After an “unprecedented” ramp up in seven years since its presence in the country, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) is gearing up to make engines for off-the-highway vehicles, supply trucks for defence and also venture into freight aggregation sector, its MD-CEO Satyakam Arya said on Wednesday.
The current regulations do not allow foreign entities into defence for supply. “But indications are changes are on the cards (by April),” Arya said.
Observing that the commercial vehicle business is cyclical, he said DICV has to look at other business avenues as a de-risking strategy. “It is never too late to do anything new,” was his response to a query on tapping the sub-9 tonne vehicle business. “This is a five lakh trucks market and volume-wise an ideal segment to consider for electrification,” he added.
Incidentally, despite the disruption in the automobile business, the company has managed costs and concentrated on exports. “We have expanded our network 30 per cent, by adding 54 new touchpoints last year. Our aim is to add 25 per cent this year. Truck exports went up by 14 per cent to cross 8,000 units mark,” Arya said noting that the “attack strategy” had paid off with now DICV catering to 53 global markets.
In the domestic market, truck sales dropped to 14,474 units from 22,532 units sold in 2018, which was in line with the 35 per cent drop in industry sales volumes. On the other hand, last year DICV’s bus division logged increased sales numbers - 11 per cent domestic and 56 per cent export markets.
Over 125 million parts, using around 100 suppliers from India, had been sold by DICV. “We have seen 43 per cent growth on this side. We have exported over 13,000 transmissions last year,” he said. Thomas Fricke, MD, Daimler Buses India, said the vertical sold about 7,500 Mercedes Benz buses in 2019.