Daimler to launch new brand in India; to roll out 6-49T trucks

The company, which is investing Rs 4,400 crore through its wholly-owned subsidiary -- Daimler India Commercial Vehicles -- for a new facility at Oragadam in Tamil Nadu, is planning to increase its headcount by over five-fold to 3,000 and open 20 dealerships in the next two years.

"We will have our own unique badge (for the vehicles)... Completely designed for India... It will be a new brand," Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) Vice President (Marketing, Sales & After Sales) V R V Sriprasad told PTI.

He, however, declined to give details about the new brand saying the finalisation is yet to take place.

Globally, Daimler's truck brands include Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Fuso, Western Star, and Detroit Diesel.

Asked about the products to be introduced in India, he said: "Initially, we will introduce vehicles in the 25 tonne category during the second quarter of 2012, and within 18 months of the launch, we will introduce vehicles in all the 6-49 tonnes categories."

The German company will roll out the vehicles from 15 platforms, coming from its group firm Mercedes and Mitsubishi Fuso's stable. Daimler AG holds 85 per cent stake in Japanese auto giant Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation.

"The 25 tonne and above vehicles would be on Benz platform, while 6-16 tonne products will be on Fuso platform," Sriprasad said, adding DICV is currently testing prototypes of the vehicles and trial production will begin by early 2012.

The company is aiming to have localisation of over 80 per cent to make the products price competitive.

"All the products exist in Daimler's portfolio, but these are redesigned to suit the Indian conditions," he added.

On the workforce, Sriprasad said DICV currently has about 600 people on its rolls. "By the time our plant will be ready, we will have more than 3,000 employees."

In order to have a nationwide presence, the company will aggressively expand dealership networks and set up workshops over the next four years.

"More than 85 per cent of the industry sales come from 73 prime locations in the country and DICV has categorically listed the points where it needs to have a presence. We will have 20 dealer partners by 2012," Sriprasad said, adding six outlets will be opened as a pilot project next year.

He said the target is to cover all the 73 locations and to have 25 service points by 2014. "The first dealer partner will open its showroom in Chennai and we will sign the agreement shortly."

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