Daimler to label India trucks BharatBenz, unveils new logo

February 17th, 2011 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 17 (IANS) German auto major Daimler AG Thursday announced that trucks rolling out of its Indian plant would be labelled BharatBenz. The company also unveiled a new logo for the Indian-made trucks.”BharatBenz is a local brand. It is a fusion of Daimler DNA and Indian engineering and market know-how. We are sending a clear message with our new truck brand that Daimler is at home in India,” Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche told reporters here after unveiling the new brand and the new logo.

He said Daimler is also set to double its research and development (R&D) team here to 1,000 in two years’ time.

Daimler’s Indian subsidiary Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt Ltd (DICV) is setting up a 36,000-units-per-annum plant at Oragadam near the Tamil Nadu capital. The company plans to invest Rs.4,400 crore (700 million euros) in India over a five-year period.

The plant is expected to commence trial production this year-end and commercial production sometime in mid-2012. The company plans to roll out trucks in the range of 6-49 tonnes.

“We will first launch a 25-tonne truck and expand the product portfolio later. We are in discussion with 200 dealer groups who have shown interest in us. With 70 dealerships we can cover the entire Indian market,” said Marc Llistosela, managing director and CEO of DICV.

He said the company is testing various prototypes having a local component content of around 70 percent.

“We will increase the local content to over 80 percent in two years’ time. Our supplier base now is around 200 and it is likely to go up to 430,” he said.

Ruling out any negative impact on the sales of the premium Mercedes Benz cars by labelling the trucks BharatBenz, Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses said: “The truck brand is a fusion of tradition - Benz - and the word Bharat signifies our commitment to the local market. It is a para brand for Benz.”

Giving a contrary view, Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO of Brand Comm, a brand consulting company, told IANS: “It seems to be a risky strategy. While a truck owner would like to be associated with a premium car brand, the reverse may not be true. A premium car denotes a status symbol and the buyer would not like to be associated with a truck brand.”

Renschler said: “India has become the world’s second largest market for medium and heavy duty trucks. By 2020, we expect the Indian truck industry to double. We will play a significant role in this leap. We may also ship out trucks to suitable markets out of India.”

According to him, the BharatBenz product range will draw on Daimler Trucks’ entire range of technological expertise in order to best address the special needs of Indian customers.

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