New Delhi, Sept. 30: Swedish heavy vehicles major Scania is gearing up to launch premium on-road freight trucks over the next couple of months.
The company, owned by the Volkswagen group, will also invest Rs 250 crore in a truck and bus assembly plant in Bangalore to take on rivals such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.
“There is a growing demand for high-end freight trucks that reduce fuel consumption and transit time and we hope to cash in on that, with our range,” said Henrik Fagrenius, managing director of Scania Commercial Vehicles India.
The company said its range of trucks could reduce fuel consumption by 20 per cent and transit time by over 30 per cent. The company also has freight vehicles and buses that use alternative fuels such as ethanol, bio-diesel and biogas.
“These products could be extremely effective in India, where traditional fuel prices are high and government subsidies could be reduced in the near future,” said Jonas Stromberg, director (sustainable solutions) at Scania. Recently, the government has increased the price of diesel by Rs 5. Subsidies on the prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene is putting a severe strain on public finances.
“We are studying the market and may bring these alternative fuel-based freight vehicles at a later stage,” Fagrenius said.
By December, Scania will launch three premium trucks — 4X2 360 horsepower, 6X2 410 horsepower and a 6X4 500 horsepower trucks — meant for chemical, petroleum and container industries.
The company aims to manufacture and sell 2,000 heavy trucks and 1,000 inter-city buses per year in the next five years. It plans to roll out its first truck from the Bangalore factory in April 2013 and a premium bus by April 2014.
Fagrenius said the company would invest in a manufacturing unit in India only after achieving an annual sales mark of 10,000 units.
According to analysts, the premium truck market in India is around 1,000-2,000 vehicles per annum, which generally include tippers and mining-related trucks.
Besides trucks, the firm will set up a bus body building unit within the Bangalore facility to roll out multi-axle buses. While the immediate focus is on the inter-city coaches, Scania is also exploring entry into low-floor buses.
Scania, present in India since 2007 in a partnership with Larsen & Toubro, has been selling trucks imported from its Swedish facility for use in mining and construction. The company has sold 700 trucks in India.