Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mercedes-Benz India to launch three-axle trucks

Mercedes-Benz India is slated to launch three-axle trucks in the next six months to a year. That will will be followed by launching of city buses. Talking to reporters at the launch of New Actros 4841K in Kolkata on Friday, Mr Wilfried Aulbur, managing director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said: "We’ve just launched two-axle trucks in India. Trial tests for three-axle trucks are already on and we hope to launch it in the next six months to a year."

Nevertheless, the company hopes to sell about 240 trucks in India during 2009, which is tipped to translate in Rs 145 crore revenue for the company's trucks business. During 2008, the company sold the same number of trucks. It now feels the market will improve only in 2010 when a growth a likely to be witnessed in the truck segment.

Mercedes-Benz is banking on growth in the coal mining segment, where its trucks are being used mainly for over-burden removal – the soil that needs to be removed for extracting coal. Talking about the buses segment, Mr Aulber said: "The economic recession and swine-flu has hit the city buses sector very hard -- the one in which we operate. The private market is very dull. This has forced us to shift focus to state transport agencies and we have started talks with various state governments."

Interestingly, Merc is also looking at a sizeable opportunity across the fire departments of various states and the defence sector. "We have already sold a few trucks to a fire department in Mumbai and are looking at opportunities in the defence sector. The Merc stable offers vehicles that are suited for the defence sector and are in use by some governments. These could be a possibility in India," said Mr Aulbur. In India, the commercial vehicle segment offers about 15% of the total revenue to Mercedes-Benz India while it is 40% globally.

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