It takes at least seven years to switch to new emission norms globally, but in India it is happening in much lesser time, Fricke said. The advantage of this is that the period of amortisation of investment will be shorter compared to other markets. The challenge, however, is pricing post BS-VI, which will dampen the demand for some time.
He expects the pre-buy demand will push the demand, but could not put any number on demand increase or price increase. Localisation of technology and solutions are important to address the cost increase and to be competitive. Today, the localisation is up to 95 per cent and this would continue post BS-VI also, he said.
Queried whether Daimler trucks will have a cost advantage, compared to Indian OEMs, considering the company already got the technology globally, he said price not only depends on technology but also involves features of the vehicle.
“BS-VI is an excellent opportunity for us to further lead the shift in India’s bus market towards global standards. Our aim is clear: we want to offer the best BS-VI product package available in the Indian market,” Fricke said. The firm is planning to focus on the preparations to upgrade to the BS-VI standard its entire portfolio, including BharatBenz 9-tonne buses in the school, staff and tourist bus sub segments, Mercedes-Benz 15-meter multi-axle luxury coaches and bus chassis for the 9, 16 and 24-tonne segments.
Fricken said 2018 was another good year for Daimler Buses India as domestic sales rose by 72 per cent to 1,555 units. Within three years after launch, Daimler has grown to become the fifth-largest individual market for Daimler Buses on the global scale.
In India, the company’s sales of buses, luxury coaches and chassis grew by more than 70 per cent to 1,555 units (2017: 906 units), while exports saw an increase of more than 50 per cent to 616 units (2017: 405 units). Exports of Daimler Buses India have reached a cumulative volume of more than 1,200 units already since the start of the business.
Today, 13 markets in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and South East Asia are being catered by Daimler Buses in India.