Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) on March 6 laid the foundation stone for a bus-making facility at its existing plant in Oragadam, near Chennai. The new facility will become operational in the second quarter of 2015. It will receive an investment of 50 million (around 425 crore) and will manufacture 1,500 fully built buses a year. “We can scale it up to 4,000 buses a year,” Markus Villinger, head – Daimler Buses India, said. The chassis of the fully built buses – mounted with a front engine and badged as BharatBenz – will be provided by DICV while the body will be built by Wrightbus.
The Daimler group has consolidated all its bus-making facilities at the Oragadam plant. Its existing range of Mercedes Benz with rear engine will also be made near Chennai. “We believe in India. We believe the growth story of India is intact with all those (sluggish market) hiccups we are having now. In the long term, India can grow at 6%,” Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG, board member, responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses, said.
“We will develop a new front engine school and staff bus in partnership with Wrightbus,” Hartmut Schnick, head – Daimler Buses, said. Initially, buses will be made for private purchases and not state transport corporations which are the biggest bus buyers in the country, officials said. The Indian bus market’s size is nearly 40,000 buses a year, which is expected to double in a decade.