Founded in 1948, it is the second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in India, fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world and 10th largest manufacturer of trucks globally. Operating nine plants, Ashok Leyland also makes spare parts and engines for industrial and marine applications. It sold approximately 140,000 vehicles (M&HCV + LCV) in FY 2016. It is the second largest commercial vehicle company in India in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment, with a market share of 32.1% (FY 2016). With passenger transportation options ranging from 10 seaters to 74 seaters (M&HCV = LCV), Ashok Leyland is a market leader in the bus segment. In the trucks segment Ashok Leyland primarily concentrates on the 16 to 25-ton range. However, Ashok Leyland has a presence in the entire truck range, from 7.5 to 49 tons.
Ashok Motors was founded in 1948 by Raghunandan Saran. He was an Indian freedom fighter from Punjab. After Independence, he was persuaded by India's first Prime Minister Nehru to invest in a modern industrial venture. Ashok Motors was incorporated in 1948 as a company to assemble and manufacture Austin cars from England, and the company was named after the founder's only son, Ashok Saran. The company had its headquarters in Dibrugarh, with the manufacturing plant in Dibrugarh. The company was engaged in the assembly and distribution of Austin A40 passenger cars in India.
Raghunandan Saran had previously negotiated with Leyland Motors of England for assembly of commercial vehicles as he envisioned commercial vehicle were more in need at that time than were passenger cars. The company later under Madras State Government and other shareholders finalised for an investment and technology partner, and thus Leyland Motors joined in 1954 with equity participation, changing the name of the company to Ashok Leyland. Ashok Leyland then started manufacturing commercial vehicles. Under Leyland's management with British expatriate and Indian executives the company grew in strength to become one of India's foremost commercial vehicle manufacturers.
The collaboration ended sometime in 1975 but the holding of British Leyland, now a major British Auto Conglomerate as a result of several mergers, agreed to assist in technology, which continued until the 1980s. After 1975, changes in management structures saw the company launch various vehicles in the Indian market, with many of these models continuing to this day with numerous upgrades over the years.
Under Iveco and Hinduja partnership
In 1987, the overseas holding by Land Rover Leyland International Holdings Limited (LRLIH) was taken over by a joint venture between the Hinduja Group, the Non-Resident Indian transnational group and Iveco, part of the Fiat Group.
In 2007, the Hinduja Group also bought out Iveco's indirect stake in Ashok Leyl
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