Daimler India to roll out six products this year

Daimler India Wednesday said it would roll out six products across various ranges, under its 'Bharat Benz' truck brand this year.

Chennai: Daimler India Wednesday said it would roll out six products across various ranges, under its 'Bharat Benz' truck brand this year.

"The first product will be a 25 tonner rigid truck 2523, with 230HP. It will be followed by a 2523 construction vehicle -- a fully built tipper," Commercial Vehicle (DICV) Vice-President (Marketing, Sales and After Sales) V R V Sriprasad told reporters.

DICV, a 100 percent subsidiary of Germany's Daimler AG, has a 400 acre manufacturing facility at Oragadam near here, built with an investment of Rs 4,400 crore.

The company has proposed to roll out 17 trucks across 9-31 tonnes both in light duty and heavy duty categories in the next 18 months.

"At the time of inauguration (of our new manufacturing facility), we have stated that we will have a market launch by third quarter of 2012.We are well on track (for that)," he said.

Elaborating on product portfolio, Sriprasad said a 31 tonner (Gross Vehicle Weight) GVW with 230HP would be launched this year. "We are also thinking of launching a nine tonner and a 12 tonner (range of trucks) this year (by December)," he said.

He said all their entire range of trucks would be coming up in 18 months "as planned" and the first two years (after the plant inauguration) would be more on bringing products for the domestic market.

On the capacity of the Chennai plant, he said with a single shift operation, they would have a capacity of producing 36,000 units a year and it can be doubled by 2015, attaining "full capacity".

"If we do (sell) beyond that (about 72,000 units a year), we will be geared to produce 100,000 units by 2018-2020...," he said.

He said in the next two to three months, the plant is expected to produce 1,500 to 2,000 units.

When asked whether the company was witnessing the global market conditions, Sriprasad said even at the peak of the crisis in 2008, the truck market grew to 200,000 units.

"For the volume we are targeting in first year, these ups and downs (uncertain market conditions) are part and parcel of our industry. We see in the next few years it will reach to 500,000 units from the present 300,000 units...," he said.

Declining to reveal the price of the products, he said, "We have decided about it (price of the vehicle). It will be extremely competitive and it will be of a quality brand. It will be a great value for money...".

Sriprasad was at the manufacturing facility for receiving six trucks which taken across 22 cities on a 72 day tour across the country as part of their promotional event -- BharatBenz Power Yatra.

"It was a 8,400 km run across 22 major cities including the golden quadrilateral. We met 3000 drivers, mechanics and we have received lot of feedback on the product we showcased."

The Yatra was formally flagged off by Daimler Trucks - Head Andreas Renschler, Daimler India Commercial Vehicle Managing Director and CEO, Marc Llistosella, in the presence of Daimler AG, Board of Management, Chairman Dieter Zetsche on April 18 from Oragadam, he said.