Monday, December 20, 2010

Mahindra sponsored Life Line Express project concludes successfully in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh

1823 beneficiaries treated in 21 days

Farrukhabad, December 11, 2010: The Mahindra sponsored Life Line Express project successfully concluded in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh today. Mr. Salman Khurshid, Hon. Minister for Corporate Affairs and Minority Affairs, was the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony. Other dignitaries present included Mrs. Louise Khurshid, Chairperson of the Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial Trust, Mr. Rajeev Dubey, President (Group HR & After-Market) and Chairman of the CSR Council, Mahindra Group and Col. R.S. Vishwen, COO of the Lifeline Express Project.

Left to Right: Mr. Salman Khurshid, Hon. Minister for Corporate Affairs and Minority Affairs, Mr. Rajeev Dubey, President (Group HR & After-Market) and Chairman of the CSR Council, Mahindra Group & Mrs. Louise Khurshid, Chairperson of the Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial Trust at the closing ceremony of the Life Line Express Project in Farrukhabad
The project was inaugurated on November 19, 2010 and has treated 1823 patients in a span of 21 days. Conditions treated included operable orthopaedic disabilities (post polio deformities), hearing related disorders, cleft lip, dental and eye related operable disabilities.

“I would like to thank Mahindra for bringing this excellent initiative to Farrukhabad. The Life Line Express has made a significant difference in the lives of those suffering from avoidable disablement in this region. These kinds of initiatives are possible when the private sector joins hands with the public sector, when they want to share the pain of the people,” said Mr. Khurshid.

“Mahindra is thankful to everyone specially, Mr. Salman Khurshid, Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial Trust and Major S. Singh college for giving us the opportunity to conduct the camp in Farrukhabad.” said Mr. Dubey.

The Lifeline Express, the world’s first hospital on rails, is an initiative against avoidable disablement. Avoidable disablement has been on the national agenda for decades, highlighted by the suffering of those in rural India where medical services are scarce or nonexistent.

The Impact India Foundation launched this project in 1991. The Life Line Express offers medical and surgical interventions to the differently abled in remote areas, free of cost. The train consists of five fully air-conditioned coaches, equipped with the most modern medical apparatus.

This is the fourth time Mahindra has lent support to the Life Line Express project. In 2007, the company’s Farm Equipment Sector helped bring the train to Rudrapur, while in 2008, the Automotive Sector and Mahindra Finance sponsored the project in Rangia, Assam. In January 2010, the Farm Equipment Sector and Mahindra Finance joined hands to bring the Train of Hope to Wardha in Maharashtra.

Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial Trust, Farrukhabad, Impact India Foundation and Major S. D. Singh Medical College and Hospital, Fatehgarh have come together to support this initiative. The medical and paramedical staff from Major S. D. Singh Medical College and Hospital, Fatehgarh also volunteered their services for this humanitarian cause.
Details of surgeries performed aboard the Life Line Express:

[Type of Surgery: No of Surgeries]
  • Cleft Lip: 34
  • Ear – Deafness: 70
  • Paralytic below waist causing Polio: 30
  • Dental Treatment: 934
  • Eye – Cataract: 510

Monday, November 22, 2010

Government of India donates 500 Mahindra tractors to Government of Sri Lanka

Mr. Basil Rajapaksha, Minister of Economic development, Sri Lanka tries his hand at the wheel of a Mahindra tractor

November 16, 2010, Mumbai: The Government of India recently donated 500 Mahindra tractors to the Government of Sri Lanka to help the rural population in North Sri Lanka. M/s DIMO, the Mahindra dealer in Sri Lanka, was awarded the contract for supply of these tractors.

The first batch of 52 tractors out of the total order of 500 was handed over by HE, Mr. Ashok K. Kantha, the High Commissioner of India in Colombo to Mr. Basil Rajapaksha, Minister of Economic development, Sri Lanka. The ceremony was attended by Hon. Rishad Bathiyudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Dogulas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development and Major General (Retd.) G. A. Chandrasiri, Governor of Northern Province.  All the tractors come with a complete set of farm implements, namely, 9 Tine Tiller, Rotovator, two furrow Disc Plough and cage wheel.

We are delighted that the Government of India has chosen to donate Mahindra tractors to the Government of Sri Lanka. The Mahindra Group has a long and enduring association with Sri Lanka which is an important market for us and this is our way of helping in the nation building process,” said Mr. P. N. Shah, Chief Executive, International Operations, Automotive and Farm Sector.

Mahindra has already established a base for itself in Sri Lanka where it has been selling its range of tractors and utility vehicles for over a decade. The Group now plans to further consolidate its presence by foraying into the hospitality and finance sectors.

Mahindra tractor models 575 DI and the 605 are very popular in Sri Lanka. Future plans include a focus on expanding the range, offering agricultural implements along with tractors and increasing the service network to serve customers better.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Horn OK Please: A History

One theory says that 'Horn OK Please' resembles three modes in which a vehicle following another vehicle should interact. The first mode is HORN, if the following vehicle wants to overtake a vehicle ahead of it from the left side then horn should be blown. This way the leading vehicle gets knowledge about the speeding vehicle and does not make a sudden left turn. The second mode is that of OK, if the following vehicle is exactly behind a vehicle, OK denotes that the vehicle which is leading has no problem about the following vehicle and thus middle name is OK. The third and final mode is that of PLEASE, in which the vehicle leading notifies the following vehicle that if it intends to overtake from the right side then it can with no objections.

