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Old 13th May 2015, 10:03   #1
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Default Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

Ashok Leyland entered the MPV segment in India in October 2013 when it launched the Stile - a rebadged Nissan Evalia. The vehicle has not been very successful and has not met the expectations of the company. As a result, Ashok Leyland has decided to take the Stile off the production line. With this move, the company has exited the MPV segment.

Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs-ashokleylandstile02.jpg

Ashok Leyland has a joint venture with Japanese carmaker Nissan. The company has decided to write down investment in the joint venture by around Rs.224 crore. Under the joint venture, vehicles such as the Stile and Dost LCV were produced. The Dost will continue to be manufactured.

The Chennai-based company, which is best known for its trucks and buses, has decided to stick to its core business - commercial vehicles. It will set up more bus assembly plants in Africa, the Middle East and India. The manufacturer is aspiring to be a global bus maker with this step. The overseas plants will build buses from kits shipped from India.

Source: ET Auto

Last edited by Aditya : 14th May 2015 at 11:18.
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Old 13th May 2015, 10:07   #2
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

The only Stile I saw was in Goa. And that is the only market where any and every vehicle that is sold as a taxi sees atleast one sale.
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Old 13th May 2015, 10:26   #3
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

This is going to affect the existing Stile customers adversely in terms of service and spares in future. Any possibilities that Ashok Leyland would have made some agreement with Nissan to help their customers in this situation given that Evalia continues to be in production?
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Old 13th May 2015, 15:19   #4
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

There are plenty of Stile Taxis in chennai. I see almost one everyday at Ascendas Taramani
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Old 13th May 2015, 16:38   #5
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

Good riddance I would say. It was selling an average of merely 30 units / month. Clearly, Ashok Leyland knows nothing about selling passenger cars (not that Nissan is doing much better with the Evalia).

Ashok Leyland's expertise is within commercial vehicles where it is a strong no. 2. They don't need such unnecessary distractions.

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Originally Posted by DudeWithaFiat View Post
This is going to affect the existing Stile customers adversely in terms of service and spares in future.
To an extent, yes, especially for cosmetic bits. Mechanically though, she is identical to the still-on-sale Evalia.
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Old 13th May 2015, 17:01   #6
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

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Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
There are plenty of Stile Taxis in chennai. I see almost one everyday at Ascendas Taramani
+1 to that. Have seen quite a few Stiles around in Chennai (home ground advantage perhaps?) But overall this is a good, sensible and practical move. Both the twins are a dud in the market.
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Old 13th May 2015, 19:03   #7
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

Stile was almost still born at launch itself. Because it was a clone of another failure, the Evalia.
There are only a couple of stiles in the whole of Kerala. But I had seen plenty of them in Chennai, the home turf of AL.
I feel that, even a Dost based MPV would have fared much better.
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Old 14th May 2015, 11:17   #8
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

This is such a pity!

I'll have to say that this is a bad, poorly thought out and knee-jerk reaction from the Leyland-Nissan JV. I bet this decision was taken by the management on the prodding of a short-sighted accounts department.

They say the company wants to stick to its core business activity of CVs in the future, eh? I'm sorry, but for all practical purposes, the Stile is indeed a small passenger-carrying CV (and a pretty good one at that), with plenty of other potential as well (panel van, combi passenger-goods van, cash van, ambulance, shop-on-wheels etc.)

Just look at the monthly sales of the Omni & Eeco! And neither of them have a diesel engine (although CNG & LPG versions are available). The Stile would naturally slot in above the Omni and Eeco, and act as a safer, more premium & more capable vehicle. An Eeco is an ideal upgrade from an Omni. And a Stile could have been an ideal upgrade from an Eeco.

This is a golden opportunity that has gone abegging. I've seen far more Stiles on the road than Evalias. Agreed, most of them were yellow-plated ones. I do spot one white-plated Stile quite frequently in my neighbourhood, just outside the house of a person who works for Ashok Leyland. I guess it may be a company-owned vehicle.

