| Hans M Huber, managing director and chief executive of DaimlerChrysler India at the inauguration of a Mercedes-Benz showroom in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury.
Calcutta, Feb. 7: DaimlerChrysler, owner of the Mercedes Benz brand, plans to enter the commercial vehicle segment in the country in the near future.
The company has already carried out a feasibility study and is now working on the finer aspects of the move.
Confirming the development here today, DaimlerChrysler managing director and chief executive Hans-Michael Huber said there are various things that need to be sorted out before the company launches a product in the commercial vehicle segment.
“Large domestic players like Telco and Ashok Leyland have been catering to the commercial vehicle segment for years. Moreover, it is tough to match the prices they offer,” Huber said.
However, the German auto major believes its commercial vehicles will be value for money in terms of technology, fuel efficiency and several other features.
“We have a long-term vision so far as our business strategy is concerned. The players who have set up manufacturing outfits here without doing much homework are now burning their fingers. We will launch our vehicles when the time is perfect,” Huber said.
Huber added that the company does not have an immediate plan to set up a manufacturing unit in India for the production of commercial vehicles. “It is likely that the vehicles will be imported in completely built unit form,” he said.
The commercial vehicles will be procured either from its associate companies in Asia or from the Mercedes Benz stable.
The company has management control in Fuso, a joint venture with Mitsubishi. Fuso deals exclusively with commercial vehicles having wide range of models. DaimlerChrisler has another joint venture with Hyundai where it holds a 10 per cent stake.
Mercedes Benz has two plants, one in Vietnam for light commercial vehicles and the other one in Indonesia, where it has a complete range of commercial vehicles.
“Once we take a decision on the timing of the launch, we will firm up plans from where we will bring the vehicles,” Hubar said.
The company, however, does not have any plans to introduce a new model in the passenger car segment.
“Our main focus will continue to be on Mercedes Benz and we are expecting to grow at a 10 per cent rate over the next few years,” he said.
The company aims to sell 1350 cars within December 31, 2003, compared with the sales of 1,200 cars last year. In terms of revenue, the company plans to cross Rs 350 crore against Rs 320 crore last year.
Huber said that if the manufacturers of auto parts in the eastern region are able to meet DaimlerChrysler’s standard, then the auto major is ready to source such parts from them for export.