Another theory goes, that The Tata Oil Mills Co. Ltd. (TOMCO), unveiled an economy detergent powder called OK. This brand had a symbol in a shape of a lotus flower. To market this detergent better, it is believed that the symbols were painted on trucks and Lorries. Since the trucks had ‘Horn Please’ already painted on the left and right edges of the back flap, the lotus flower symbol and OK was painted in the center of the flap. That's what got OK in between Horn Please, making it 'Horn Ok Please'. Moving with time, it became a tradition for truck drivers and owners to paint their trucks in such a fashion.
The most verifiable theory that we have explored is that the phrase wasn’t always a mere decorative whim of indulgent truck drivers. It originated as a serious cautionary indication during the World War II. Kerosene fueled trucks were used then for movement of troops. Highly unstable in nature, the kerosene would cause trucks to explode at the slightest accident. Hence, it was painted on, ‘Horn Please.On Kerosene’.
Do you have any other exciting theory about the origin of this term? Please share it with us here on our blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mahindra Youth Football Challenge launched Inaugural intra-city leg in Delhi

Its kickoff time at the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge (MYFC) and the playing field is the capital city of New Delhi. The first round of this unique Under-14 Schools Football Tournament-cum-Talent Hunt will see 32 leading soccer playing schools from Delhi competing amongst themselves to bag the honour of the “Champion School’ of Delhi. These schools will then lock horns with five other champion schools from Mumbai, Kolkatta, Goa, Bangalore and Kerala to decide the winner of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge.

MYFC is the Mahindra Group’s commitment to promote football at the grassroots level. The company has partnered with Scottish football giants, Celtics Football Club, who will take on the responsibility of training and grooming young talent identified through the initiative.
In its first season, MYFC will play out in six cities including popular football destinations - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Goa, Bangalore and Kerala, casting a wide net to identify the most talented junior football players in the country.  The MYFC initiative is being promoted and executed by leading sports management company, Procam International.

Speaking at the launch of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge earlier in Mumbai, Anand Mahindra Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group said, “We are delighted to be back as promised with a grassroots level football programme, a sport we have long been associated with. The Mahindra Youth Football Challenge aims to cultivate young talent and provide a competitive framework to hone their skills.”

Backing Mahindra’s commitment to the sport was Peter Lawell, Chief Executive, Celtics FC, who said, ‘We are delighted to partner with Mahindra, who like us have a long and cherished history with football. It is the perfect platform to bring our rich coaching and community experience to India.  Youngsters will now have the opportunity to play in an organized league and further develop their skills through world-class coaching.”

Speaking about the top-class event that will commence in the six cities, Vivek B Singh, Joint Managing Director, Procam International, said, "It is indeed a pleasure to be associated with a project that involves such reputed entities as Mahindra and Celtics FC. Procam International is committed to giving India's junior footballers a professional playing experience, enabling them to focus completely on the task on hand, which is to play good football."

The Delhi leg of the MYFC is being held in association with the Delhi Soccer Association and matches will be played at the Ganga International ground, CRPF ground and the Bal Bhawan ground at Dwarka.
Among the top 32 schools invited to participate in the championships are fancied names that include CRPF School, Ganga International, Bal Bhavan, Modern Barakhamba, Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, St. Xavier’s,  Dipiksha Public School and DPS, to name a few.

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES: There is plenty to play for in the Intra-City stage, with the winners from each city gaining Rs. 30,000, the runners-up team Rs. 20,000 and the 3rd placed winner Rs. 15,000. The teams that reach the last eight stages will be provided with kitting, while the winners and runners-up teams will be awarded trophies with each player from these teams getting a kit bag. Similarly, there will be a ‘Star Performer of the Game’ trophy for each match from the quarter-final stage and ‘Best Player of the Tournament’ Trophy to be won.
Going ahead, the champion school of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge will receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000, along with the winner’s trophy, while the runner-up team will win a cash prize of Rs 30,000 and a trophy. There will also be awards such as ‘Star Performer of the Game’ and individual appreciation trophies for the ‘Best Striker’, ‘Best Mid-fielder’, ‘Best Defender’ and ‘Best Goalkeeper.’
Each player from the six teams in the Inter-City League will be given two pairs of kitting (Jersey, Shorts & Stockings), while travel, out of pocket expenses during the travel, and lodging & boarding of all the six schools will be taken care of by MYFC.

