Commercial Vehicle Industry in India: An Investigation of the Innovation and Business Trends (2000–2015)

  • Rajnish TiwariEmail author
  • Bhimsen Dattatraya Phadnis
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)


India is the seventh largest producer of commercial vehicles in the world. The commercial vehicle industry has grown significantly since the turn of the new millennium, which is evident from the fact that the industry could increase its sales by more than four-folds to 685,704 units in fiscal year 2015–2016 compared to 150,452 units in 2000–2001. In this study we analyze the innovation and business profile of Indian commercial vehicle industry. The study is based on indicators such as sales and revenues, R&D expenditure, types of innovations and their impact, open innovation activities, product portfolio and product selling points. These data were collected from annual reports, press releases and other publically available sources.

This study revealed that companies have relied mainly on product innovations compared to other types of innovations for growth. Most of these product innovations resulted in the incremental improvements of the products. These incremental innovation activities resulted in different products and variants which met growing needs of customers. In addition, various open innovation moves were made by companies which helped them to acquire new markets and increase their revenue. These innovations have arguably given a new direction to Commercial Vehicle industry in India.


Commercial vehicles Innovation Open innovation Indian automobile industry Frugal innovation India 



Rajnish Tiwari would like to sincerely thank Claussen Simon Foundation for supporting his research at TUHH with a generous grant.


