Ashok Leyland Announces Significant Manufacturing Capacity Expansion at RAK Plant
HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi lays foundation for new Design and Service Training Centre
Additional investments to augment existing manufacturing capacity and create a design and service training center to address the growing needs of the region
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, March 4, 2016: His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah today laid the foundation stone for Ashok Leyland’s capacity expansion and Design and Service Training Centre at the company’s RAK manufacturing facility, marking enhanced commitment of the flagship brand of the Hinduja Group in UAE and the GCC region.
The ceremony which took place in the distinguished presence of His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Mr. G P Hinduja, Mr. Dheeraj G Hinduja and other dignitaries from the Hinduja Family along the senior management of Ashok Leyland comprising of Mr. Vinod K Dasari, Managing Director marked the announcement of the expansion of manufacturing capacity of Ashok Leyland’s RAK plant.
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Vinod K. Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland said, “We are honoured to have His Highness at the ground breaking ceremony to expand our manufacturing facilities in Ras Al Khaimah. This plant is key for the supply of buses to address the needs of GCC countries, and with Ashok Leyland’s ambitious plans for Africa, we foresee further expansion of the facility.”
Ashok Leyland is the second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in India and the fourth largest bus manufacturer in the world. Ashok Leyland (UAE) LLC, the brand’s state-of-the-art vehicle factory in Ras Al Khaimah is a joint venture between Ashok Leyland and the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) and is the only certified local bus factory in the UAE and GCC region.
“A pioneering hub for auto manufacturing, our plant has deepened economic and trade links between India and the UAE, and helped Ras Al Khaimah’ s continued economic growth. Both direct and indirect employment is set to rise significantly with this increased capacity,” Mr. Dasari said.
RAK as Centre of Excellence
Ashok Leyland officials said the RAK plant will be made into a centre of excellence for its overseas expansion and the establishment of the new design and service training centre was a move in this direction.
As part of the company’s endeavor to add value to the local manufacturing capabilities and in turn to the economy, Ashok Leyland has successfully created a vendor hub in Ras Al-Khaimah and the nearby Emirates.
“We are aiming to grow significant localization levels soon and towards this we are working very closely with RAKIA on creating an automotive cluster in Ras Al-Khaimah where our vendors will set up shops,” Mr. Dasari added.
Adding on the volumes generated by the plant, Mr. Dasari said “We will be foraying into the value-premium segment of the automotive market of UAE and the GCC region this year as part of enhancing our product portfolio. This would be in addition to our predominant presence in the school bus segment of the UAE with a market share of over 70 per cent owing to our robust design and enhanced safety features,” Mr. Dasari said.
Fresh investments, new product lines
Unveiling the details of the expansion, Mr. Dasari said Ashok Leyland Limited is making a fresh investment of USD 10 million in the RAK plant to expand production of current models and introduce new models into the regional market, which will include midi buses and trucks.
Currently, the output of RAK plant is 12 buses a day and the new investments will enhance this to 20 buses – apart from the production of trucks from the factory. Inaugurated in December 2010 by the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the plant continues to grow, and will more than triple its annual installed capacity to 6,000 units a year.