A CHANCE TO LEARN FROM THE BEST: The winning schools from the six cities and their coaches will benefit from a four-day coaching camp to be conducted by a panel of visiting coaches from the Celtics Football Club before the Inter-City Challenge. This same panel will then shortlist 16 players from the Inter-City Challenge who will further undergo an intensive five-day long coaching clinic where two to four of the best players will be picked to travel to Scotland and the Celtics Football Club for further intensive training.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mahindra Navistar Automotive Ltd. inaugurates Nashik Dealership

Mahindra Navistar Automotive Ltd. has successfully inaugurated a state-of-the-art dealership in Nashik on October 11th, 2010. This is in keeping with the MNAL’s promise of establishing 100 dealerships in 24 months. The dealership sports a splendid look, highly trained staff, a well-equipped workshop, prompt spare parts availability and mobile service vans. It is the first of its kind in India and has a modern look and feel. This dealership is being managed by M/S Jitendra,  Autoworld.
Inaugurating the state of the art dealership earlier in the day, Dr. Pawan Goenka, President – Automotive & Farm Equipment Sector, said, “This is a moment of pride for us as we look at changing the skyline of the India trucking industry. We have created a world class manufacturing plant in Chakan and are creating a modern distribution network in the country as the one here in Nashik to cater to the growing needs of the customers. Highly trained staffs, a well-equipped workshop, prompt spare parts availability and mobile service vans have been ensured to enable our customers to get a hassle free and delightful experience of owning our trucks”.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Nalin Mehta, Chief Operating Officer, Mahindra Navistar Automotives Ltd., said “During the unveiling, we had promised that ‘OK will no longer be OK’ and we will revolutionize Indian trucking by challenging the norms. Further, our Corporate Identity Program to create a uniform dealership identity and experience will ensure that our dealerships remain benchmarks for commercial vehicle industry. The dealership will start selling and servicing the existing range of LCVs and Busses. In addition, it will also start providing the ‘touch & feel’ and demonstration of the new range of HCVs, starting with the MN25 truck, that was launched recently.”

Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sanjay Shah, Director, Jitendra’s AutoWorld, said, “We are very excited and feel honoured to be a part of the new chapter in the trucking industry that we are about to unveil together with Mahindra Navistar for the customers of Nashik. Jitendra’s AutoWorld has earned a name for itself through superior customer service in its various businesses and the dealership of Mahindra Navistar provides us a great opportunity of replicating the same high standards by leveraging our deep understanding of Nashik market. Together we will help our customers outperform.”
With the inauguration of the Nashik dealership, Mahindra Navistar has rolled out the process of creating the exclusive network of dealerships on a massive scale - a unique step for the trucking industry in India. Moreover, Mahindra’s already existing network will be deployed for the after-sales support. Over the next two years, Mahindra Navistar plans to commission over 100 dealerships across the country thus rapidly expanding their pan India presence.

India faces critical shortage of truck-drivers

The Indian Logistics Sector has been facing a critical shortage of experienced and trained drivers. A study done in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry says India's road freight segment would need nearly 51 million truck drivers by 2015. That’s a very steep figure. The study paper 'Skills Gaps in the Indian Logistics Sector' has estimated that currently India has only 3 million truck drivers for medium and heavy commercial vehicles. The logistic sector will not be able to handle this shortage as this sector is very crucial to business. This should give you a perspective on how serious this problem is. Suppose that if 50 per cent of all drivers in India are to be trained, almost 125 institutes of the size and scale of the existing one in Namakkal will be required in the next 7-8 years, says the paper.
There are some areas where skills are lacking. They include familiarity with warehousing formats (like WA and VNA compared to the prevalent ground storage), with modern equipment, with IT systems (WMS, handhelds, RFID), industry-specific stocking and handling practices, and practices around safety and security of stock, the paper notes.
Better skills will decrease India's spending on logistics, which at 13 per cent of GDP, is higher than the developed nations. The reason for this has to be relatively higher level of inefficiencies in the system, with lower average trucking speeds, higher turnaround time at ports and high cost of administrative delays. The shortage of drivers is a big problem and remedial measures should be taken so that driving long haul trucks can be looked at as a career option. These measures include better pay, health insurance, employee facility and good treatment of drivers. Compared to the west, trucking as a career, has not really taken off in India. For that to happen, a radical overhaul in thought and prevalent customs is required.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Rise of Indian Infrastructure

India has a vast network of National Highways (NHs) totaling to 34,298 km connecting important towns cities, ports and industrial centres of the country. Industrialization of the country has induced a traffic
growth of 8-12 percent per year on many sections of National Highways and this growth trend is expected to continue. While the traffic on National Highways has been growing at a rapid pace, it has not been possible for the Government to provide matching funds due to competing demand from other priority sectors. This has led to a large number of deficiencies in the network. Many sections of the NHs are in need of capacity augmentation by way of widening grade separation construction of bypasses, bridges and expressways etc. Many bridges are in need of replacement. The traffic movement on NHs is also hindered due to a large number of Rail-Road crossings where road traffic has to per force stop due to the frequent closures. The overall scenario on the highways has led to economic losses by way of longer turnaround time for the vehicle fleeting rising vehicle operating costs and dissipation of human energy in the driving. This calls for urgent remedial measures.

