Daimler to roll out BharatBenz trucks by Q3 2012


Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) is set to roll out its new range of trucks under 'BharatBenz' brand from third quarter of this calender year, and also plans to start exporting them by year-end.

DICV, which is a 100% subsidiary of Germany's Daimler AG, is also considering manufacturing buses in India.

"The full range showcase of the new BharatBenz trucks will happen in March and production (at the plant near Chennai) starts in April. The market launch will happen in third quarter of the current year," DICV Managing Director and CEO Marc Llistosella told reporters.

When asked if the BharatBenz trucks would be exported, Llistosella replied in affirmative but did not provide details.

He however hinted that potential export markets could be Africa, the Middle-East and the South-East Asia.

In February, 2011, DICV had unveiled the new BharatBenz brand specially designed for India. The company has set up a 400 acres production plant at Oragadam near Chennai and is investing Rs 4,400 crore in manufacturing, R&D, marketing and sales, and setting up dealership network.

On the company's plan to manufacture buses in India he said: "It is a strategic discussion that is currently going on. Bus market in India has huge potential which is currently overseen...Development work has already started in the Europe".

For truck manufacturing at Chennai, DICV is relying heavily on local sourcing of components.

"We would start with around 85% localisation and we have a target of exceeding 90%. Forty one per cent of our suppliers are based in Tamil Nadu and 44% are in rest of the country," Llistosella said.

The company is also sourcing from Indian suppliers for its global trucks' production.

"Daimler's total sourcing only for trucks is close to 15 billion euros. We have already started sourcing from India for our international operations," Llistosella said.

The company has not yet disclosed its pricing strategy for the new trucks yet, but said it plans to launch 17-19 new products in the next 18 months in 6 to 49 tonne range.

"The products are about value for money for customers. The total ownership cost of these trucks would be very competitive," DICV President Marketing and Sales VRV Sriprasad said.

The plant would start with an initial capacity of 36,000 units and is likely to be expanded to produce 72,000 units per annum starting 2013, which could entail an additional investment of around Rs 350 crore.