Industry

Daimler to set up bus unit near Chennai

Company officials at the foundation laying ceremony of Daimler India Commercial Vehicle’s bus plant at Oragadam near Chennai on Thursday. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh   | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

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Plans Rs.425-cr facility

After unleashing a new wave of competition in the Indian truck industry, German auto major Daimler AG is gearing to set up a Rs.425-crore bus plant at its Indian manufacturing complex. The proposed facility will roll out fully-built front and rear-engine buses.

With the latest announcement, the production complex of Daimler India Commercial Vehicle (DICV) at Oragadam near Chennai will be the only Daimler plant globally to make three brands - BharatBenz trucks and buses, Fuso trucks and Mercedes Benz buses - under one roof.

The proposed bus plant will come up on a 28-acre site, and is expected to be commissioned by the second quarter of calendar year 2015. The unit, which will hire about 300 people, will manufacture premium as well as mass market buses, and the initial annual capacity of the plant will be 1,500 units. This could be ramped up to 4,000 units, depending on the demand. The buses will come in 9-tonne, 16-tonne and above 16-tonne categories.

“We have a bright future ahead of us in India, and we will create new benchmark in bus segment like we did in trucks through our BharatBenz brand,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG Board member responsible for trucks and buses after laying the foundation stone for the new bus plant.

The premium buses (rear-engine), which will target inter-city segment, will be sold under Mercedes Benz brand, while volume market buses (front-engine), targeting school and staff transportation segment, will be marketed under BharatBenz brand, under which Daimler presently sells a range of medium and heavy duty trucks in the country.

For India bus strategy, Daimler has roped in Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus, a global name in bus-body building, for rolling out volume buses as Daimler claims less experience in the front-engine segment. Wrightbus will set up a body-building line inside the new bus plant.

BharatBenz buses would be made from the chassis of BharatBenz trucks, while new bus unit would supply the chassis for Mercedes Benz buses. The engines and some parts for premium buses will be imported from Brazil. The company, however, will seek to achieve significant localisation in quick time as it will be using the existing vendors and suppliers for bus production, too.

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Printable version | May 24, 2017 2:41:45 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/daimler-to-set-up-bus-unit-near-chennai/article5757424.ece