Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), the 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, Stuttgart, Germany, today inaugurated its new bus manufacturing facility in Oragadam, Chennai and unveiled its second wave of products – BharatBenz and Mercedes-Benz buses as well as a new range of new BharatBenz high-power engine trucks and BharatBenz heavy duty tractors.
With this, the DICV plant becomes the only Daimler Trucks plant worldwide to produce trucks, buses and engines for three brands – Mercedes-Benz, BharatBenz and Fuso – under one roof. The bus chassis are rolled out from the same assembly line as that of BharatBenz trucks, as they are technologically similar to the medium-duty BharatBenz trucks.
The new state-of-the-art bus manufacturing plant, constructed within the existing premises of DICV spread across an area of 27.91 acres, will manufacture and assemble buses under two brands: Mercedes-Benz and BharatBenz. With an investment of Rs 425 crore, the bus plant is set up for an initial capacity of 1,500 units which can be further expanded to 4,000 units subsequently.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses; Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses; Marc Llistosella, head of Daimler Trucks Asia; Markus Villinger, managing director, Daimler Buses India; Erich Nesselhauf, managing director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles and Mark Nodder, chairman and CEO, Wrightbus, were present at the ceremony in Oragadam.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses, said, "We have become firmly established in the Indian market with our BharatBenz brand, despite only operating in the market since 2012. We continue to strengthen our presence in the Indian commercial vehicle market with new products, now also including buses. In doing so, we are opening a new chapter of growth.” He added, "This investment represents the ongoing pursuit of our strategy of targeted expansion for our global market presence.”
Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses, said, “We see enormous potential for growth in the Indian market. For example, we expect the volume of the Indian market for buses weighing over eight tonnes to more than double by the year 2020. Our two-brand strategy allows us to offer our customers in the region the right products and services for them."
Marc Llistosella, head of Daimler Trucks Asia, stated, “Opening another production facility and introducing a second wave of products in such a short time is another testimony for the strength of our Indian operations. And in combination with our worldwide Fuso network, this makes the recipe for sustainable growth at Daimler Trucks Asia.”
New DICV products
With the opening of the bus plant, DICV is expanding its business and becomes a full-fledged CV manufacturer in the Indian market. It will adopt a two-fold strategy with BharatBenz and Mercedes-Benz buses that will cater to the Indian customer. BharatBenz buses manufactured at the Oragadam plant will be front-engined for short distance travel targeting school, staff and tourist transportation. The premium segment will be addressed with Mercedes-Benz rear-engined buses for inter-city transportation. The new plant will manufacture buses with gross vehicle weight of 9-, 16- and above-16-tonne range.
“The growth in the industry will position India as the second largest bus market with high strategic relevance for Daimler Buses. The new bus plant will create 1,300 job opportunities in the state, 300 for DICV and additional 1,000 at Wrightbus International. I would like to thank our highly motivated staff for completing the project in record time”, said Markus Villinger, managing director of Daimler Buses India.
DICV has rolled out the BharatBenz 3143 with which it enters the mining segment. Developed on the existing Daimler Heavy Duty Truck platform with a 4-axle configuration, it is the most powerful local truck with 430hp and uses the OM 457 Mercedes-Benz engine. The BharatBenz 3143 would be available in two variants 19.5Cu.M rock body and 32Cu.M coal carrier. The truck is capable of operating in challenging terrains, is crafted for Indian usage patterns and can efficiently operate in deep mining conditions, making it an unbeatable value proposition.
Completing the high power portfolio is the BharatBenz 4940TT for transporting heavy-lift project cargo in areas of construction and infrastructure projects that include turbines, heat exchangers, windmill propellers and various industrial equipments. This model will be launched in the market later this year.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Erich Nesselhauf, MD and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, said: “Since start of production, we have already over 20,000 trucks on Indian roads. This is a reinforcement of the customers’ acceptance of our products. India has a lot of natural resources like coal, iron and other minerals. We expect the Indian tipper industry to grow substantially by 2020. The 3143 will be a game-changer in the deep mining segment targeting the most demanding application with a local product.”
Pictured Pic no.6 (L-R) Marc Llistosella, president & CEO of MFTBC and head of Daimler Trucks Asia; Erich Nesselhauf, MD and CEO, DICV; Markus Villinger, MD Daimler Buses India; Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses; Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses and CEO EvoBus GmbH, and Mark Nodder, chairman and CEO, Wrights Group Ltd.