Mercedes Benz India to get into city bus market, compete with Volvo

Chennai, June 3 (IANS) Mercedes Benz India, which ventured into the long distance luxury bus segment, will soon get into the city bus market, a top company official said Thursday. Mercedes Benz will be competing with Volvo that has made inroads into the city transport segment with its air conditioned buses.

‘We are looking at city bus segment with low foot boards. There will be price difference between the long distance luxury buses and the buses to be supplied for city transport. The price will be competitive,’ Wilfried Aulbur, managing director of the Germany-based Daimler group’s Indian subsidiary, told reporters here.

Aulbur expects the company to log double digit growth this calendar year in the luxury bus segment.

‘We have sold 43 luxury coaches, two and three axles put together, till date,’ he said, declining to share the current year’s target.

In India, Mercedes Benz sells two and three axle luxury coaches.

‘The two axle is priced at Rs.74 lakh and the three axle is Rs.92 lakh,’ Aulbur said.

Aulbur was here to hand over the keys of two buses to city-based tour operator Parveen Travels.

‘On a single shift basis we can assemble 1,200 luxury bus chassis and engines, both imported, at our Pune plant. We expect the 1,000 units per annum market to grow 15-20 percent over the next 10 years,’ he added.

Asked about the possiblity of sourcing engines from a group company that is setting up a truck plant near here, he said: ‘There is a possibility. But I cannot comment anything now.’

According to Srinivas Chilukuri, general manager, the Daimler group commands 13 percent market share in the 250,000 units per annum eight tonne gross vehicle weight (GVW) bus segment globally, followed by India’s Ashok Leyland.

The company is investing Rs.200 crore across the country in upgrading the infrastructure of its dealers and service stations, Aulbur told IANS.

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