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Intra city buses in India soon from Mercedes

German luxury auto-maker Mercedes Benz would soon introduce intra-city buses in India, a top official of the company said here on Thursday.

Chennai: German luxury auto-maker Mercedes
Benz would soon introduce intra-city buses in India, a top
official of the company said here on Thursday.

"We are currently looking at the possibilities of city
buses... It will be low floor entry..," Mercedes Benz Managing
Director and CEO Wilfried Aulbur told reporters here.
Declining to elaborate, Aulbur said they were conducting
feasibility studies on launching `city buses` on Indian roads
for both private operators and state transport undertakings.

"It (buses) would be cheaper, but at this point of time
we have not yet finalised...," he said.

On the inter-city passenger bus service introduced last
year, he said the company has received an order for 43 buses,
including two axle and multi-axle variants. "So far we have
got an order for 43 buses and 13 were delivered," he said.

The buses are currently assembled at their Pune plant and
the body is built by Jalandhar-based Sutlej Motors.

Aulbur said the Pune plant single shift operations has a
capacity of 1,500 units for commercial vehicles, which would
be doubled soon. "Very soon we will start the second shift."
On their future outlook, Aulbur said he expects double
digit growth this year. "Last year, the bus market was 69,500
units, of which luxury buses contributed 1,000 units. This
market is growing rapidly by 15-20 per cent and we expect to
be a major player in this particular segment."

Since the company was in the "transition period" last
year, the company has sold nine luxury buses in 2009, he said.

The buses introduced today are priced at Rs 74 lakh for
the two axle variants and Rs 94 lakh for three axle buses.

On whether the company would utilise truck manufacturer
Daimler`s facility at Oragadam near Chennai, he said there is
an opportunity for them to use it. "We do believe there are
opportunities for manufacturing engine and power train (at
Chennai facility)," he said.

World`s largest truck maker Daimler has a manufacturing
facility at Oragadam. The plant would manufacture light,
medium and heavy commercial vehicles. It would have a capacity
72,000 units.

Aulbur was upbeat about the car business, hoping for
decent growth this year. "Last year we sold 1,142 units
including all variants, whereas for this year, till May end we
have sold 2018 units, up by 78 per cent."


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