  1. Autobei. (2015, December 2). Indian commercial vehicle mega trend analysis. Retrieved January 7, 2016, from
  2. Barzelay, M. (1993). The single case study as intellectually ambitious inquiry. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 3(3), 305–318.Google Scholar
  3. D’Costa, A. P. (1995). The restructuring of the Indian automobile industry: Indian state and Japanese capital. World Development, 23(3), 485–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dyer, W. G., & Wilkins, A. L. (1991). Better stories, not better constructs, to generate theory: A rejoinder to Eisenhardt. Academy of Management Journal, 16(3), 613–619.Google Scholar
  5. Eckstein, H. (1975). Case study and theory in political science. In F. I. Greenstein & N. W. Polsby (Eds.), Strategies of inquiry (Vol. 7, pp. 79–137). London: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  6. EML. (2015). 2014 Annual report. New Delhi: Eicher Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  7. FML. (2013). Annual report 2012–13. Pune: Force Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  8. FML. (2015). Annual report 2014–15. Pune: Force Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  9. Garcia, R., & Calantone, R. (2002). A critical look at technological innovation typology and innovativeness terminology: A literature review. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 19, 110–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gibbert, M., Ruigrok, W., & Wicki, B. (2008). What passes as a rigorous case study? Strategic Management Journal, 29(13), 1465–1474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. GOI. (2006). Automotive mission plan 2006–2016. New Delhi: Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India.Google Scholar
  12. GOI. (2016). National Highways Details. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from
  13. Gopalakrishnan, K. (2008, August 2). Ashok Leyland R&D Centre thrust on global technology. Retrieved November 21, 2015, from
  14. IBEF. (2016). Automobile industry in India. New Delhi: India Brand Equity Foundation.Google Scholar
  15. ICRA. (2015). Indian automobile and auto component industry report. New Delhi: Information and Credit Rating Agency.Google Scholar
  16. Kathuria, S. (1987). Commercial vehicles industry in India: A case history, 1928–1987. Economic and Political Weekly, 22(42/43), 1809–1823.Google Scholar
  17. Khanna, T., Lal, R., & Manocaran, M. (2005). Mahindra & Mahindra: Creating Scorpio, Case 9-705-478. Boston: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  18. Krueger, A. O. (2010). India’s trade with the world: Retrospect and prospect. In S. Acharya & R. Mohan (Eds.), India’s economy: performances and challenges – essays in honour of Montek Singh Ahluwalia (pp. 399–429). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Mahindra. (2013). Sustainability review 2012–13. Mumbai: Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Mahindra. (2015). Annual report 2015. Mumbai: Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.Google Scholar
  21. Maira, A. (2015). An upstart in the government: Journeys of change and learning. New Delhi: Rupa Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Narayanan, K. (1998). Technology acquisition, de-regulation and competitiveness: A study of Indian automobile industry. Research Policy, 27(2), 215–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Narayanan, K. (2001). Liberalisation and the differential conduct and performance of firms: A study of the Indian automobile sector. Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo and United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies.Google Scholar
  24. Narayanan, K. (2004). Technology acquisition and growth of firms: Indian automobile sector under changing policy regimes. Economic and Political Weekly, 39(5), 461–470.Google Scholar
  25. OECD, & Eurostat. (2005). Oslo manual: Guidelines for collecting and interpreting innovation data. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (in joint publication with Eurostat).Google Scholar
  26. OICA. (2016). 2015 Production statistics. Paris: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles).Google Scholar
  27. Palepu, K. G., & Srinivasan, V. (2008). Tata Motors: The Tata Ace, Case 9-108-011. Boston: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  28. Pradhan. (2015, December 31). How Tata Ace opened a new market segment. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from
  29. Ranawat, M., & Tiwari, R. (2009). Influence of government policies on industry development: The case of India’s automotive industry. Working paper No. 57. Institute of Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  30. Rishi Kumar, V. (2015, July 21). Ashok Leyland celebrates sales of 1,00,000 Dost LCVs. Retrieved January 13, 2016, from
  31. Roy, N. S. (2014, September 18). Cost of ownership and new gen commercial vehicles to shape success. Retrieved January 13, 2016, from
  32. SIAM. (2016a). Automobile domestic sales trends. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from
  33. SIAM. (2016b). Automobile exports trends. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from
  34. SIAM. (2016c). Automobile production trends. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from
  35. SIAM. (2016d). Profile: Automobile industry in India 2014–15. New Delhi: Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.Google Scholar
  36. SIAM. (2016e). Statistical profile of automobile industry in India 2014-2015. New Delhi: Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.Google Scholar
  37. Singh, C. P. (2015, September 19). Force Motors introduces air conditioned trax deluxe range. Retrieved July 19, 2016, from
  38. Tiwari, R., & Herstatt, C. (2012). Assessing India’s lead market potential for cost-effective innovations. Journal of Indian Business Research, 4(2), 97–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tiwari, R., & Herstatt, C. (2014). Aiming big with small cars: Emergence of a lead market in India. Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tiwari, R., Herstatt, C., & Ranawat, M. (2011). Benevolent benefactor or insensitive regulator? Tracing the role of government policies in the development of India’s automobile industry. Policy Studies, 58.Google Scholar
  41. TML. (2007). Sixty-second annual report 2006–07. Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  42. TML. (2008). Sixty-third annual report 2007–08. Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  43. TML. (2010, April 13). Tata Ace becomes India’s first 1-lakh brand in goods commercial vehicles. Press release.Google Scholar
  44. TML. (2012a). 67th Annual report 2011–2012. Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  45. TML. (2012b, November 8). Tata Ace races through the one-million mark in just 2,680 days. Retrieved April 7, 2014, from
  46. TML. (2013a). 68th Annual report 2012–13. Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd.Google Scholar
  47. TML. (2013b). The Ace story. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from
  48. TML. (2015a, July 17). India’s No. 1 mini-truck – Tata ACE completes a decade of trust one in every five commercial vehicle, sold in India, is from the Tata ACE Family. Press release.Google Scholar
  49. TML. (2015b, January 20). Tata Motors announces T1 PRIMA TRUCK RACING CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 – Season 2. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from
  50. Wielgat, A. (2002). Manufacturing the Mahindra way. Automotive Industries, 182(10), 34–40.Google Scholar
  51. Wolf, M. (2010). India in the world. In S. Acharya & R. Mohan (Eds.), India’s economy: Performances and challenges – essays in honour of Montek Singh Ahluwalia (pp. 369–398). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hamburg University of TechnologyHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations