The entry of German truck maker Daimler into India with fuel-efficient and high-performance trucks under the brand name BharatBenz is expected to change the market dynamics but a fierce competition among truck makers will ultimately benefit customers and fleet owners, feel experts.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, a wholly-owned subsidiary of world’s biggest truck maker Daimler AG, after launching three trucks last Wednesday, said the company would attain market leadership in India. At present, Tata Motors is the biggest player with over 56 per cent market share, followed by Ashok Leyland.

“There is no threat this year. From the third year, BharatBenz will make a difference. Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland will together lose 4-5 per cent market share,” said Surjit Arora, Research Analyst, Prabhudas Lilladher. The incumbents are confident of taking competition head on.

“We are not at all concerned. We knew very well that the Indian market will have the same characteristics of any developed market and had consciously developed products in the past decade to match people’s expectations. We have also created new segments that were not there in India. We are fully ready to meet any competitor,” said Tata Motor’s spokesperson.

“We welcome competition. We have placed the customer at the core and all our efforts are aimed at making the customer more profitable. We have new products, new machines to make them on and a new network to reach our customer which will combine to hold us in good stead going forward,” said Vinod K. Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland.

Kasturilal Wasan, Managing Director, Wasan Trucking, which has taken dealerships with four BharatBenz outlets in Mumbai said that he had got overwhelming response from prospective buyers. “I wanted to be associated with a premium brand and this is why I am here. We will make a difference,” he said.

Fleet owner Daljit Singh Bal said that he had heard about the good performance of Daimler trucks and would place bulk orders after seeing the result. “BharatBenz’s offer is so attractive and any businessman will go to the best product,” said Mr. Bal.

Commercial vehicle (CV) sales are projected to double in five years from 0.8 million in 2011-12 to 1.6 million units according to Ernst & Young. “The incumbents have improved product line up substantially and will give tough competition to the new player. Customers will be the main beneficiary,” said Abdul Majeed, partner, PriceWaterhouse who heads auto practice.

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