After its successful foray into the truck market, German auto major Daimler is gearing up to enter the Indian bus space.
Addressing the shareholders at the annual general body meeting here on Wednesday, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said, "following the successful start of BharaBenz in the Indian truck market, the next step will be to enter the bus segment.''
"Here we will use chassis from our BharatBenz trucks to develop BharatBenz buses for the volume segment. At the same time, we will serve the premium segment with our Mercedes-Benz brand chassis,'' he said.
"We will benefit here from economies of scale that will enable us to offer our customers superior technology at competitive prices,'' he added.
Opening up new markets was a part of Daimler's four-pronged growth strategy, Dr. Zetsche said. "Our job is to develop clean, safe and fascinating products to meet the increasing demand for mobility in the future,'' he said. In this context, he pointed to Daimler's expansion activities in China, and the focus on Indian truck business. In India, the strategy involved developing customised products based on Daimler's proven technology, he said. The objective was to manufacture them "with high level of local content,'' he added. About 85 per cent of the truck parts were produced in India. "As a result of this approach, we are now already in fourth place in the segment of medium and heavy-duty trucks in India,'' he pointed out. The company, it may be recalled, launched its first BhartBenz vehicle in India in 2012.
He indicated that Daimler would double its production capacity in China to 200,000 cars by 2015.
Besides "opening up new markets', Daimler laid much store by beefing up its core business. Here the focus was not limited to the existing model series, he said. "We are also seeking to gain new customers by entering new segments for Mercedez-Benz,'' Dr..Zetsche asserted. Daimler, he said, would introduce 12 completely new models "that do no have any predecessors,'' he added.
Dr. Zetsche said extension of technological leadership was an important constituent of Daimler's strategic growth focus. In this context, he pointed to the company's successful efforts toward reducing fuel consumption and emission of its fleet in Europe by 25 per cent over the past five years.
"We regard ourselves not only as a vehicle manufacturer but also as a provider of mobility solutions,'' Dr. Zetsche said. Under "Mercedez Me'' brand, the company had brought new mobility solutions and digitalization. "With Mercedez Move Me'', Daimler was further extending its leadership position in mobility services, he said.
"We are beginning 2014 at the same pace with which we finished 2013,'' Dr. Zetsche said. Although markets were uneven in the first three months of 2014, Daimler sold more cars, trucks and buses in the first quarter of 2014 than in the prior-year period, he claimed.
Daimler sold nearly 2.4 million vehicles, and achieved a group revenue of Euro 118 billion in 2013. "Our strategy is paying off. We will hold fast to our course,'' Dr.Zetsche said, reiterating Daimler's goal to grow "sustainably and profitably''.