Mercedes-Benz to set up body-building unit at Pune

"Already we are building a bus chassis at our Pune plant. Now, we are setting up a bus body-building unit at the facility. It is expected to be operational by the second half of next year," Mercedes-Benz India CEO and Managing Director Wilfried Aulbur told PTI.

He said the bus body-building unit, the foundation stone for which was laid today, will have a capacity of 700-900 units per annum.

"Initially, we will be making bodies for low-floor city buses and in future, we may look at other categories," he said.

At present, the company produces 1,200 bus chassis per year on a single shift basis at the Pune plant.

Asked about the proposed investment on the new unit, he declined to give a specific figure, but said, "Overall, we have invested Rs 300 crore on the Pune plant."
Aulbur said that with plans afoot for Mercedes-Benz's Actros truck to be produced at the Daimler group's Chennai plant, the Pune facility will focus on buses.

"Going forward, the Pune plant will focus on buses as and when the production of Actros shifts to Chennai, but I cannot put a timeline on it," he said.

Since July this year, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), which is investing Rs 4,400 crore to set up a truck manufacturing plant in Chennai, has taken over the post production business for Actros.

DICV has taken over the marketing and sales, aftersales and service for Actros trucks as the Daimler Group looks to consolidate its position in the Indian commercial vehicle segment.

Mercedes-Benz India, also a part of the Daimler Group, was so far responsible for overall business of the Actros. It sold 215 of these premium trucks in 2009-10, most of which were used for off-road operations.

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