Daimler Truck’s subsidiary Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) revealed the new BharatBenz brand heavy-duty truck and its product strategy for the Indian market at the Auto Expo. With its first ever made-in-India truck, BharatBenz will enter the promising Indian market for medium heavy-duty and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. India has become the world’s third-largest truck market in recent years, boasting a volume far above 3,00,000 units in 2011.
To emphasise the importance of this commercial vehicle premiere for his division, Andreas Renschler, the Daimler Board of Management member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, said, “Our strategy focuses on profitable growth. We want to boost our sales in existing markets as well as new ones. Our strategy for the new growth markets is to operate as globally as possible, on the one hand, and as locally as necessary on the other.”
According to Renschler, this strategy is reflected in the new BharatBenz trucks. “The trucks are based on existing Daimler commercial vehicle platforms. Indian specialists developed the trucks for the local market, where they are also built,” he said. “This is the most effective way for us to participate in the growth of India’s volume segment. Our product range focuses on quality, reliability, and efficiency and particularly targets the modern domestic segment, which shows huge growth potential and reflects the growing demands of Indian customers.”
On March 2, 2012, BharatBenz will unveil its entire truck line-up in the six- to 49-tonne range. The BharatBenz heavy-duty truck will be built on the Mercedes-Benz Axor platform, and the future light and medium-duty trucks will be based on the Fuso Canter and Fighter series. The new trucks will meet India’s BS III emissions standard [comparable to Euro III].
Marc Llistosella, CEO of DICV, stated that the all-new plant at Oragadam, near Chennai, will start production in the first quarter of this year and will be inaugurated on April 18. While initial production capacity will be 36,000 units, DICV has the option of doubling it to 72,000 units.
BharatBenz, Daimler Trucks’ fifth brand, which was unveiled in February 2011, will launch 17 products by March 2014 and all products will be launched with a minimum localisation level of 85 percent. Llistosella added that 75 percent of the 450 suppliers to the project are totally new to Daimler, which sources about 15 billion euros worth of components every year. The truckmaker will now look at increasing sourcing from India for its global operations.
On the dealership front, he said that DICV has received 465 letters of interest for dealerships to cover 70 locations in India. By the end of 2012, Daimler plans to have dealerships in 110 points. DICV also plans to hold its own exhibition in Hyderabad in March 2012.