Daimler India to enter LCV market; may come out with electric versions, too

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Chennai-based commercial vehicle maker Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) is closely studying sub-9-tonne vehicles, including the electric versions, and will announce the details by March.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Germany-based Daimler AG, DICV makes the BharatBenz brand of commercial vehicles (CVs) and buses above 9.55 tonne, and is now planning to introduce light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the Indian market.

“It (LCV) is definitely a segment of interest to us. We are studying it closely and can enter that segment with a feasible product and technology, which could also bring a good differentiation to the market,” Satyakam Arya, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, DICV, told BusinessLine recently.

“One of the points we will have to keep in mind is that this segment is the first among the CV space which can go for e-mobility. So we will have to see how that transition will happen and what is interesting to us.”

Buses vs trucks

Many leading companies in India including Tata Motors or Ashok Leyland have shown interest in electric trucks, but they are more focussed on e-buses right now, supplying these to various States governments.

When any company shifts to e-mobility, it becomes a new level playing field for everyone, said Arya. “The manufacturers who were already there with diesel would also need (to) transition (to electric), and (so) for any new player who wants to enter the segment. So, we are definitely studying that, and it’s of high interest to us,” he added.

He further said Daimler is right now preparing a picture of future mobility for India in the CV market, and LCV is part of that. LCV is the largest segment in the CV market, with more than a 50 per cent share.

“We believe that since (migration to) BS-VI is done, we should now prepare for the next steps ahead. And, the next steps are not just planning on diesel and better emission, but carbon-neutral mobility. So, by the end of March next year, we will have a picture ready and will announce the same,” said Arya without divulging more details.

Dealership expansion

Among other expansion proposals, Arya said, the company plans to have at least 350 dealerships pan-India by 2022. It had ended last year with 230 touchpoints and expects to end this one with over 250.

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