If anything, it's Nissan's Evalia that should have been discontinued. Nissan should have dedicated their production line solely to churning out Stiles for Leyland in different forms (passenger taxi, panel van, combi, ambulance etc.) Globally, the NV200/Evalia is a huge success for Nissan in the above forms. In India, they could have achieved the same success, but with JV partner Ashok Leyland as their front-end company.

I guess this short-sighted decision means Ashok Leyland would not be bringing out a badge-engineered version of the Nissan NV350/Urvan either - another big missed opportunity!
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Old 14th May 2015, 11:36   #9
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

This is a case of misguided diretions.

Ashok Leyland is a CV company and should not venture into the LCV without focus and dedication.
Tata made a "successful" foray from CV to LCVs.
The Stile was a half baked product and even the parent Evalia is doing miserable too.

It was my steed during my recent Chennai visit and though the car was spacious, there was no wow factor. Was surprised to see a no. of these contraptions in Chennai though.

It may not pain the common junta as I am sure 90% wont even know this existed.
The fleet companies will be a little worried till Evalia exists.
Post Evalia's demise(which seems to be sooner than later considering its monthly sales), they will be in a spot for sure!!
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Old 14th May 2015, 12:13   #10
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

A missed opportunity indeed, as RSR correctly pointed out. Panel van version of Stile/NV200 could have had great potential in CV market through institutional sales (specially courier companies like DHL, FedEx etc.).

I believe, with right marketing and pricing, it could have even scooped market share from LCVs. Currently, LCV is the only next viable option for customers looking for larger storage capacity than say, an Eeco. Stile could have proven otherwise and hence, provided AL with increased foothold in this segment.

Works for Nissan too! Being an AL product, Nissan would not even have to work with the personal v/s commercial judgement that most MPVs undergo in the Indian market (Tavera as personal car? nah..). Thus, still continue with Evalia if they have so much heart set out on it.

I wonder if this strategy even crossed the heads at AL-Nissan.

Last edited by GTO : 14th May 2015 at 12:57. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 14th May 2015, 12:32   #11
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

I'm sure Ashok Leyland did a thorough market study prior to the launch in Oct 2013. Based on the study, they must have formulated a strategy to capture market share. But from launch in Oct 2013 till date, how much of a marketing campaign did they do to promote this new vehicle?

Why do companies abandon or change plans so soon? In just 18 months their entire business strategy changed???

Definitely not a sign of a well managed organization.
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Old 14th May 2015, 13:01   #12
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSR View Post
Just look at the monthly sales of the Omni & Eeco! And neither of them have a diesel engine (although CNG & LPG versions are available). The Stile would naturally slot in above the Omni and Eeco, and act as a safer, more premium & more capable vehicle. An Eeco is an ideal upgrade from an Omni. And a Stile could have been an ideal upgrade from an Eeco.
The Omni is the cheapest in its segment, and it has no competition either. Even the base version of the Stile costs a whopping 9 lakhs on the road in Mumbai (unbelievably, the top-end crosses 11 lakhs). There's no base for comparison with the Omni, or even the Eeco which isn't priced too far away from the Omni.

You could buy THREE Omnis instead of 1 Stile.
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Old 14th May 2015, 13:07   #13
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalvaz View Post
I'm sure Ashok Leyland did a thorough market study prior to the launch in Oct 2013. Based on the study, they must have formulated a strategy to capture market share. But from launch in Oct 2013 till date, how much of a marketing campaign did they do to promote this new vehicle?
I think that the company must have had a plan for targeting the commercial passenger vehicle segment which is around 20-25K per month (assuming all Omnis and EECOs are going in this segment and 50% of Ertiga/ Innova/ Enjoy etc go into this).
IMHO, what they assumed wrong was that the customers will readily shift from hinged doors to sliding doors easily. Also, the built in pricing due to Nissan's manufacturing costs made the vehicle costly compared to the segment they should have targeted (the sweet middle gap of Eeco & Enjoy).
To top the issues, the service network for Stile was not that deep as was expected by the customers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalvaz View Post
Why do companies abandon or change plans so soon? In just 18 months their entire business strategy changed???