Road transport and road transportation are essential for rapid growth of an economy and is an important input in an economy which depends on the transport of people and goods. Transport costs reduction promotes specialization and extension of markets. Global competition has made the existence of efficient transport and logistics systems in delivery chain an absolute necessity. Easy accessibility, flexibility of operations, door-to-door service and reliability has earned road transport an increasingly higher share of both passenger and freight traffic compared to other transport modes. Road transport has emerged as the dominant segment in India’s transportation sector with a share of 4.5 per cent in India’s GDP in recent years (NRTP, 2008). However, the road infrastructure industry has become inadequate and is increasingly unable to meet emerging requirements on Indian industry and people. This is mainly due to the shortcoming of the road network in terms of mileage as well as quality. Overhaul of the infrastructure will go a long way in promoting efficiency of vehicles’ operations. Part of the problem also lies in the inability of service organizations, especially in the public sector driven mechanism, to deliver outcomes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Safety Precautions on the Highway

Highways are the most used mediums of Logistics and transport in India. Indian Highways are well connected but woefully wanting in quality. This poses a lot of problems to truck drivers and transport in general. Another important fall-out of the quality of Indian roads is the safety risk they pose to human life and businesses.  Global Status Report on Road Safety has reported that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. The report calls road fatalities an "epidemic" that will become the world's fifth biggest killer by 2030.

Accidents and highways have been synonymous for a long time now. This has a lot to do with the nature of safety precautions that are in place for trucks and drivers. Enumerated below are some of the precautions that truck drivers and any other motorist on the highway should observe.

Speed is one of the most critical factors that lead to accidents. The speed limits on the highways and other roads have to be strictly adhered to. These limits are for the driver's good, because excess speed and one other mistake may result in a pile-up on the highway which may claim many fatalities.

The attention of the driver is the key to a safe trip on the highway. The driver should get a good night’s sleep and shouldn't let his attention waver throughout the journey. There should be two drivers in the truck. Double-shift can be very dangerous as you can imagine a heavy truck with a dozing driver will definitely cause mayhem on the highway. Make sure that the drivers are free from any intoxicants. Alcohol increases the probability of accidents occurring to a large degree.

Poor infrastructure:
Bad infrastructure can also play a major role in causing accidents. Sub-standard roads, potholes, cracks and un-maintained roads increase the risk if an accident occurring. If the driver has to travel a badly maintained highway, he should pay attention to nature of the road always and drive as carefully as possible.

These are the problems that affect truck-drivers and fleet-owners and logistics companies from meeting their business targets. In the next article you will see how the infrastructure is actually improving and how in the coming years we will be at par with global standards.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Trucking Series

Challenges of Trucking

Driving a truck is both a dangerous and exhilarating job. It requires unwavering attention and warrants that the driver be a trained professional.  Driving a truck in India is a very challenging affair due to various factors like traffic, bad road conditions and anomalous weather conditions.  The average truck driver in India makes very less money compared to his counterparts in other countries like USA, Canada etc.
A truck is nothing less than a powerful vehicle built to negotiate the toughest road conditions and do this while carrying its load. The actual purpose of a truck is the transport of goods and every other use is basically just a by-product. It is imperative that the driver use his mental faculties to the fullest when negotiating a particular terrain. It is a very stressful life to be always on the road. Due to obsolete features in nearly decade old trucks, the safety of the driver is never guaranteed. This is why we hear about accidents on the highway involving trucks. Modern trucks like the MN 25 and the MN 31 give much needed relief for the driver due to the advanced tech that these trucks have. They have sophisticated design and are a breath of fresh air in the Indian trucking scene. 
It takes brave men to face such harsh conditions in order to transport their consignments. Their lives will be much easier if their trucks improve. This will ensure that they and their consignments are secure from accidents due to faulty design and obsolete features. The need for this is critical as we, as a nation progress ahead technologically. There should be no more dependence on the old. Even though they might work it is never okay to put a human life at risk. Every truck driver should have access to the better vehicles and a secure future. This is your decision.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Trucking Series

The History Of Trucks

Trucks have always played a major role in the economic progress of any region. They are the backbone of the supply and demand ecosystem. Heavy trucks are not only used for transport, but are also used in intensive operations like mining and construction. We can only fathom how challenging it might have been for industries before the advent of trucks and railroads. While we ponder this, we will now go over the history of trucks and see what innovations and progress has changed the way we perceive these machines.

After the advent of the internal combustion engine, pioneering efforts were put into the development of an automobile that could transport people. A natural by-product of these developments was the transport of goods. But for the transport of goods by automobiles to be practical, many changes had to be done to the design and technical aspects of the combustion engine. The specifications for the engine had to be scaled up, while keeping in mind the optimization of fuel consumption. The body of the automobile had to be designed in a way that it could sustain the transport of heavy goods to the desired places. Early models were very crude and could not transport much, but in these models you can see how the foundation was laid for modern trucks and their capabilities. Over the years, the sophistication of the engine increased along with optimization of the fuel consumption and steadily the trucks were able to transport more goods. The continuous innovation and technological advancements helped paved the way to the future. During the World Wars, supply and demand for almost everything increased many fold. This was the impetus that the truck manufacturing companies needed to create trucks that could handle much more storage material and could handle any terrain that was thrown at them.

Modern trucks are at the zenith of perfection that our advanced technology can provide. The performance is stellar and awe-inducing especially in retrospect, when you think of trucks in the past. One more important factor is the level of safety that has been achieved in modern times. Early trucks weren't safe at all. After a lot of careful research into this field, modern trucks now are safer than ever. Our trucks here at Mahindra Navistar are the result of this hundred year old collaborative effort and hard work by many pioneers in the field. This truck can now be yours. A hundred years in the making so that your needs will be taken care of efficiently.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Trucking Series

Know Your Truck inside out

Transport of goods is one of  the reasons for the climbing economy. The methods of transporting cargo have evolved with the progressive nature of technology. Transport trucks remain the backbone of this industry. Roadways are by far the most dependable and cost-effective way to transport goods from one place to another. Trucks have been around for a long time. Trucks vary greatly in size, power and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to a car. Depending on the requirement, custom parts and other changes have to be made to the truck so that it can be made dependable to carry the necessary load.
Almost all trucks share a common framework. They consist of  a chassis, a cab, an area for placing cargo or equipment, axles, suspension and road-wheels, an engine and a drive-train. Pneumatic, hydraulic, water, and electrical systems may also be identified.  The main features of the truck are:

Cab:The cab is the front portion of the truck where the driver sits. A sleeper is a compartment attached to the cab where the driver can take a break from driving. The cab is equipped with mostly all that a driver requires during his journey so that he doesn’t have to leave the cab for anything. The cabins for Mahindra Navistar trucks can be customised to have single sleeper or double sleeper options.

Engine:The oldest truck was built in 1896 by Gottlieb Daimler. Most small trucks such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) or pickups, and even light medium-duty trucks throughout the world use petrol but many diesel engined models are equally popular. Most heavier trucks use four stroke diesel engine with a turbocharger and after-cooler. Diesel engines are becoming the engine of choice for trucks as seen in MN 25 which uses the MaxxForce 7.2 Engine. This engine is a 7.2 litre in-line six cylinder diesel engine. It has a 4-valve per cylinder technology and features both a mechanical injection system with a Bosch Rotary pump, as well as a high-pressure 1800 bar common rail fuel injection system. The MaxxForce 7.2 diesel engine to be produced in India is also fully compliant with BS III and BS IV emissions standards.

Small trucks use the same type of transmissions as almost all cars, having either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission with synchromesh (synchronizers). Bigger trucks often use manual transmissions without synchronizers, saving bulk and weight, although synchromesh transmissions are used in larger trucks as well. MN 25 and MN 31 have 6 forward and 1 reverse syncromesh transmissions while the MN 40 and the MN 49 have  9 forward and 1 reverse sycromesh transmissions.
The frame is mostly made of steel, but can be made (whole or in part) of aluminium for a lighter weight. A tow bar may be found attached at one or both ends, but heavy trucks mostly make use of a fifth wheel hitch. A truck frame consists of two parallel boxed (tubular) or C-shaped rails, or beams, held together by cross-members.
It is very interesting to find out the details of a truck’s inner workings. We hope that you know your truck better now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ice Road Truckers

What happens when you combine trucks and sheer danger and throw snow into the mix? Well, you get Ice Road Truckers. This iconic show has been around for many seasons and has garnered many accolades. The show’s premise is driving trucks in hellishly cold and frigid areas. This is not about having a death wish but to test trucks and their safety in dangerous road conditions. The show is shot in high definition and charts two months in the lives of six extraordinary men who haul vital supplies to diamond mines and other remote locations over frozen lakes that double as roads. This is a different kind of reality show. There is real danger here and this job is touted to be the most challenging assignment ever.

Lisa Kelly is the first woman driver to appear on the show. She spent two months hauling cement in the Himalayas for practice. Lisa said that her Indian experience was a great one, but she criticised Indian Highway conditions for not being very safe and the Indian trucks for not being powerful enough to ride under these conditions. This increases the concern for safety.

New trucks in India will no longer be the same. We have brought to the market, powerful trucks which can deliver on such conditions. With our new trucks like MN 25 and MN40, we can safely say that Lisa Kelly will never have to complain about Indian trucks again. We applaud Lisa Kelly’s undaunting courage in exploring the Himalayas in these treacherous conditions. We are sure that trucking enthusiasts will love the show and will gain new insights in this exciting field.

Friday, September 17, 2010

MNAL inaugurates three new Dealerships

Mahindra Navistar Automotives Ltd. (MNAL) recently inaugurated three new dealerships in Bengaluru, Jaipur and Hyderabad. This is a big step forward for MNAL as it gears up to enter the trucking market in India. The new dealerships arrangements have been finalised with Trident Group in Bangalore, KS Motors (P) Ltd. in Jaipur and Variety Automobiles in Hyderabad. It plans to include a hundred dealerships all over the country within twenty-four months.

The dealerships are crucial in MNAL’s plan which is to give the Indian public access to the best trucks in the Indian Market. 

