A collaboration between Eicher and Polaris is set to release their first vehicle, something akin to a mini-truck, later this year for the Indian market. The Flexituff UV will be available in two configurations, a multi-passenger van (MPV) and a twin-cab pickup for hauling cargo. The vehicle will feature a Greaves Cotton 600cc diesel engine with claimed mileage of 25km/L. Based on pictures of the vehicle in testing, the vehicle will be slightly larger than competitive offerings, the Mahindra Maxximo and Tata Magic. Initial production is expected to be 10-12,000 vehicles per year with expectations that it will reach 100,000 units in the future. Learn more: Motoroids.com
Update: Some more information on the vehicle. It uses composite body panels to save weight and “…features a bare dashboard with a four-spoke steering wheel, a simple instrument cluster and a centre console-mounted gear level.” The double cab pickup with cargo area can fit five occupants. The price of the vehicle is expected to be about 1 lakh or about $1,500-1,600 US. The vehicle development project is reported to have cost $40 million US. Learn more: Inidancarsbikes.in
Comment: This type of vehicle is not as prevalent in the US but in India and parts of Asia the vehicles are common. Smaller sized delivery vehicles are an important part of a hub and spoke delivery system where they are used to deliver goods the last kilometer or so through small and crowded streets. Price points and cost of operation are important purchasing factors for owner/operators of these local shipping businesses.