There was a time when Ambassadors or Fiats literally stood synonymous with taxis in the city. Gradually, the multiutility vehicles of leading brands have become the favourites in the public utility segment, though none of them were marketed exclusively for that purpose. Now, Ashok Leyland is giving the cab owners here a unique choice. Developed by the Ashok Leyland - Nissan Motor Company joint venture, Ashok Leyland’s all new MPV STILE is mainly targeting the public utility market, including cabs, hotel and school shuttles, staff transport and ambulances, rather than the personal segment. Boasting of a fuel efficiency of 20.07 km per litre of diesel, STILE is competitively priced at `7.49 lakh with a 1461 cc dCi engine, Japanese monocoque design, speed-sensitive electric power steering, sliding doors and dual a/c vents with independent control for rear passengers. Surely, a luxurious option, but Ashok Leyland has reasons to promote it for the public utility segment.“STILE is a joint venture with Nissan, which already offers Evalia in this segment aiming at the personal segment. STILE is also based on the same vehicle platform, but tuned and designed to ensure maximum fuel efficiency, thereby giving an added advantage to tour operators,” says N Naga Senthil Prabu, Regional Manager, South, with Ashok Leyland. Ashok Leyland Special Director K Aadinathan officially launched the vehicle in Kozhikode last week. STILE is the second product from the Leyland-Nissan joint venture after DOST; both rolled out from Nissan’s manufacturing plant at Oragadam near Chennai. Of the 55,000 units of DOST sold by the company, the state boasts of a share close to 40 per cent, with 9,300 units. Says Aadinathan, “A contemporary MPV with classleading fuel efficiency, STILE reflects our continued focus on offering Japanese technology and quality at Indian cost. Adding STILE to our portfolio, we are now better positioned to cater to a wider customer base and a range of transportation needs.’’ And what about service? “At present, we have 125 touch points across the state and we will be adding another 75 in the current fiscal. In Kerala, there will be 14 to 16 service centres by the end of this year,’’ says Aadinathan. Ali Mubarak, Managing Director of Indus Motor Light Commercial Vehicle Private Limited, the dealer of Leyland light vehicles in Kozhikode, says there has been a very good response for the vehicle since its launch. STILE comes in three variants - STILE LE, STILE LS and STILE LX - with five colour options with second row captain seats and 15 inch alloy wheels are optional in top two models.