial vehicles. The next year, in 1951, the assembly of Leyland chassis began and was operating smoothly until the tragic death of Raghunandan Saran in a 1953 air crash.
Raksha Saran, the widow of Raghunandan, stepped forward for managing the company and production continued without any hindrance. In 1954, Ashok Motors got the government approval for manufacturing commercial vehicles.
Instigation as a Company –
After Leyland UK bought significant equity in Ashok Motors, the company changed names to Ashok Leyland in 1955. Thus, began Ashok Leyland’s journey which launched India’s first double-decker bus – Titan in 1967. It further introduced India’s first commercial vehicle with power steering in 1969.
The company further went on to introduce the Hippo Tipper in 1970, specially designed for the Indian Army. They again made history by launching Viking in 1976; India’s first bus with an alternator and a front door for passenger entry.
They went on to launch the Cheetah, India’s first bus with a rear engine in 1978. This company also receives credit for launching India’s first 13-ton truck – Tusker and the first multi-axle truck – Taurus, both in 1980. Two years later, in 1982 this company introduced the first articulated bus.
Approvals & Certifications –
Ashok Leyland became the first company to get ISO 9001 certification in 1993 and went on to open India’s first driver training facility at Namakkal, Tamil Nadu in 1995. In 1997, this company introduced India’s first CNG bus in 1997 and showcased the first Hybrid Electric Vehicle in the Auto Expo 2002.
In 2005, this company became the first automobile manufacturer to receive BS 7799 certification while the Stag became India’s first bus to travel along the Srinagar – Muzzafarabad road in 2005.
Leyland showcased India’s first Hybrid CNG Plug-in bus at Auto Expo 2010.
In 2012, this company introduced the world’s first single front engine, step entry, fully flat floor bus – Jan Bus and the U-3723; India’s first 37-tonne truck with the highest payload capacity of 27 tonnes.
Glancing at Present Scenarios –
Currently, Ashok Leyland market share posts them at the 2nd spot in the Indian commercial vehicle market boasting of an approximate 33% market share in India.
Although specifically concentrating on medium and heavy commercial, this company launched one light commercial vehicle – Dost.
Subcontinental presence –
Ashok Leyland always tries to stay ahead of their competitors giving customers an efficient customer service, genuine automobile parts, and their driver training program. Presently the company gives training to drivers in their special institutes located across India in:
- Railmagra, Rajasthan
- Vadodara, Gujarat
- Kaithal, Haryana
- Yelahanka, Karnataka
- Namakkal, Tamil Nadu
- Burari, Delhi
- Dharwad, Karnataka
- Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh
- Chhatia, Odisha
The company claims that persons receiving proper training from these 9 Driver Training Institutes (DTI) can save up to 5% fuel which can directly contribute towards a reduced total operating cost of 3%.