Definitely not a sign of a well managed organization.
I believe that this decision to discontinue is the best and sign of a good decision making team there.
Agreed that their strategy did not work. But how many companies launching a new product without the proper handholding of a successful partner get it right the first time? Nissan was the expert they had but even they had not got the success factors for selling a MPV/UV. Dost on the other hand was benefited by ALL's expertise and Nissan's brilliant product.
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Old 14th May 2015, 13:44   #14
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

This is precisely why I have a criteria defined for all vehicle purchases by me and my close friends: viability over the next 10 years. This is a subjective judgment based on the manufacturers' history in the product category, investments made in India (for foreign companies) and whether a product being offered is a badge engineered one.

To that end, I recommend buying the Duster over the Terrano and the Micra over the Pulse, because I don't know how long the Renault - Nissan alliance would last.

Last edited by vipul_singh : 14th May 2015 at 13:48.
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Old 14th May 2015, 14:22   #15
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Default Re: Ashok Leyland Stile axed as company plans to stick to CVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbospooler View Post
.
IMHO, what they assumed wrong was that the customers will readily shift from hinged doors to sliding doors easily.
Omni and EECO are also using sliding doors, its the norm in this class of vehicle, since it enables easy loading/un-loading in tight areas. Why would that be a disadvantage only to Stile?

Quote:
Also, the built in pricing due to Nissan's manufacturing costs made the vehicle costly compared to the segment they should have targeted (the sweet middle gap of Eeco & Enjoy).
Eeco is in a different class, its a smaller vehicle in terms of engine capacity, payload, size, etc..., so really a premium could have been charged.
Enjoy is in the doldrums itself, so do not want to comment about that.

They were also exporting these models to Africa and had plans to sell to other countries in the subcontinent, so definitely cost could not be the only reason. Especially since the Japs are very successful in this segment in other countries.

During launch of the JV with Nissan, they had said they want to sell Jap quality vehicles at Indian prices, so cost consciousness was there right from the beginning. What went wrong?
Most reviews, including our own Team BHP review, said that it was cheaper than Nissan Evalia, but still lost out due to a lack of features, no ABS, huge stopping distance etc.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...al-review.html (Ashok Leyland Stile : Official Review)
http://www.topgear.com/india/our-car...mid-51?id=2310

Quote:
To top the issues, the service network for Stile was not that deep as was expected by the customers.
Ashok Leyland had introduced "At site service" facility for light commercial vehicles, so that should have taken care of these issues. I have not come across any issues relating to non availability of service centers for Stile. Do you have any basis for your views that lack of service centers did them in?
http://www.ashokleylandlcv.com/service-at-site

Quote:
I believe that this decision to discontinue is the best and sign of a good decision making team there.
Agreed that their strategy did not work. But how many companies launching a new product without the proper handholding of a successful partner get it right the first time? Nissan was the expert they had but even they had not got the success factors for selling a MPV/UV. Dost on the other hand was benefited by ALL's expertise and Nissan's brilliant product.
Ahok Leyland invested 500 crs in the JV with Nissan. They have now written off 214 crs in 18 months. Actually even earlier, since production actually stopped about 4-5 months ago.

A good decision making team does not change its strategy in such a short span of time (14 months from launch to stoppage of production) and ends up eroding over 40% of its investment. At least not as per my school of thought.

Its a loss of shareholders money and a great opportunity to expand its product portfolio. Real shame since this was a good product and had great potential. In my opinion its been killed due to lack of features and marketing support.

Last edited by Lalvaz : 14th May 2015 at 14:34. Reason: Corrections and addition of more links
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