MNAL has ambitious plans for the Indian Market. The MN 25 variant has already been launched and is garnering rave reviews everywhere. Launching its first heavy vehicle, MN25, in Bangalore, MNAL managing director Rakesh Kalra said it sold around 11,000 light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the last fiscal, generating around Rs 600 crore. The goal of MNAL for the next 5 years is to increase their turnover to 6000 crores as compared to their current turnover of 600 crores. With MNAL gearing up to launch a chain of vehicles in light, medium and heavy CV sectors, he said the volumes would increase to 50,000-60,000 vehicles in the next four to five years. This is a significant challenge but MNAL is confident that they will reach that target, considering the response they have got. These dealerships have been devised to give the customer a smooth experience even after they buy the vehicle. All servicing and after sales support will be provided by these dealerships. These new dealerships are swanky and the staff is well trained.These dealerships have promised to aggressively promote MNAL trucks as they believe these trucks are instrumental in setting a high a standard for the trucking industry in India.

With everything falling in place smoothly, MNAL is looking forward to be the most premier trucking brand in India.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Highway woes on NH22

Traveling to Shimla is going to be painful these few months. The National Highway 22 which is the highway of choice to enter Shimla has been facing choking traffic for some time now. This is mainly due to the fact that the NHAI is widening the 40 km long NH22, in-spite of environmental concerns.

The widening of the NH22 involves the loosening up of soil around the plush mountainside which can give rise to many problems later like landslide.'A moderate rainfall triggers massive landslides along the highway as the earth becomes loose due to the cutting of hills and the movement of road construction machines. This leads to traffic jams almost every day,' Dheeraj Bhaik, a daily commuter on the highway, said. Tourists have been complaining in stringent terms about the construction work at the highway. Incidents like falling boulders and loose mud is a huge liability to the the commuters. This potentially dangerous situation could snowball further if no action is taken. Adding to the woes of commuters, an NHAI official said the widening of the road will take more than a year to complete as the cutting of slopes has just started near the Timber Trail Hotel. The environmentalists are concerned that the blasting rocks and the exploding debris is weakening the strength of the hill and it is a disaster waiting to happen.They are of the opinion that that it took atleast 20 years to stabilise the hills when the original highway was built and the government has been undoing its good work by widening the highway. The NHAI has responded by saying that they are following the most optimum and efficient steps on widening the highway and besides the traffic inconveniences there is nothing to be worried about. The state government has ensured that security forces are dispatched so that the traffic problem can be sorted and worked upon. If you are going to travel to Shimla during this time, the present situation should be noted and precaution taken.

Monday, September 6, 2010

OK is no longer OK

The world has seen many changes. We have evolved from primitive cultures into complex social animals. We use technology so that we can do things faster and optimize our time and work. We have put man on the moon and we are planning to conquer Mars soon. The human race pushes on breaking barriers as they go.

Why do we still cling to obsolete things? Strides have been made across all sectors but we as people still have a hankering for old practices. Why can’t we look forward and anticipate the future rather than cling to things we have? We have products which work but can’t we develop them into beautiful exhibits of art and technology. Why should we stay satisfied with what we are getting at the moment? Shouldn’t we make our voices be heard to people? We are the future. We do not live in the present but in the future. We already have an inkling how our life will progress in the future because we have seen it. Why is this future being delayed? While technology progresses, we are driving age old trucks which are a safety hazard to one and all. Instead of harnessing the immense power of trucks to optimize our jobs we end up spending more time maintaining them. Our logic is that even though these every day trucks may work fine, what if we give you something thats phenomenal and it looks good doing its jobz, something that you will never have to worry about again. Mahindra Navistar has brought to you the most efficient and elegant trucks ever manufactured in India. We have made efforts to include the latest in global automobile technology and Indian innovation to give you a solid product, one that will never falter.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Truck sales rise 52% for the month of July

The sales of trucks have gone high around this season due to various reasons. The main reason is pegged to be higher demand due to our economy, which is currently buoyant. Another important reason the sales have experienced such spike, may be due to a very a different reason. Euro II standard trucks are estimated to go out of production soon around September 30th.

According to an Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) report, even after decreasing discount offers the sales of trucks have increased in various sectors of road transportation like manufacturing, import-export and agriculture. The problem that truckers are facing, is that the new Euro III and IV trucks may be definitely more expensive than the Euro II ones. So, in order to save money, truck owners and the related transportation companies are investing now in Euro II trucks. The highest increase has been seen in the 30-49 tonne multi-axle trailer category at about 2454 units.This is about an 85% increase in this category. The 25.2 to 31 tonne multi-axle category trails with an increase of about 61%. The last category, the 5-7.5 tonne, is seeing a significantly smaller share of the increase at 30%.

Another reason that might be also one of the reasons for the sales increase might be the introduction of a single composite fee of 15,000 INR for the National Permit. This has prompted the transportation service companies to upscale their business and buy more trucks. Truck rentals have also registered high sales last month. It is normally agreed that the monsoon season is a weak transportation phase but figures for this July have shown the opposite trend with a 2-3% increase in the rentals.

