Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) started production at its new plant in Oragadam with its school bus range.

The new plant will manufacture buses with gross vehicle weight of 9, 16 and above 16 ton range. The first to roll off the line was a BharatBenz school bus.

The company currently produces and sells above 9 to 49 tonne trucks for the Indian volume market, under the brand name – BharatBenz.

Under its bus division, Diamler will produce and sell BharatBenz buses and Mercedes-Benz buses from its manufacturing plant at Orgadam. The company is a 100% subsidiary of Daimler AG, Stuttgart, Germany.

“The start of production marks the beginning of another chapter in DICVs success story as it becomes a full-fledged CV manufacturer in the Indian market,” the company said.

The state-of-the-art production plant at Oragadam, near Chennai, spreads over 400 acres (160 hectares). It includes a modern test track designed to simulate Indian conditions – making it one of its kind in Asia. DICV has made an initial investment of 4,400cr and additional 425cr for the bus plant facility (approximately €750 million).

The front-engine buses will be for short distance travel targeting school, staff and tourist transportation. The premium segment will be addressed with Mercedes-Benz rear-engine buses for inter-city transportation.

“The school buses are equipped with the latest safety features. In combination with reliability and low running costs for schools, they are a great choice for operators,” the company said.

Next to the school buses, the BharatBenz will make staff buses for transit of employees.

“The newly developed buses are provided with several features that ensure a smooth ride to office. In addition to this, BharatBenz tourist buses are designed towards high fuel efficiency and low maintenance cost to minimize expenses for operators.”

It will also introduce the new multi-axle coach — the next generation of Mercedes-Benz buses and the first 15m bus in India.

After today’s start of production of buses, the DICV plant is the only Daimler Trucks plant worldwide to produce trucks, buses and engines with three brands – Mercedes-Benz, BharatBenz and FUSO – under one roof.

The bus chassis are rolled out from the same assembly line as that of BharatBenz trucks, as they are technologically similar to the medium-duty BharatBenz trucks.

“This showcases once more the flexibility of DICV’s assembly lines. Before the local bus production started, DICV has already started to export its bus chassis from India to Egypt in February, other markets to follow in future. Because the chassis are technically similar to those of the medium-duty BharatBenz truck, export activities from Chennai started even before the bus plant opened,” it said.

Under the umbrella of Daimler Trucks Asia, DICV and MFTBC (Mitsubishi Trucks and Bus corporation) are optimizing research activities, product development and sourcing. The DICV built FUSO trucks from Oragadam are exported to markets in South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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