Daimler India targets to grow bus sales 80% in 2018

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Chennai, June 5 (IANS) Heavy vehicles maker Daimler India Commercial Vehicles plans to sell around 200 units of its new Mercedes-Benz Super High Deck automatic coach this year as it hopes to log 80 per cent growth in the buses segment in 2018, said a senior company official.

“The Indian market size for the Super High Deck buses is around 600 units per year. We hope to sell 200 units this year,” Thomas Fricke, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India (the bus division of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles) told media here on Tuesday.

He said target is not ambitious but achievable one in given market condition as there are not many competitors in this landscape.

According to the company, the new bus offers a high seating capacity of up to 59 pushback seats and 14 cubic meters of luggage space and is the lightest in its class.

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Fricke said the new model is India’s longest luxury coach (15 metres) and has higher power while declining to reveal its price after selling six units.

According to him, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles hopes to log a domestic sales growth rate of 80-100 per cent this calendar year in the bus segment.

In 2017, the company sold 906 units in the domestic market up from 501 units sold in 2016.

Fricke said the company exported around 500 units last year.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles offers buses under two brands – Mercedes-Benz (high end luxury rear engine buses) and BharatBenz (front engine buses for the volume segment).

“The company makes fully built buses as well as chassis. The Rs 425 crore plant capacity for fully built buses is 1,500 units per annum and for chassis it is 3,000 units,” Fricke said.

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“We see a trend from a low class mass market models to modern premium segment,” he added.

He replied in negative on the idea of company rolling out fully built sleeper coaches, saying customers can buy the chassis for building sleeper coaches.

He said with around 40,000 units sales per annum, India is the second largest bus market in the world after China.

The Indian market is set to grow at around four per cent per annum with the first quarter sales showing positive signs. The long term growth prospects are very positive, Fricke said.

Queried about the company’s plans for the State Transport Undertaking segment, Fricke said it is a price sensitive segment and it is not in the radar now.

He said Daimler India Commercial Vehicles offers staff/school/tourist buses in fully built mode in the nine ton segment. In the 16 ton segment, the company sells chassis and in the 24 ton, the offer is both-fully built and chassis.

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“The company exports 9 and 16 ton vehicles as chassis,” Fricke said.

–IANS

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