BharatBenz has launched three new trucks - two 25-tonne and one 31-tonne models - in IndiaDaimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has launched three BharatBenz truck models - two 25-tonne 6x4 rigid trucks called 2523R and 2523C, and a 31-tonne 6x4 rigid truck called the 3123R. Marking an important milestone in the journey of Daimler in India that began some five years ago with the setting up of a small facility at Gurgaon to conduct research, followed by the entry of Hero Group as a partner and its subsequent exit from the venture, the three trucks are aimed at the haulage and construction segment. To be precise, the 2523R and 3123R are aimed at the haulage segment. The 2523C is aimed at the construction segment. While the 2523 is priced between Rs 15.7 and Rs 17.2 lakh (ex-showroom), the 3123 is priced between Rs 18.7 and Rs 20.2 lakh (ex-showroom). The price of the three trucks is the same across India.All the three trucks are forward control designs and based on the company's HDT platform. While the HDT platform was derived from the Mercedes Benz Axor, the LDT platform, which will offer trucks between 7- and 25-tonnes, is based on the Fuso platform. A total of 17 models, including the ones mentioned above, based on both platforms are scheduled for a staggered launch in India. Made at the company's modern manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Chennai, spread over 400 acres and built with an investment of Rs 4,400 crore, the 17 truck models, ranging from 7- to 49-tonne, would be launched over the next seventeen months.Speaking at the launch of the trucks, Marc Listollesa, Managing Director and CEO of DICV, said Indian truck buyers would now have a wider choice. "A choice of trucks that are more fuel efficient, more reliable and in the end makes them more successful. BharatBenz is here, and we are proud to have delivered on the promise we made since 2010, to launch our trucks in September 2012. We will drive the change in the Indian market with a new product experience, a new sales experience and a new service experience for our customers." Built on the HDT final assembly line (there are two lines, one HDT and the other, LDT) that is probably the longest of its kind at 237 mtr in India, these three initial trucks are powered by a 230 HP, 6.4-litre six-cylinder inline diesel engine with an inline unitised fuel injection system. Of the three, the two haulage trucks feature a balance-type rear suspension, and an inter-wheel differential. The construction truck is equipped with inter-wheel/inter-axle differential locks to enable it to tackle arduous working conditions, often involving intense axle articulation at times. The trucks can be had with a Comfort Pack (with AC), Hazardous Good Pack High, and CG Pack too. They ensure driver safety and comfort.Tested over 62-lakh km on Indian roads to ensure top quality, efficiency and reliability, the trucks carry a local content of 85%. The local content is slated to reach 95% next year. Said Eric Nesselauf, Vice President, Purchasing & Logistics at DICV, "The Indian operating conditions are the toughest. We also had challenges unique to this market. To ensure that our trucks stand the arduous working conditions, we reinforced a number of truck components including the chassis." "We had to upgrade the suppliers. We found some of them to be world class - somewhere hidden champions. We sent the suppliers for training to Japan, Germany and USA. These suppliers received special training as is the standard at Daimler," he added. Mr Nesselauf drew attention to interesting supplier facts such as getting the supplier to turn out axles with Daimler technology. Stressing on supplier support, and the suppliers receiving technology transfer, he spoke about practices unique to India. Practices that made the engineers at Daimler reinforce the truck cab so that it can support a load on its top. Putting the supplier investment at Euro 80m, Mr Nesselaauf averred, "The supplier of gears had never manufactured truck gears. We worked with him to ensure the right quality and design of gears."DICV has 200 Tier 1 suppliers. Of these KLT and MSI Autotech, suppliers of truck chassis and cab respectively, have captive units inside the DICV facility. Coming to service support, the BharatBenz trucks would be currently supported by 28 dealers. These were selected out of the 800 applications received by the company, according to V R V Sriprasad, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and After-Sales (left), DICV. Each dealership will have a common facade to help the trucker identify it with ease. Stressing on the network to be the differentiator, Mr Prasad opined that the DICV dealer network will offer complete sales consulting, 24x7 after-sales service with advanced interactive vehicle diagnostics, roadside assistance for best service reach, leading to the lowest turnaround time in our workshops. "These dealerships will also provide tailor-made financial services/service packages - ensuring comprehensive attention to our customers - all under one roof," he added. Each dealer having more than one service van to ensure efficient service support, the company has issued letter-of-intents for setting up dealerships in over 100 locations in the country, covering prominent trucking routes and hubs. The ones in South and Western regions are already operational. Those in north and east will commence operations in a few weeks. By the end of this year the company expects the dealer network to reach a mass of between 40 and 45 dealerships.To enable the dealers to sell better, the company, which would also build the flagship Actros truck at the Chennai plant in a short while from now, has hired the services of its financial arm - Daimler Financial Services. Availing the services of Daimler Financial Services, customers, according to Mr Prasad, will benefit from the captive financier under the name of 'BharatBenz Financial'. BharatBenz Insurance, at the other end, offers cashless facility including zero depreciation and a host of other value-adds. This integrated approach, claim DICV sources, will offer the customers the combined benefit of products and financial services under one roof, making ownership a hassle-free experience. BharatBenz has also tied up with four leading Indian financial institutions - HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Sundaram Finance and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. These institutions will offer tailored financing solutions for customers. Additionally, several other banks and NBFCs have also approved BharatBenz products with attractive terms and conditions - Cholamandalam, SREI, Magma, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, YES Bank, Reliance Capital, L&T Finance to name a few.
Daimler starts production of light-duty trucks
Daimler India Commercial Vehicles has started production of Light-Duty Trucks (LDT) ranging between 7 and 25 tonnes. The move comes within a week of the launch of three medium duty trucks (two 25-tonne and one 31-tonne truck) in Mumbai, marking the company's foray into the Indian truck market. The LDT range includes a 9-tonne rigid truck, a 12-tonne rigid and construction truck.Based on the Fuso Canter platform, the BharatBenz LDT trucks are assembled on a dedicated line at the final assembly stage along side the HDT line. Speaking on the occasion, Marc Llistosella, Managing Director & CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, said: "We are well on track with our growth strategies and will have a good product mix for the customers. With fuel prices soaring, customers will want trucks that are more fuel efficient, reliable and robust. BharatBenz LDT range will offer quicker turnaround time and the lowest total cost of ownership. In the coming months, we will strategically release our products in the market that will include LDT and HDT range". Featuring a 4-litre, four-valve per cylinder engine that is tuned to deliver 140hp, or 170hp, the LDT trucks, like the HDT ones, comes with the promise of 10% better fuel efficiency in comparison to what the competition has to offer. The trucks, vigorously tested under the severest of Indian conditions, carry a local content of 85%. The DICV plant on the outskirts of Chennai with a capacity to make 36000 units of HDT and LDT is supported by 200 tier 1 suppliers. Prominent among them are KLT, MSI AutoTech, AVTEC and others.