Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday inaugurated the Rs 4,400 crore state-of-the-art manufacturing facility of German truck maker Daimler.
Jayalalithaa unveiled a plaque to mark the inaugural of the facility which is spread over 392 acres at the SIPCOT Industrial Park at Oragadam, about 55 km from here.
Daimler India has planned to launch trucks between the six and 49 tonne category under the brand name, 'Bharat Benz'.
According to a company official, in the first phase, the plant would have a capacity to produce 36,000 units per year, which can be ramped up to 71,000 units in future.
Daimler planned to have about 70 dealerships to retail the trucks across the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Jayalalithaa said the presence of Daimler in the state strengthened "Chennai's reputation as the Detroit of India. I wish Bharat Benz a big success."
Observing that her goal was to make Tamil Nadu the 'numero uno' in all spheres of development, she said after she took over there has been an overwhelming response from investors.
"Our government will soon sign MoUs with a number of companies including both vehicle and component manufacturers," she said.
The Chief Minister said that her government was currently finalising a set of policy reforms. "The new industrial policy, 2012, will accelerate the pace of growth of the manufacturing sector to 14 percent."
"Our government will soon announce industry-specific policies for automobiles and the auto-components industry, biotechnology, the aerospace industry and renewable energy with special focus on solar power generation," she said.
The inauguration of the facility by Jayalalithaa assumes significance as it is the first major plant to come into operation after AIADMK came to power last year.
Daimler India Managing Director Marc Llistosella said the trucks manufactured here would have a localisation level of about 85 percent.
Of this, more than 40 percent of the components sourced come from around 55 km radius of the plant while the remaining from across the country.
"We target 90 percent of localisation in India and 50 percent of it will come from Tamil Nadu by 2015," he said.
The manufacturing facility would roll out all range of trucks between six and 49 tonnes, he said.
Stating that it was an emotional day for Daimler, he said "this plant inauguration is not the end. It's the beginning."
Besides, the company's Research and Development wing, situated about 10 km from the plant, employs 600 engineers while the manufacturing facility employs 350 people which is to be increased to 550 in the next one year.
"Including the R&D unit, there are about 1500 people on board," a company official said.
The trucks manufactured here are scheduled for production from third quarter of this year, he said.
State Finance Minister O Pannerselvam in his budget speech for 2012-13 had said major companies, including Yamaha, Daimler, Danfoss, Sanmina and Saint Gobain, have chosen Tamil Nadu to make investments and added there were about Rs 20,000 crore investments in the pipeline.
First Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 18:07