Daimler to export Mercedes Benz buses from India

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Daimler AG, the world's largest truck maker is preparing to export its fully built luxury buses under the Mercedes Benz brand to markets in Africa and South East Asia.

This will be the first instance when the luxury vehicle maker with the three pointed star logo will export a high end product out of India.

These buses have been designed, engineered in India and adapted to the local market with a significant localisation level of 75% on bus body and overall localisation of over 50%.

Speaking on the side-lines of a bus manufacturing plant inauguration in Orgadam, Chennai, Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses told ET, "We will be exporting both the bus chassis and fully built buses from India. The chassis exported will be used for Mercedes Benz Buses. We have already exported 150 chassis to Egypt, we are negotiating with Indonesia, Africa, so there are lot of markets to cater to. For fully built buses we may look at Nigeria in Africa and some of the South East Asian Markets."

Apart from Germany, Daimler uses its manufacturing base in Brazil and Spain to export MB buses, India will emerge as a key gateway to Africa and South East Asia.

The company is currently analysing the specific markets in these two continents and may begin export next year.

On the similar lines, the largest luxury bus maker Volvo too is planning to export buses to some of the developed markets in the coming quarters.

India with quality and cost advantage has established itself firmly as an export base. Over the past few years, India has migrated from just being a small car exports hub to bigger cars like sedans and utility vehicles and now even the luxury cars like Chrysler Jeep SUVs will be exported to overseas markets.

Set up with an investment of Rs 425 crore, the new bus manufacturing facility in Chennai will have an initial capacity of 1500 units, which can be further expanded to 4000 units. The new plant will manufacture buses with gross vehicle weight of 9, 16 and above 16 ton range, in both double and triple axles with front and rear engine configuration.

The company will launch the buses in the domestic market in the third quarter of 2015. With these new range of buses, Daimler will cater to both private and government buys, which includes school buses, tourist buses and intercity coach buses accounting for 15,000 units per annum said the company.

Schick expects the volume of the Indian market for buses weighing over eight tons 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," he said.

The new bus plant will create 1,300 job opportunities in the state, 300 for DICV and additional 1,000 at Wrightbus International, the bus body builder for Daimler.

Calling it the second wave of growth in India, Daimler India Commercial Vehicle on Wednesday unveiled a range of trucks and buses - under Bharat Benz and Mercedes Benz brand and higher horsepower 31 tonner deep mining trucks and 49 tonner local heavy duty tractor.

In a short span of four years, Daimler has already captured the number 3 position in the heavy duty truck space by selling over 22,000 units. With the localised new mining trucks, company will take on the imported models of Volvo and Scania.

Daimler India has already secured orders for 600 mining trucks in a market that has an annual appetite for 2000 trucks.

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