Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, recently laid the foundation stone for its upcoming bus manufacturing facility located in Oragadam, Chennai. The greenfield facility spread across an area of 27.91 acre is located within the current premises of the DICV factory. A total of Rs 425 crore will be invested for this project that would have an installed capacity of 1,500 units in the initial phase and is expected to commence production in the first quarter of 2015. The company has said that upon ascertaining the demand from the market, the production can be scaled up to 4,000 units annually.
The factory is set to manufacture and assemble buses under both the Mercedes-Benz and BharatBenz brand names. Products from the two brands will include buses in the 9 tonne, 16 tonne and above 16 tonne categories with models being offering in both front and rear engine configurations. For the front engine buses, Daimler India has partnered with Wrightbus to set up a state-of-the-art bus body building facility as part of the new bus plant. Once this plant starts production, it will be the only Daimler Truck plant worldwide to manufacture three brands of trucks and buses belonging to the company's portfolio.
Marc Llistosella, managing director and CEO, DICV, said, "We are extremely proud and confident about this new beginning. Since inception, we have delivered on all our promises for the Indian market, and we are continuously achieving new milestones. BharatBenz, having already achieved the No.4 position in trucks in India, has now become the preferred brand for most of the truck customers, thanks to its high performance products backed by best-in-class service levels. I am confident that the new bus project will continue to deliver same level of promise and experience to the customer."
With the truck manufacturing business already making strong inroads into the Indian market, DICV is looking at leveraging its resources to further the bus business as well. The company is already looking at leveraging existing suppliers and the BharatBenz sales network to further the company's two pronged strategy for the commercial vehicle market.
It was in April 2013 that DICV consolidated commercial vehicle operations in the country with the integration of Mercedes-Benz Buses into its portfolio. The company has aligned sales, service and marketing functions for better synergies between the two business verticals, resulting in the need to employ only 300 personnel at the bus plant in the initial phase.