Santanu Choudhury, Bloomberg
New Delhi: DaimlerChrysler AG, the world’s second-largest luxury carmaker, will invest $67 million (Rs274 crore) to build a factory in India, where an expanding economy and rising disposable incomes have spawned a set of high-spending customers.
The factory, to be located at Chakan in the western state of Maharashtra, will employ 350 people initially, Joachim Schmidt, chairman of DaimlerChrysler India Pvt., said today at the industrial city of Pune.
Luxury car makers such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit have either opened factories or dealerships to sell their cars in India as economic growth increases the number of millionaires. Automakers last year announced a combined $5 billion of investments in new factories in India by 2012.
DaimlerChrysler currently assembles the E-Class, C-Class and S-Class models at a factory in Pune in Maharashtra. The land for the existing factory is owned by Tata Motors Ltd, India’s biggest truck and bus maker.
After construction of the factory, the company will shift all its existing operations to the new location.
Volkswagen in November said it will spend 410 million euros ($542 million) to set up a factory in Maharashtra to make the Passat and other models. Its affiliate Audi AG will begin building the A6 sedan in India this year.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s biggest luxury carmaker, in March opened its first factory in India to assemble the 3-Series and the 5-Series models in the port city of Chennai. The plant has a capacity of 1,700 units a year.
DaimlerChrysler sold 2,121 cars in India in 2006, 11% more than a year earlier, the company said in a 2 January statement.
The new factory in Chakan area in Pune will be located on a plot of 100 acres, triple the area of the existing unit. One- third of the land will be used for the new facility and the remainder will be kept for expansion.
— With reporting by Ashok Bhattacharjee in New Delhi