April 9, 2012
-- State owned public sector undertaking, Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation is planning to operate Chinese buses from Chennai and Bangalore to Tirupati on an experimental basis. The PSU has already sent two Chinese buses to the Automotive Research Association of India, the Pune-based cooperative industrial research association by the automotive industry, with the Ministry of Industries, Government of India for approval. Once APSRTC gets formal certification, the two buses will start operating. Out of the two vehicles, one is a mini-bus of 8.5 metre length that has 33 seats, while the second vehicle is 12 metre long with a capacity of 41 seats. These two buses are imported from China, produced by the world's largest bus manufacturer, Foton. In fact, the Beijing-based Foton has forged an alliance with Deccan Auto, a Hyderabad-based automobile company and are setting up a Rs 500 crore manufacturing facility at Patancheruvu in Medak District of Andhra Pradesh.
If approved by ARAI, APSRTC would be operating from Bangalore and Chennai to Tirumala on a trial basis and it finds viable, will order for more buses. The work of the new bus manufacturing unit at patancheruvu is progressing and the first bus would be rolled out next month.
As of now, two major home grown bus manufacturers, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland dominate the space in the country. With the arrival of other players, the competition in this segment is going to be much more intense in the coming days. When the new India-China joint venture starts mass production of buses, the prices of their vehicles would be much lower than the Indian players. For instance, the APSRTC officials say that the average cost of an 8.5 metre long air-conditioned bus would be between Rs 30-35 lakh. In contrast with that, the Chinese bus with 225 horse power would cost only Rs 27 lakh. The corporation has bought two buses on a trial basis and if found, viable, it is likely to place a big order. Similarly, all the PSUs will be looking forward to buyer low-cost buses to minimise the expenditure. For a full report, visit http://automotivehorizon.sulekha.com/apsrtc-to-experiment...