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Old 21st May 2010, 16:39   #1
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Arrow Tata vs Ashok Leyland: CV & HCV only

The quintessential question: Which is better and on what counts?
The 2 biggest CV makers in India have been at loggerheads with each other for the M &HCV commercial market share ever since they begun production.

Tata rules the roost when it comes to sheer numbers but Ashok Leyland has a permanent and steadily growing clientèle.

But all that is marketing terminology. Lets discuss why do some customers choose a Tata Bus/Truck Chassis over an Ashok Leyland Bus/Truck chassis of a comparable capacity and vice versa?

Reasons could be:

Performance,operating terrain, Fuel Efficiency, Reliability, NVH, Price, After sales support, Resale...the list is long.

This thread is an attempt to know the positives and negatives of both the brands when it comes to the most commonly purchased bus and truck chassis by the vanilla transporter/tourist operator in India.

Let's shift into overdrive....
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Old 22nd May 2010, 10:44   #2
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130 views and not a single comment yet? Where are the CV gurus?? Looks like we need a lot of discussion on this
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Old 22nd May 2010, 10:48   #3
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Someone told me long ago, that TATA trucks are better on ghat sections, and Leyland's are better on highways, don't know how much of it is true.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 11:17   #4
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what I've been told by dad ( experience from workshop & working in a state transport corp)

Tata
Cheap to buy
Decent FE
relatively underpowered, hence as mentioned before, run in mostly level roads
lighter, shorter buses
Cheaper spares
Higher frequency of repairs
somewhat quiet and refined, especially the newer designs with the low engine bay & cable operated(?) gearbox
Cummins & other third party engine versions are crap

AL
Expensive
Doesnt come with the front grille
Quite powerful, so used in their ghat section routes
spares are expensive, but last, hence general perception of solid build
Noisy & not as refined
longer chassis.
nobody in the north seems to want them
Semi forward options for trucks limited/not as good
Jury is still out on the hino engines
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Old 22nd May 2010, 11:26   #5
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Default Why we prefer AL

This based on 20 year old data / personal experience. Things may have changed a lot nowadays.

1. Less NVH (it requires a real contorted body builder to create vibrations and harmonics on an AL body).
2. Better FE on long routes.
3. Longer intervals between repairs.
4. Lower TCO - total cost of ownership
5. Heavier chassis; but more tolerant of overloading.
6. Better torque at higher RPM - important in overtaking on NH.
7. Better electricals - Tatas introduced the 24V electricals only within the past 10 years).
8. Better braking (dual diagonal split brake circuits with air / vacuum brakes). Tatas used fluid type brakes at least till the mid 1980s) and both have air - vacuum brakes nowadays, and diagonal split braking is mandated by law.

Tata's scores on

1. lesser initial costs (of course, would vary from time to time).
2. Lower spare costs - offset by shorter service intervals
3. better FE in stop and go traffic.
4. Better pickup. (important in rally like street racing the private buses indulge in).
5, Lower weight of chassis - savings on tyre wear out, better pay load carrying capacity.
6. Better torque at lower RPM - important in ghats, hauling construction equipment from mines, river beds, quarries, etc.

Where they even out -
1. Service availability
2. Spare availablity
3. Driver comfort (what is that??)


What should NOT be considered -

Body build / quality / features etc. This is mostly controlled by the vehicle owner.

The cummins / hino engines introduced in recent years may have changed the game entirely; I am told that cost of total engine overhaul is around 30 to 40K INR, while it used to be 25 to 30 K INR even in 1993. (consider the inflation). I am not sure of the FE, torque etc. figures too.

NVH and passenger comfort continues to be better on AL buses till today - speaking as a passenger. And I have made allowances for variations in body building.

AL has always been the innovator all along. They introduced the rear engine and low floor buses 2 decades back. 10 to 15 year old rear engine buses have been in operation in Chennai at least 8 years back when I visited there. Overdrive gear (6 forward, 1 reverse) gear was available as an option on Al 3 decades back. Air suspension was available as outside option through AL dealers from 1978.

But, Tatas have a better R & D section, IMHO.

That said, why do some people prefer Fiat when Ford/Toyota/Honda/Tata/Maruti/Merc/Skoda/AUdi is available? :-D (ah - now this will become a fiat bashing thread!!)
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Old 22nd May 2010, 11:47   #6
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Well A quick query as someone who grew up in the hills of OOTY. I was suprised to find all trucks were TATA and al the buses where AL. Wonder why? If Ghats were AL terrain then all the trucks should have been AL too right?
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Old 22nd May 2010, 12:15   #7
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Well A quick query as someone who grew up in the hills of OOTY. I was suprised to find all trucks were TATA and al the buses where AL. Wonder why? If Ghats were AL terrain then all the trucks should have been AL too right?
To an extent, it is because the buses are owned by the TN's numerous SRTCs. I feel that TN uses more than fair share of Al's because AL is produced there. And most states in North use Tata's because Tata's are based there. When it comes to organisational decision making, things can get very skewed. That is why the grand old Amby survives and sells to this day.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 12:32   #8
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In the ghats - from my KL experience - is that the 1210SE model of Tata has a semi-extended bonnet which increases driver's comfort in ghats (maybe he feels if the truck falls off the cliff, he will still survive!!!).

