Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the facility

Swedish truck and bus manufacturing company Scania expects to roll out its first Indian-made top-end long-distance buses as well as heavy haulage trucks from May next from its plant at Narasapura, 70 km from here.

The plant near Kolar is its first Asian production facility with a capacity to assemble 1,000 buses (in three variants) and 2,500 trucks a year for various industrial purposes.

At the inauguration of the facility on Tuesday, Scania Global President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Lundstedt said, “this is our largest industrial footprint in Asia so far.”

India would also emerge as an important export hub for the company’s buses, trucks and components, he said.

Scania has invested Rs.250 crore to set up separate truck- and bus-making units on a 40-acre campus in the Narsapura industrial estate, its new country headquarters. The plant employs 198 persons. German automotive major Volkswagen is the largest shareholder in Scania.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the facility.

At a news conference later Mr. Lundstedt said, “We are here as long-term partners for the Indian transport sector.”

Anders Grundstroemer, Managing Director of the India outfit, Scania Commercial Vehicles India, and Senior Vice-President of the Scania group, said the company so far supplied imported trucks for mining and off-road sectors through its arrangement with L&T.

Bharat Coking Coal had placed an order for 100 truck units. Trials had started for making trucks for the mining and off-road sectors.

The trucks had 18 per cent local content, and it was being raised to 27 per cent.

V. Sivakumar, Director (Sales), said the company pegged its growth on the up-tick in the mining sector, increased focus on environmentall-sustainable practices and the inter-city traveller’s increasing preference for luxury travel.

“There is a good interest for buses, and the company’s [USP] would be its fuel efficiency,” which its customers testified to be 7- 15 per cent higher than the rest, he said.

Bus dealerships would be opened across 50 cities initially in the South and the West. One of its early bus customers for over 100 buses is Surat-based Siddi Vinayak Logistics Ltd. The first batch of buses would be imported first from the company’s Malaysian partner and assembled from May 2014 onwards at the local plant.

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