Ashok Leyland Jan Bus spotted testing in Chennai again

It seems Ashok Leyland, the Chennai-based commercial vehicle manufacturer, is having its hands full at the moment. While the Dost mini-truck and the Stile MPV are helping the company gain foothold in the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment at one end, the continuing sales slump in the Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) space is a major cause of concern in the other end. The collective onslaught of international brands that include Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, MAN, Navistar and Scania has resulted in significant loss of market-share for the domestic brands, with Ashok-Leyland being the most-affected.

The Jan Bus, that we spotted testing in Chennai earlier this year, is one of the many products that Ashok Leyland has lined up to bring it back in the reckoning. While we were expecting it to go on sale any moment, it seems Ashok Leyland is on to something else as one of our regular readers spotted the Jan Bus being tested again. These pictures were taken late last week in one of the arterial roads in Chennai.

Unveiled to the public at the 2012 Auto Expo, the Jan Bus is a single-step entry, low-floor, front-engined bus that is targeted at the city transport fleets. If the brochure released by the company is to be believed, a turbocharged, fuel-injected, 6-cylinder ‘H-Series’ engine that generates 235 HP of power at 2400 rpm and 720 Nm of torque between 1600 to 1800 rpm would be powering the rear wheels of the bus. Features such as air-conditioning, Ashok Leyland’s proprietary ‘Leymatic’ Automated Manual Transmission, air suspension and a clutter-free gangway with cantilever-mounted seats and seat-mounted stanchions are expected to be available as and when the Jan Bus goes on sale on Indian metros.

Despite offering features similar to the city buses from Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, Ashok Leyland’s frugal engineering would mean that the Jan Bus would end up with a significantly lower sticker price, making it an excellent value-for-money proposition.

While all the above information is either known or being speculated, what’s a big unknown is the launch date of this sleek bus. We hope its not too far off. More importantly, we wish Ashok Leyland actually markets and sells the Jan Bus well as it shows huge potential to make a mark in our cities.

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