Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch over-dimensional-cargo (ODC) vehicles and long-haulage trucks that can carry up to 240 tonnes in India soon.
The company is also bullish on supplying commercial vehicles like trucks to mining and irrigation projects in the country. Currently, this segment contributes close to 15 per cent of the company’s total turnover in India.
Said Wilfried Aulbur, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India: “We are looking at niche segments in India. With luxury car sales plummeting, we are focusing on the commercial vehicles segment very strongly.”
To this effect, Mercedes-Benz will be supplying 250 Actros trucks to Soumya Mining, at a cost of Rs 144 crore. Soumya Mining, which operates a Rs 200-crore business, has Coal India as its largest client. Currently, Soumya operates in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Orissa and Maharashtra.
Actros trucks now operate across 25 mines in seven states. Around 25 per cent of these trucks are assembled and localised in India.
“We are in the process of preparing a proposal for the Ministry of Defence in India to supply some of our vehicles, like G-Wagon and Unimog. Some of our defence sector vehicles were used by the Canadian army to fight the Taliban,” said Aulbur. So far in 2009, the company has sold 127 trucks in India.
The company is also targeting the irrigation segment in Andhra Pradesh and is in talks with contractors for selling its trucks for the purpose.
The company has sold 25 buses to private fleet owners, as well as to the state governments, for inter-city transportation.