AL has over 50% share in all STUs, one of the reasons I heard was that the buses are less prone to breakdowns and have higher FE.

If you noticed, heavy haulage operators prefer AL trailers because they are perceived to have higher torque for hauling heavy loads.

In recent years, Al has made significant inroads into North India. They are no more a "Madrasi" company and have plants in Bhandara (AM), Alwar (RJ), Pant nagar (UK). I notice that AL has taken bigger market shares in GJ, RJ, OR and even the truck bastions of Raipur & Indore (earlier 100% Tata territories). Even in PB, AL has managed to increase its presence, especially because of its trailer range.

It is in places like HP, UK, JK and almost the entire North East that AL has no presence at all. Even in Kolkata/WB, I noticed several AL buses in the city service and most of the long-distance buses are AL.

In MH, there has been major problems for AL - some say there is some major political debacle for the company, which resulted in major orders in BEST for Tata CNG buses and low-floor buses (BEST was earlier 100% AL) and also conversion of major depots in Mumbai and Thane into Tata.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 12:33   #9
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Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
I feel that TN uses more than fair share of Al's because AL is produced there. And most states in North use Tata's because Tata's are based there. .
Why then BEST buys AL, even though Tata house is based there?
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Old 22nd May 2010, 13:33   #10
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In the ghats - from my KL experience - is that the 1210SE model of Tata has a semi-extended bonnet which increases driver's comfort in ghats (maybe he feels if the truck falls off the cliff, he will still survive!!!).

AL has over 50% share in all STUs, one of the reasons I heard was that the buses are less prone to breakdowns and have higher FE.

If you noticed, heavy haulage operators prefer AL trailers because they are perceived to have higher torque for hauling heavy loads.

In recent years, Al has made significant inroads into North India. They are no more a "Madrasi" company and have plants in Bhandara (AM), Alwar (RJ), Pant nagar (UK). I notice that AL has taken bigger market shares in GJ, RJ, OR and even the truck bastions of Raipur & Indore (earlier 100% Tata territories). Even in PB, AL has managed to increase its presence, especially because of its trailer range.

It is in places like HP, UK, JK and almost the entire North East that AL has no presence at all. Even in Kolkata/WB, I noticed several AL buses in the city service and most of the long-distance buses are AL.

In MH, there has been major problems for AL - some say there is some major political debacle for the company, which resulted in major orders in BEST for Tata CNG buses and low-floor buses (BEST was earlier 100% AL) and also conversion of major depots in Mumbai and Thane into Tata.
though mumbai and thane depots are turned in in to tata , tha aurangabad depot continues to be an AL bastion where recently they have added 120 AL buses to the stste transport fleet . they do only layland here
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Old 22nd May 2010, 13:38   #11
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Why then BEST buys AL, even though Tata house is based there?
See HVK's post before yours.

Sometimes, choices in organisations are made on political /extraneous "considerations".

That said, is good that BEST sticked to AL; in our own operations, 2 AL, 2 Tata, one Fargo (!!!), only AL has been able to recoup depreciation costs over long term. This was in Ernakulam City service, from which we withdrew in 1986, just around the time the new MV act came into force.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 13:46   #12
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There will be a lot of inertia in moving from one manufacturer to another, if you do your maintenance in house.

For Example, in KeSRTC, entire depots are either tata only, or leyland only, due to the geography, and ease of inventory, repairs etc
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Old 22nd May 2010, 13:51   #13
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though mumbai and thane depots are turned in in to tata , tha aurangabad depot continues to be an AL bastion where recently they have added 120 AL buses to the stste transport fleet . they do only layland here
Yes, I noticed that when I went to Aurangabad recently. Not only Aurangabad, I also found a lot of the Marathwada region - Beed, Osmanabad, etc - populated by only ALs.

AL seems to have clawed itself back into BEST again, all the new CNG and low-floor AC bus are AL.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 18:57   #14
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AL seems to have clawed itself back into BEST again, all the new CNG and low-floor AC bus are AL.
Ironically, the new JNNURM leylands have very high NVH, higher than the Tata CNGs (from personal experience).

As of now there are only 2 to 3 low floor AC buses of AL. They might be on trials.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 19:06   #15
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Ironically, the new JNNURM leylands have very high NVH, higher than the Tata CNGs (from personal experience).

As of now there are only 2 to 3 low floor AC buses of AL. They might be on trials.
I saw one of the BEST purple AL AC KInglong-type buses the other day. But mysteriously, there are several new buses - the AC and the SLF ones - moored at the BEST's Anik Depot for the last 2 months or so, they are not being released on the roads - what could be the problem?
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