Bharat-Benz Trucks are finally Here!

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HDT_launched_big_01.jpgAfter four years of preparation and traversing 6.2 million kilometers on Indian roads, the worlds largest truck maker Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has entered the Indian trucking space with highly localised trucks under its brand BharatBenz. It plans to take on the top two truck makers in the country Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland!

In India's price-sensitive truck market, Bharat Benz has priced its trucks at a 3-9% premium over existing leaders, claiming, with the higher ticket price, the truck operator stands to gain from 10-15% better fuel efficiency and a faster turnaround time with more powerful trucks, thereby offering 10% better total cost of operating the truck vis-a-vis its competitors.

Marc Llistosella, CEO and MD, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) said, "With increasing diesel prices, the fuel efficiency is going to be ever so critical. Today fuel cost contributes 60% of total cost of running, and if diesel prices go up, it could even touch 70%; therefore, despite the premium pricing, our truck offers better value to the customers over competitors."

The MD Of DICV said the company is charging premium for the engine which makes up for 50% of the total cost of the truck, "However, at that price, the customer is also getting better cab, more safety and higher durability," asserted Llistosella. The company on Wednesday rolled out three of the 17 trucks it has lined up for the India market.

The company launched a heavy truck range namely - 25 tonne construction tipper, 25 tonne rigid truck and a 31 tonne rigid truck whose prices range between 15.7 - 23.1 lakhs! The plan is to launch one new truck every month from now on, and the production for light duty range should begin on October 3.

These trucks have a localisation level of over 85% and are produced out of the companys 36,000-unit Oragadam plant in Chennai.

VRV Sriprasad,VP,marketing,sales and after-sales,said,Our entire line-up will be available in the market by the end of next year.So,by 2014-15,is when we would aim at utilising the entire capacity of 36,000 units.

The Indian light- and heavy-duty truck market stood at 330,000 units.Due to the slowdown,the market is likely to drop to 300,000 units this fiscal.But Sriprasad says,in the long-term,the Indian market is slated to grow to 500,000 units by 2020.

Even before the launch,DICV has reached out to over 3,000 fleet operators. "We are the worlds largest truck maker.With the range of trucks we have built and the value our trucks offer,I have no doubt why we cant be the same (No.1) in the Indian market in the long-term," said Sriprasad.

In the near-term,however,the company has modest plans.The company hopes to produce and sell 36,000 units by 2015.When the market is likely to touch 350,000,it may well garner a market share of around 8-9 %.To achieve that,the company has created a base of 28 dealers operating from 102 locations by end of 2013, covering 89% of the overall market. However to begin with, DICV will have 20 locations opened as of now to take the bookings & according to the MD they have recieved 800+ aplications cross the country & serieosly working on them!

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