Friday, August 6, 2010

NHAI introduces tax free bonds to raise capital

The National Highway Authority of India has decided to float tax-free bonds to raise capital. The NHAI has received somewhat of a lacklustre response to its previous efforts in raising money through bonds. The association is pushing for tax-free bonds nonetheless. According to its estimates this new venture will raise Rs.6000 Cr. in capital.
The bonds will give a rate of interest of 8.5 per cent, significantly higher than its current 54EC tax free bonds that offer just 6 per cent. By introducing such incentives the NHAI believes that the response to this offer will be good and the necessary money will be raised.

Well, one can venture a guess as to the their motivation to introduce such a scheme. The Government has set itself an ambitious target of building 20 km of highway roads per day. The NHAI is the authority that has the responsibility to manage this target and see to it that the projects come to fruition. the time is running out for the the Government’s promise and concrete steps have to be taken. Hence the NHAI has proposed to float these bonds to raise the capital involved to meet this target.
Here is a look into NHAI’s previous efforts to raise money.NHAI raised Rs 500 cr. between April and June this fiscal through bonds. Last fiscal it raised Rs 1148 cr. through bonds and for this fiscal the authority hopes to raise Rs 2000 cr. from 54EC bonds. NHAI needs Rs 33,000 cr. for the execution of its targeted 12,000 km by 2013.

The NHAI is looking considerably upbeat about its new schemes, but financial experts beg to differ. According to them, the scheme should have a higher rate of return than what has been proposed. This is when people will be excited about the bonds and there may be a decent response

Source: Financial figures have been used from NDTV Profits website.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NH24 to get 8 lanes

It is a known fact that transporters face challenging situations when travelling towards Nainital and Corbett National Park due to bad roads and incredibly tough traffic conditions. NH- 24 which is the primary highway used when making this trip, is getting ready for an overhaul of big proportions. This is necessary since the Commonwealth Games are coming soon to Delhi and the traffic conditions could soon be much worse resulting in delays and optimisation problems.

Well , for starters the NH 24 will be upgraded to an 8 lane highway from the existing 4 lanes.The stretch that will be upgraded is from Ghaziabad border to Dasnia near Hapur.This stretch is proposed to be completed before this year is out. Well as many people who have taken this highway know that this is one of the busiest highway corridors in the country. This new overhaul will make strive to make this stretch almost traffic-signal free.

And the other unusual tidbit of information is that this upgraded stretch will be toll-free. This is very unlike earlier projects which have focused on better connectivity through roadways, the case in point being Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. This development has been discussed by Ministry Officials. They have explained the toll free status as reasonable because the majority of the traffic that uses this route is local. They expect traffic on this road to grow in view of increased occupancy in residential areas along NH-24. A top ministry official said that “This will be a cash contract project and we are hopeful of awarding it in the next one month. We have consciously decided not to follow the public private partnership (PPP) model. We felt that there would be strong opposition if we made it a toll road.”Ministry sources said the plan was conceived years ago but somehow did not take off. Ministry sources said two years back the daily traffic movement on this stretch was nearly 1.4 lakh passenger car units (PCUs). In the recent years, areas beyond Ghaziabad border have emerged as prime residential destination for people working in Delhi.A traffic survey by RITES in 2008 had shown that vehicular growth on this stretch had increased by almost 200% more than the highway’s carrying capacity.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mr. Rakesh Kalra, MD, MNAL on the Indian trucking industry and more

CNBC TV 18 has recently aired an interesting panel discussion that it conducted with the top honchos of various companies which are propelling the nature and business of the Indian Transportation Sector. This panel discussion took place at The  Indian Road Transportation Awards 2010. This event was organised by CEAT. Mr. Rakesh Kalra, MD, Mahindra Navistar, was also one of the participants here. The discussion  was directed at the innovative new products by many companies, the impact they have had on the domestic market and key challenges faced by these companies. Mr.Kalra shed light upon how a joint venture such as Mahindra Navistar can improve the commercial transport industry. Watch the entire discussion in the video below.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Challenges involved in Indian Highway projects

No one will disagree that India is growing rapidly. But infrastructure is seemingly failing to catch up with it. This is primarily due to a unhealthy mix of poor planning  and execution.The National Highway Development Programme and its poor vision are one of the major factors in abysmal conditions of highway infrastructure.

Costing for an infrastructure project like highways is a huge task consisting of a plethora of things that have to be taken into account.These include construction costs and costs of financing the project.The large scale diversity of India and the variety of conditions in different places makes it difficult to meet all costs. Government help and funding are needed to ensure smooth sailing.This cost borne by the Government is called Viability Gap Funding (VGF).So setting the VGF level is crucial in this respect. The right amount of funding is the need for the hour because the ups or down in the funding may give large scale problems either for the project or the tax-paying public.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has increased the funding from 20% of the total project cost to 40%.This increase hurts the tax payers whose money goes into the project.The way things are organised, if the project fails, most of the responsibility rests with NHAI which puts it at a lot unnecessary risks. The question is: Where will NHAI get this money from in the case a project goes south?

