Auto manufacturer DaimlerChrysler AG plans to venture into India’s fast growing bus business with a single model—an intercity coach, which will be priced competitively against the current leader in the luxury bus segment, Sweden’s Volvo Group, the second largest bus manufacturer in the world.
DaimlerChrysler’s India managing director and chief executive officer Wilfried Aulbur said the company plans to roll out the bus on Indian roads between the first and second quarters of 2008.
“Our entry into the Indian market in the bus segment will be slow and we are not aiming at high sales initially since we want to study the market and its requirements before launching (multiple products),” Aulbur said. The company will also start assembly of the Actros range of trucks soon at its existing plant at Chikhali in Pune and it hopes to start full-fledged truck manufacture from its €50 million (Rs281 crore) new plant coming up in the emerging auto hub of Chakan (near Pune ), which is expected to be operational by early 2009.
DaimlerChrysler, however, is not in the mood to wait and watch the action in the luxury car business in India, where only a handful of global luxury car manufacturers are seen as players in the near term.
The auto manufacturer on Monday flagged off The India Trail, a rally which will see auto experts drive a line-up of seven DaimlerChrysler diesel cars now available in India, including the S, C, E and M class vehicles across a distance of 40,000km to prove its leadership in the diesel space.
DaimlerChrysler has a 70-year-old history in diesel cars, with more than 50% of its car sales globally in this segment.
Its leadership position in the diesel segment has followed it to India, where 50% of its car sales come from the diesel segment, against the industry trend where only 40% of the total number of automobiles sold are diesel.