CHENNAI: The first BharatBenz buses began rolling out of Daimler’s new bus plant in Oragadam near Chennai on Monday. The buses manufactured in the plant will be in the 9, 16 and 16 plus range and will address the short distance travel segment.
Coming under the umbrella of Daimler’s India subsidiary - Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, the plant has the capacity to produce 1500 units annually, expandable up to 4,000 a year if and when demand increases.
According to the company, BharatBenz buses manufactured at the Oragadam plant will be front-engined for short distance travel targeting school, staff and tourist transportation.
The premium segment will be addressed with Mercedes-Benz brand, with rear-engine buses for inter-city transportation with FUSO buses also rolling out of the same facility.
“It is a significant occasion for us as we start production of Made in India buses for the Indian market at our Oragadam plant. We see enormous potential for growth in the market as the volume of the Indian market for buses weighing over eight tons is set to double by the year 2020,” said Markus Villinger, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India.
After Monday’s start of production of buses, the DICV plant is the only Daimler trucks plant worldwide to produce trucks, buses and engines with three brands - Mercedes-Benz, BharatBenz and FUSO - under one roof. The bus chassis are being rolled out from the same assembly line as that of BharatBenz trucks.
Daimler had already started to export its bus chassis from India to Egypt in February with an announced intention to add other markets in the future. The localisation levels in the 28 acre facility will be 90% for the BharatBenz brand and 75% for the Mercedes-Benz brands.