Charg­ing ahead

Daim­ler In­dia Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles charges ahead with a mix of ris­ing do­mes­tic sales and a strong ex­port drive.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Anusha B

It was in March 2012 that Daim­ler In­dia Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles (DICV), a wholly-owned sub­sidiary of Daim­ler AG, un­veiled its new range of trucks un­der the BharatBenz brand. The com­pany held a spe­cial event span­ning six-days at the Hy­der­abad In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, where the me­dia, po­ten­tial customers and brand part­ners in­clud­ing deal­ers and sup­pli­ers were able to see the trucks up and close. The event fol­lowed the an­nounce­ment from the com­pany that it will seek a pres­ence in the CV seg­ments in In­dia rang­ing from 9 to 49-tonnes. Truck mod­els to that ef­fect – light-duty and heavy-duty, were show­cased. A sale of 1000 trucks was achieved in 2012. In May 2013, the com­pany an­nounced its In­dian strat­egy un­der its for­ward­look­ing pro­gramme, Daim­ler Trucks No. 1. The first out­come of the pro­gramme re­sulted in the launch of a new ro­bust ‘Made in In­dia’ truck port­fo­lio un­der the Fuso brand for ex­ports. Sup­ported by ris­ing do­mes­tic sales and a strong ex­port drive, DICV, it is no se­cret, is pur­su­ing growth. Ex­pect­ing to break-even this year, the com­pany, ac­cord­ing to Marc Llis­tosella, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Mit­subishi Fuso Truck and Bus Cor­po­ra­tion (MFTBC), and Head of Daim­ler Trucks Asia, has been able to off­set its growth in the do­mes­tic mar­ket last year with ex­ports. “Our path is promis­ing, and we ex­pect to breakeven this year,” he said.

Ex­pect­ing to be prof­itable from 2018, DICV, it is cer­tain will con­tinue to fol­low the strat­egy of driv­ing ex­ports while it in­creases its reach in the do­mes­tic mar­ket. Ex­ports of DICV trucks made at the Ora­gadam plant am­mounted to 4500 units in 2016. In 2015, 2100 units were ex­ported. So far, 7500 trucks have been ex­ported to over 30 mar­kets. Ex­ports of parts from DICV’s ex­ten­sive In­dian sup­plier base to other Daim­ler en­ti­ties in Ja­pan, Europe, North Amer­ica and Brazil, have crossed 35 mil­lion. The do­mes­tic per­for­mance of the com­pany may re­flect from the de­growth of seven per cent, it were the ex­ports that made a dif­fer­ence. A to­tal of 13,081 trucks were sold in the do­mes­tic mar­ket by the com­pany in 2016. In 2015, 13,997 units were sold. Un­til now, sources close to the com­pany claim, 40,000 BharatBenz trucks have been put on the road. Said

Llis­tosella, “The In­dian op­er­a­tion is a cor­ner­stone of our suc­cess at Daim­ler Trucks Asia. With the launch of a third prod­uct line for ex­ports, we will en­ter the next stage in the strate­gic col­lab­o­ra­tion of DICV and MFTBC. DICV will start pro­duc­tion of this new se­ries of trucks – sub-9 tonne ve­hi­cles, shortly. These would ini­tially be ex­ported as Fuso brand vari­ants.” “The first cus­tomer ve­hi­cles will roll out in the first half of the year,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Erich Nes­sel­hauf, MD & CEO, DICV, the fo­cus on prof­itable growth con­tin­ued in 2016. “A mixed year for the In­dian CV in­dus­try 2016 was. We were able to com­pen­sate the cur­rent chal­lenges in the do­mes­tic mar­ket with our suc­cess­ful ex­port story. With new prod­ucts in the pipe­line, we are geared up for fur­ther growth.” Clear about of­fer­ing fully-built trucks and buses, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of BSIV emis­sion norms in April this year are likely to work to the ad­van­tage of the com­pany, which an­nounced last year that prod­uct tran­si­tion to BSIV emis­sion norms has been ac­com­plished. “With BharatBenz, we have the best tech­nol­ogy in the mar­ket. The CVs are based on proven so­lu­tions, and en­able use to be fully ready to sell BSIV ve­hi­cles in In­dia. Feed­back from our customers for our BSIV ve­hi­cles clearly in­di­cates that we are per­fectly po­si­tioned for the tran­si­tion,” ex­pressed Nes­sel­hauf. He men­tioned, “Con­tin­u­ing dis­cus­sions on BSIV are re­flect­ing upon the at­tempt of some play­ers in the In­dian com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle in­dus­try to di­lute this up­com­ing tran­si­tion of emis­sions stan­dards. It should not be di­luted by com­mer­cial in­ter­ests. There is no ac­cept­able rea­son for any de­lay, as ev­ery­one in the in­dus­try has had enough time to get ready for the tran­si­tion. We also be­lieve that our BSIV ve­hi­cles are eco­nom­i­cally ben­e­fi­cial to our customers since they de­liver more mileage (kilo­me­ter per litre) com­pared to BSIII ver­sions. Su­pe­rior ef­fi­ciency of BSIV trucks can help to re­duce the im­port bill of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia,” ex­plained Nes­sel­hauf. He fur­ther stated, “We have been sell­ing BSIV emis­sion com­pli­ant CVs since Au­gust 2015. The feed­back we re­ceived was pos­i­tive.” The com­pany has trained its deal­ers to cater to its new-tech trucks.

The new gen­er­a­tion BharatBenz heavy-duty trucks launched in the com­ing months, will be key growth driv­ers, claim Daim­ler In­dia sources. In Its been three years af­ter the launch of BharatBenz CVs that the com­pany is pre­sent­ing a new range of medium-duty trucks. Up­grad­ing the en­tire truck port­fo­lio with the launch of its new gen­er­a­tion heavy-duty trucks in the seg­ment be­tween 16 and 49 tonne GWV, the com­pany rolled out the 50,000th CV re­cently. The roll out marked a pro­duc­tion mile­stone in Au­gust 2016. Lo­cal­i­sa­tion lev­els of trucks are claimed to be as high as 92 per cent. With air con­di­tioned cab­ins on of­fer, the new BharatBenz trucks are ex­pected to re­duce driver fa­tigue, a ma­jor cause for ac­ci­dents in In­dia.

With the ecan­ter, the third gen­er­a­tion of the world’s first ful­ly­elec­tric light truck un­der the Fuso brand mark­ing a leap for­ward, DICV, as part of Daim­ler’s Asia strat­egy, con­tin­ues to look for­ward to a brighter fu­ture. The ecan­ter, based on the mod­u­lar bat­tery con­cept, can cover up to 100 km on a sin­gle charge. It takes less than an hour to charge 80 per cent of the bat­tery. Pay­back time is ex­pected to be three years. With a pay­load ca­pac­ity of two to three-tonne, the trial run of the ecan­ter is said to have high­lighted a sav­ing of around Euro 1000 per 10,000 km. This ve­hi­cle will be de­liv­ered to the customers in Europe, the US and Ja­pan.

⇨ Marc Llis­tosella, Pres­i­dent & CEO, Mit­sub­ushi Fuso Truck and Bus Cor­po­ra­tion, and Head of Daim­ler Trucks Asia.

⇦ Erich Nes­sel­hauf, MD & CEO, Daim­ler In­dia Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles.

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