The automobile giant Mercedes Benz,on Friday,launched its City Bus in Chakan. After introducing 2-axle and 3-axle coaches in India in 2008,the launch of the low entry City Bus is a first for the German car maker. The bus had its first on road trials in the city in 2011.
Hartmut Schick,head of Daimler buses,said at the launch,We are the largest manufacturer of low entry buses the world over. The Indian bus market is the second largest in the world with 46,000 buses sold in 2011. There is a huge potential for this market in India as the growth in population has continuousy increased the need to provide better transportation and mobility.
The bus market in India is only second to China and is twice the size of the European bus market. The City Bus,which costs Rs 90 lakh will be manufactured at the Chakan plant wherein Mercedes Benz India will be making them in partnership with MCV (Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles),an Egyptian manufacturer of buses. The total investment is Rs 50 crore.
Schick said the facility would be able to roll out 900 buses annually. However,the buses will start rolling out only after the orders for them have been placed by customers. He also added that they are primarily looking at the State Transport Authorities across India to place orders. Head of Daimler Buses India Markus Villinger feels that the Bus Rapid Transit System will become the mainstay of major cities in India.
The bus as of now has a seating capactiy of 37 passengers and has a completely automated transmission system. For cities like Mumbai and Delhi,which are potential markets for the City Bus,Villinger said that they are ready to even incorporate CNG engines as is the requirement in these cities.
The City Bus will be retailed directly through Mercedes Benz India that has set up a separate sales team,while servicing will be at 11 national dealerships.