With the ever-increasing cost of doing business in the tough South African economy there is always a need from small business owners and fleet bosses for cost-effective working vehicles that are fit for purpose and Indian automaker, Ashok Leyland has introduced the Dost 1,5 Turbo Diesel pick-up with a load carrying capacity of 1 250 kg, fuel consumption of 6,1 l/100 km and a 5-year / 500 000 km warranty.

Ashok Leyland, flagship of the Hinduja Group, is the second largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world, and the 19th largest manufacturer of trucks.

Headquartered in Chennai with nine manufacturing plants, Ashok Leyland boasts a product range from 2.5-ton to 55-ton GVM and from 13 seats to 79 seats in terms of capacity, giving the brand a 31% market share in the Indian Commercial Vehicle Market.

Distribution of the Ashok Leyland model range in Southern Africa is through ETG Logistics (ETGL), that will operate dealerships for Ashok Leyland in seven Southern African countries. In South Africa, 14 dealers have already been appointed.

Model Range

The initial model line-up for Southern Africa will focus on the 1,25-ton carrying capacity Dost pick-up, followed by the 4,5-ton Partner light truck and the 1,86-ton carrying capacity Phoenix pick-up early in 2024. Heavier trucks and buses, including electric vehicles, will join the Ashok Leyland product offering at a later stage.

Sachin Dasharath, Head Africa Business Ashok Leyland, says, “We have ambitious growth plans for the African Market. Our time tested products are well suited for the African terrain and offers superior value proposition to customers.  ETG group’s extensive connect in these markets will complement our growth plans.”

‘Dost’, is a Hindi word that means’"friend and is often used to express the idea of camaraderie, companionship, and mutual support between two people.

The Ashok Leyland ‘friend’ comes with a 1 478 cc, 3-cylinder, turbo-charged diesel common rail engine that produces maximum power of 44 kW at 3 300 r/min and maximum torque of 158 Nm from 1 600 r/min to 2400 r/mindriving through a short geared 5-speed full synchromesh manual transmission.

In unladen condition the Ashok Leyland Dost achieves a claimed fuel consumption figure of 6,1 l/100 km in the combined cycle and 7,5 l/100 km when fully laden.

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Says Francois van Eeden, Brand Head, Ashok Leyland Southern Africa: “Considering the tough economic conditions in Southern Africa and escalating finance and operating cost for farmers, small businesses and fleet operators alike, the Ashok Leyland Dost presents outstanding value for money and will definitely assist the target market in reducing vehicle acquisition and operating cost.”

Three models are available – a Chassis Cab, a Fixed Sides Deck (FSD) model and a Drop Sides Deck (DSD) model. The FSD model has a load body measuring 2 500 mm (length) x 1 620 mm (width) x 368 mm (depth) with headlights integrated into the body. The DSD model load body is 156 mm longer than that of the FSD model.


Mounted to a ladder frame chassis with six cross members, the front suspension is rigid with under slung parabolic leaf springs and double-acting shock absorbers. The rear suspension comprises over slung semi-elliptic leaf springs with double-acting shock absorbers. Drive to the rear wheels is through a propeller shaft connected to a sturdy semi-floating rear axle.

184 R14 LT 8-ply commercial tyres on styled steel rims ensure adequate traction in the most difficult conditions and can deal with demanding loads of over one ton, and the body work is also protected against stone chipping by standard mudflaps. Equipped with power steering and a short turning radius of only 5,5 m and ease of driving, Dost appeals to the urban distributors who must navigate narrow streets and traffic congestion.

The cabin has ample headroom, reclining seats thst are adjustable (sliding rail fore and aft, backrest angle) and covered in brown and beige PVC.

Seating capacity is for a driver and co-driver with extra parcel space between the two individual seats. It is fitted with a digital instrument cluster, a mobile phone holder, 12V power socket for recharging of mobile phones, headlamp adjustment and a lockable glove box.

The Dost is equipped with vacuum-assisted hydraulic disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear with a Load Sensing & Proportional Valve (LSPV) for efficient braking. LSPV braking systems have a valve that is used to regulate the amount of brake fluid that is sent to the front and rear brakes to ensure effective and even braking considering the laden condition of the vehicle.


Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD       Chassis Cab:                R 229,999

Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD       Fixed Sides Deck:         R 249,999

Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD       Drop Sides Deck:         R 254,999

Warranty is 5-Year / 500 000 km and service intervals set at 1-Year / 15 000 km.

Colin Windell