USSR failed miserably at implementing similar policies. For all practical purposes, India still has a backbone of these policies. Spending more than your budget to get something done is inadvisable. Everyone knows that it is a huge risk on an individual level itself.Imagine the whole country being at the risk due to  pathetic policies implemented by the Government.We can all learn from the failure of the Socialist system and plan our country’s policies in a fool-proof way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mahindra Navistar MN25 Test Drive and Review

We promised you that the MN 25 and its variants will revolutionize the trucking standards in India. CNBC TV18 agrees. Their popular show Overdrive takes a clinical look at the MN25. And we must say, they are quite impressed by our offering.
Mr. Sandeep Srikanth, of CNBC TV18 test drives the MN25, and gives a glowing account of our new vehicle. For those who missed the review, you can catch the review here. If you believe that enough is enough and Ok is no longer Ok, see for yourself what the buzz is all about.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mahindra Navistar rolls out their 100th truck from the MN 25 Series

Just a couple of weeks back, MNAL had rolled out its first MN 25 truck from its Chakan Plant near Pune. In no time has the company announced that the production figure has crossed 100th mark. MN 25's Bharat Stage (BS) -II model is priced at Rs 14.99 lakh ex-showroom price. BS III version is also readily available while BS IV models will be available as per the customers' requirements.

Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors, M&M Limited said on the occasion, “The investment done for Mahindra Navistar trucks is Rs 1000 crore out of which Rs 350 crore was done for engine manufacturing while the remaining Rs 1300 crore was done on trucks. Work is in an advanced stage on the soon to be launched CNG variant. We have priced our product very aggressively and I think it is marginally higher than its competitors. Currently our installed capacity is 50,000 units for trucks.”
Even though auto sales numbers may be on the rise, the industry is facing a components shortage. Confirming this, Goenka added, "Whole of the auto industry is facing a component supply crunch in mainly three areas, tyres, casting and fuel injection equipment. The demand is soaring but the capacity cannot be increased quickly. Around 5-7 per cent of a decline in output has occurred because of this."

Mahindra Navistar also has plans to export the vehicles to the neighbouring countries, and some other as well, in the near future. According to the joint venture between M&M and Navistar, the trucks are for sale in all parts except North America including South America, Africa, Europe and Non-European countries and even designed for such markets. Mahindra Navistar is also looking forward to start producing left-hand drive trucks to suit the market and has planned to push the exports by the financial year of 2012. 

The other variants from the Mahindra Navistar fold like the MN 31, 40, 49 and Tipper will be launched in this financial year. Mahindra Navistar has already set up a customer-centric network of exclusive dealerships across the country for serving the customers better. Moreover, the already existing network will be deployed for servicing the customer needs. From the already existing network of 50 MNAL dealers which is to be scaled up to 150, 60 additional LCV dealers (light commercial vehicles), along with 400 outlets of RSAs (road side assistance) will be increased to 900 within a year's time. MNAL will also rope in 24x7 multi lingual in-house expertise and a panel of expert drivers, trainers and trouble shooters at our headquarters. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mahindra Navistar MN25 Review on CNBC TV 18

Mahindra Navistar Automotives recently unveiled it MN series of trucks at the 10 Auto Expo, held in New Delhi. The trucks that were introduced were the MN25, MN31, MN40, MN49. The first commercial MN 25 rolled out on the 14th June, 2010 from the company’s Chakan Plant, near Pune. The Mahindra-Navistar JV has resulted in the introduction of powerful machines which are designed specifically for the Indian road. They promise to redefine the trucking standard in India. These trucks sport advanced technology, such as the MaxxForce engine, due to the involvement of Navistar, USA , which has 175 years of experience in the trucking business. The MN25 is priced attractively at 14.99 lac (ex-showroom Pune)

CNBC TV 18, one of the most premier news channels of India, will be broadcasting a review of the exciting new MN 25 model. The review includes a standing overview and a test-drive assessment, which will be carried out by CNBC’s journalist at the Chakan Plant. Be sure to tune in to CNBC TV 18 to check out the exciting new features of this powerful truck on Saturday 26th June at 1pm.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

India will develop National Highway linking Bangladesh

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has confirmed that will be building a bridge over the Feni River, in Tripura, which will connect it to Chittagong port in Bangladesh. Earlier this bridge was supposed to be a two lane highway, which now, has affectively been changed to a four lane highway.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) plans to convert the Agartala- Sabroom portion (133 km) of the Assam- Agartala National Highway (NH-44) from the existing double lane to four-lane at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore by 2013. Scot Wilson India Ltd, a NHAI approved consultancy agency, had been asked to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the conversion project.

The distance covered by this highway is being reduced from 133 km to 127 km. This will be achieved by changing the actual alignment for the road in 119 places.  The 630-km long NH-44, is the primary mode of transport in Tripura, Mizoram, southern Assam and eastern Manipur. This highway also connects the Meghalaya capital Shillong, with Sabroom. The NH-44 highway is being converted into four lanes from southern Assam to Agartala.
Chittagong port is an important port for carrying goods and heavy machineries for the land-locked northeastern region of India. Bangladesh has provided permission for the use of Chittagong port to India in the beginning of this year. This new highway will definitely give rise to tourist attractions and may help flourish trade routes between Bangladesh and the North-East. The infrastructure funding for this project is being provided by the Central Government.