Industrial Vehicles Corporation, shortly known as Iveco, is blowing out 40 candles this year as the company celebrates 40th year of its operations. Being one of the top CV maker in global markets, Iveco operates business in over 160 countries with manufacturing facilities in Europe, China, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Africa. Though the brand is totally unheard in India, Iveco came under a brief joint-venture with Ashok Leyland in 1980s for producing the ‘Cargo’ series truck by the latter, beginning a new epoch in India’s commercial vehicle industry with the first-ever factory-fitted cabs.
Headquartered at Turin, Italy (the place where famous Italian brand Fiat is based), Iveco was incorporated in 1975 by the merger of five European companies namely, Fiat Industrial Vehicles, OM (Italy), Lancia Special vehicles (Italy), Unic (France), and Magirus-Deutz (Germany). At present it is entirely controlled by CNH Industrial Group, though it was under Fiat Group in past. And so the company has come with corporate slogan of ‘Iveco: 40 years of excellence, 150 years of experience’ – referring to the rich heritage of its parent brands in past.
Iveco currently produces light, medium and heavy vehicles under its name. The prominent models include Daily in the LCV segment, EuroCargo in the MCV segment, and the heavy-duty Stralis and Trakker series. The 2015 New Daily LCV was named International Van of the Year 2015. Its heavy-duty trucks competes in the exclusive league of premium truck brands, called as ‘Magnificent Seven’ in Europe, such as Volvo, Scania, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Trucks, MAN, and DAF.
In addition, Iveco owns many specialised sub-brands such as Irisbus (passenger bus), Astra (specialised off-road vehicles), Magirus (firefighting vehicles), and its defence vehicles unit producing the famous Light Multirole Vehicle (LMV), a 4WD tactical vehicle used by many armies in Europe.
Though the brand never had any direct operations in India, there is just one connecting link as of now that makes Iveco very much relevant to India. In late 1980s, Ashok Leyland entered an investment partnership with Iveco for assembling the Cargo series trucks – fully based on Iveco’s EuroCargo, a world-class truck sold in Europe with state-of-the-art technology. The Cargo 709 and 909 models of 4-5 tonne payloads hit the roads in 1994 with Iveco badging, engine and electronics, filling the niche between LCV and MCV segment. Backed by massive investment for total indigenisation at its Hosur plant, AL had comprehensive parts and service support, with engines made by Iveco.
This new generation truck began a new epoch of trucks with factory-fitted cabs in our CV industry. The Cargo truck soon became a hit with more than 350,000 units sold since its inception, and became central to Ashok Leyland’s product plans to reach global markets. Though the Cargo trucks are no longer made and the use of Iveco engine was discontinued, the original cab continues to be used on the Ecomet trucks as well as for several of AL’s military models.
Some years back, Iveco was said to have conducted feasibility study for operation in the Indian market with a strategic local partner. It is understood that the company is keen on entering the third largest CV market in future.