Chennai-based Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) today reported a 36 percent drop in its sales for calendar year 2019: 14,474 trucks (2018: 22,532 units). This is in line with the 35% drop in industry sales volumes. Meanwhile, despite the significant market headwinds, the company expanded its domestic sales network by a record 30%, expanding from 182 touch-points in 2018 to 236 in 2019. DICV says it has maintained its share of market at 5.8% despite the heavy discounting seen in the market in the lead up to the BS VI emissions norm deadline.
Announcing preliminary results for 2019 in Chennai, Satyakam Arya, Managing Director and CEO, DICV, said: "Since the time we entered the Indian market, we have always been different from the batch. DlCV is proud to have recorded another successful year. Internal cost restructuring, focused material cost saving in cooperation with supplier partners and strong growth in exports enabled us to achieve positive results. We are now better positioned than ever to lead India’s CV market with our technologically advanced and cost-effective products and services.".
For the year 2020, DICV expects to grow steadily in both its domestic and export business with the new 12-strong medium and heavy duty CVs it premiered in January. “Our access to Daimler’s worldwide network of technological expertise allowed us to efficiently localise our globally-proven EURO 6 solution for India’s BS VI emissions norms. This helped us control development costs and focus instead on bringing our customers the best-ever BharatBenz portfolio,” explained Arya.
Meanwhile, Daimler India’s Bus business showed its best-ever result in 2019 with an 11 percent rise in domestic sales and a 56 percent increase in exports. Thomas Fricke, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India said, “As global market leader, Daimler Buses sees enormous potential in India. We achieved record results in 2019 and will continue to offer our customers and their passengers reliable quality at competitive prices.”
Exploring off-road engine market and India's defence sector
To promote innovation and new business ideas, DICV is also looking at the possibility in the off-road engine space and defence sector. "We are looking at the engines and we already produce two engine platforms of six-cylinder and four-cylinder. Both these are fitting very well in the off-highway sector. We have started studying the needs and started interaction with possible customers. And, in the defense sector we have started a study on developing a 4x4, which the sector requires," Arya, mentioned.
Growing the digital connect
As a part of its connected telematics solutions, DICV offers Truckonnect which comes as part of its BS VI vehicle portfolio. This allows customers to check vital vehicle information in real time via the Truckonnect online portal. It helps track and analyses vehicle location, fuel consumption and vehicle health allows fleet managers to optimise driver performance, increase fuel efficiency, and reduce downtime through constant monitoring. This connected solution was also part of the BS VI trucks that were recently delivered by DICV which has covered 25,000km so far.
"If someone is over-speeding or engaging in harsh braking, it increases the maintenance cost. But when we know what is happening, the fleet owners can make sure that the drivers are not doing it. Fuel theft, which is quite prevalent in India, can also be avoided as it will alert the owners. We have rolled out our phase one. In the next two years, we will have three to four new rollouts, which will have more features. We will be concentrating more on predictive failures, which gives out warning when something is about to fail. This increases safety. And, geo fencing will also be part of the rollouts," Satyakam Arya said.
Riding high on Make in India
On the exports side, DICV set a new record with over 8,000 units sold to more than 50 countries worldwide, which marks 14% year-on-year growth. In 2019, the company further surpassed two major export milestones: 30,000 CVs and 125 million parts sold overseas. Since exports of made-in-India DICV vehicles began in 2013, the company has over 100,000 BharatBenz vehicles on the road. In 2019, DICV entered three new markets namely, New Zealand, Malaysia and Ecuador. DICV expects to continue achieving double-digit growth in 2020 and will be scouting for new export markets to grow the business.
Not yet impacted by Covid-19
DICV has not been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in China. According to Arya, "We buy parts from China and we are closely monitoring the situation. Daimler has a large manufacturing facility in China which is partially working. So far it has not affected us. But we are tracking everything and wherever we feel there is a risk, we are finding alternates. Normally, we have more than one source of supply."