Last week Daimler inaugurated his new 160 ha manufacturing plant in Oragadam near Chennai, by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Selvi J. Jayalalithaa together with Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG.

The plant is one of only three Daimler truck plants worldwide to combine truck assembly and components production at one location. Also, it is the third largest Daimler Truck plant, outside Germany. With it is first-ever truck “Made in India”, BharatBenz will enter the promising Indian market for medium heavy-duty and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Start of production of the BharatBenz heavy-duty trucks are scheduled for the 3rd quarter of 2012.

The Oragadam plant will produce the versatile BharatBenz product range for the Indian volume market. The BharatBenz heavy-duty truck is built on the Mercedes-Benz Axor platform, while the light- and medium-duty trucks are based on the Fuso Canter series. All trucks are robust vehicles for the modern domestic segment, which illustrates the consistently increasing demands of the Indian customers. To ensure maximum reliability of the trucks, they have been over 4 million kilometers of intensive testing on the test track in Oragadam and have been assessed under the most strenuous driving conditions.

On the sidelines of the plant inauguration Andreas Renschler, responsible for Daimler Trucks flagged off the BharatBenz Power Yatra. The BharatBenz Power Yatra showcases the best of BharatBenz Trucks – between 6 and 31 tonne LDT and HDT models. The convoy will cover over 7,000 kilometers in over two months across different terrains and road conditions to showcase reliability and durability to potential customers across the country.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles cooperates with over 450 suppliers for the new BharatBenz Truck production. Marc Llistosella, CEO of DICV emphasized at the plant inauguration: “Our focus on localization has resulted in more than 40 percent of our suppliers being located within a 40-kilometer radius of the plant. Overall our BharatBenz trucks will have a localization rate of 85 percent in India.”

In cooperation with local car and commercial vehicle dealers, DICV has built up a nationwide retail network in the last month. He will encompass around 70 locations by the end of the year. By 2014 the retail network will be expanded to more than 100 dealerships. Daimler Financial Services will offer financing and insurance products for dealers and customers in support of BharatBenz vehicle sales.

Pictures: MB Passion