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Mercedes buses to roll out of Chakan

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Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India will set up a new facility for building of city bus bodies at its Chakan plant in Pune. The new unit will become operational by mid-2011 and will have a capacity of 700 units a year.

The foundation stone for the new facility was laid by Wilfried Aulbur, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, along with Piyush Arora, director (technical), Mercedes-Benz India.

Initially, the new assembly line will cater to the production requirements of the city buses. Currently, the company produces 1,200 bus chassis per year on a single shift basis at the Pune plant.

Talking to media, Dr Aulbur said, “We would now like to expand into the city bus segment, making luxury travel affordable for public transport users of the urban population. We have partnered with MCV. I am confident that this new facility will enable us to further consolidate our position in the commercial vehicle market by efficiently catering to the growing demand.”

Asked about the proposed investment in the new unit, he refused to give details, but said, “Overall, we have invested Rs 300 crore on the Pune plant.”

Mercedes-Benz introduced its two-axle luxury coaches in the last quarter of 2008 and the multi-axle coaches at the Auto Expo in 2010 in the Indian market. According to the company, both two-axle and three-axle buses have been utilised and appreciated by both by private and government transport organisations.

The company has taken these on a trial in Pune for around 30,000 km.