The trucks will be rolled out from the Oragadam facility in 2012
World's largest truck maker Daimler AG, which is setting up a state-of-the-art commercial vehicle facility at Oragadam near here, will roll out the BharatBenz brand of trucks in 2012.
Daimler will launch a range of BharatBenz trucks from 6 to 49 tonnes, catering to different applications.
With likes of Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland dominating the domestic truck market, the decision of Daimler to come out with an all new brand specifically for India indicates its seriousness to make a mark in the world's second largest commercial vehicle market. BharatBenz is not a tongue-twister and can have a greater recall value in the minds of customers.
Addressing a press conference post-brand unveiling function, Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the board of management of Diamler AG & Head of Mercedez-Benz Cars said the launch of exclusive India brand showed Daimler “is at home in India.'' He said Daimler was no stranger to India. In this context, he pointed out that the first Indian-made truck was a Daimler product, launched way back in 1954.
Dr. Zetsche reiterated Daimler's India focus by pointing to the R&D expansion plans. He also indicated fresh investment in cars depending on the evolving growth and product offerings.
The Oragadam plant will come up on 400 acres and will involve an investment of Rs.4,400 crore. The plant will have an initial capacity of 36,000 units in the first phase. Two key suppliers — makers of frame and sheet metal parts — will be housed within the factory.
The facility has already a 5.93-km state-of-the-art test track, which operates three shifts on all days. In 11 months, prototypes have already been tested for one million kilometres.
Lauding India's growth, he said “we increased our sales of Mercedez-Benz cars here by as much 80 per cent in 2010.'' He was hopeful that when the first Indian Formula One race took place this fall, “our Silver Arrows will help further increase the number of car enthusiasts in this beautiful country.''
He said Daimler had a strong footprint in India when it came to research and development. In this context, Dr. Zetsche said Daimler planned to double the R&D team in two years from the current 500.
Andreas Renschler, Head of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, said, “We aim for a localisation of 80 per cent in the materials we use at this facility.'' Asserting that Daimler would rely on local talent, he said, “We want to sell trucks that are made in India for India and by our team from India.'' There will be over 430 suppliers once the project goes on stream.
Mr. Renschler said India had become the second largest market for medium and heavy duty trucks. The market for trucks above 6 tonnes grew by 48 per cent in 2010. ``The most promising category is the new middle market,'' he said. “This will be a game changer. We are launching a brand for that segment that plans to win,'' he added.
He said BharatBenz range of products would provide solutions for a range of applications such as hauling, construction and tractor-trailer.
Daimler Financial Services would provide a full financial services programme to support its Indian truck business, he said.
Marc Llistosella, Managing Director and CEO of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, said the new BharatBenz brand would stand for commitment, passion and partner-oriented approach of Daimler. The product range in the light duty segment would be based on the Fuso Canter platform.