Ashok Leyland to roll out electric buses in UAE

The Ras Al Khaimah plant has bagged orders for 1,400 school buses from major fleet operators in the UAE.

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Dheeraj Hinduja — Supplied photo
Dheeraj Hinduja — Supplied photo

Issac John

Published: Wed 31 Aug 2022, 9:20 PM

Ashok Leyland, the world’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, said it would expand its UK-based electric vehicle company’s operations in the UAE and look forward to rolling out electric buses in the GCC markets soon.

The flagship brand of the Hinduja Group that has made its mark as the only bus manufacturer in the GCC region with the opening of a manufacturing facility in Ras Al Khaimah in 2008, said its UK-based electric vehicle company, Switch Mobility, sees big growth potential through expansion in the UAE and the GCC. The move will help the group fulfill its aspiration of zero carbon emission transportation, the $4.2 billion transnational company said.

“We see huge opportunities for growth through Switch’s expansion in UAE and the GCC and look forward to launching our electric vehicles in these markets soon,” said Dheeraj Hinduja, executive chairman, Ashok Leyland.

Speaking at a media briefing, Hinduja revealed that the Ras Al Khaimah plant has bagged orders for 1,400 school buses from major fleet operators in the UAE, the company’s largest ever supply of school buses in the Emirates.

The buses include the 55-seater Falcon and 32-seater Oyster models. “The buses will be delivered from our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ras Al Khaimah, which is the only certified local bus making facility in the entire GCC,” said Hinduja.

“We are very happy to receive these orders, and this is a historic moment for Ashok Leyland in the UAE. This is a testament to the reliability, durability and robustness of our buses and reaffirms the faith that our customers have in our buses being the safest for transporting school students,” Hinduja said. The record fleet deal has been bagged by Ashok Leyland’s UAE distribution partners, Swaidan Trading of Al Naboodah Group. Most of the supplies will be made to Emirates Transport and STS Group, a statement from the company said.

Since the Ras Al Khaimah facility has reached full capacity, the company is planning to set up another production unit in the region. Hinduja said the location and other specifications of the new plant would be decided on the basis of market conditions and demand. At present, Ashok Leyland has nine manufacturing plants across India, the UAE and the UK, and is present across 50 countries.

Hinduja said all buses are made in the UAE assembly plant. “The product concepts originate in the UAE. The designs are done by our engineers in the UAE and are assembled in the local factory, with more than 55 per cent of parts sourced in the UAE. It will be apt to call it “The Emirati Bus”- Made in UAE, for the GCC.”

Amandeep Singh, head of Ashok International Operations, said Ashok Leyland is one of the fastest growing brands in the Middle East with a growing market presence in the UAE. “Our lowest total cost of ownership and strong after-sales support differentiates us and has helped us win these orders. We are excited with the growth we are seeing in the UAE economy and the opportunity it provides. We have aggressive plans to further enhance our portfolio in light commercial vehicle space. You will hear from us shortly,” said Singh.

The $50 million Ras Al Khaimah plant is a joint venture between Ashok Leyland, which is the second largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, and the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), and has an installed capacity of 4,000 buses a year.

Since its start in 2008, the plant has rolled out 25,500 buses. More than 7000 establishments in GCC own an Ashok Leyland product, transporting 1.8 million passengers every day. Singh said the company has expanded the portfolio and launched light commercial vehicles “Partner Truck” and “Gazl Buses.” The UAE plant also exports buses to African countries.—

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