Daimler Truck’s Indian Strategy

Although the rapidly expanding Chinese vehicle market is of considerable interest to global vehicle manufacturers, India, too, is a place with tremendous opportunities for growth—assuming that the vehicle manufacturers have good market understanding of what’s required on the ground there. (E.g., although Buick is a big brand in China, in India, well. . . .) What may not be known by many in the U.S., Daimler—as in the company that produces Mercedes-Benz cars—is the world’s largest manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Although the rapidly expanding Chinese vehicle market is of considerable interest to global vehicle manufacturers, India, too, is a place with tremendous opportunities for growth—assuming that the vehicle manufacturers have good market understanding of what’s required on the ground there. (E.g., although Buick is a big brand in China, in India, well. . . .)

What may not be known by many in the U.S., Daimler—as in the company that produces Mercedes-Benz cars—is the world’s largest manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are the things of commerce, construction and development.

So, Dieter Zetsche, once affectionately known in the U.S. as “Dr. Z” when he ran Chrysler, went to India and announced that the company has established an India-specific truck brand in the Daimler Truck portfolio: “We are sending a clear message with our new truck brad: Daimler is at home in India. Our BharatBenz trucks are the right combination of Daimler’s DNA and India’s market know-how. These trucks will be developed and built in India, for India, and by specialist employees from India.”

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Prototype BharatBenz trucks

Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses (here’s an interesting fun fact to be taken into account vis-à-vis his position with big trucks and buses: from 1999 to 2004 he headed smart GmbH, the purveyor of cars that could probably fit inside the cab of a heavy-duty truck), noted, “India’s macroeconomy has been on a growth track over the last years and is estimated to grow between 7 and 8% in the next 10 years. Additionally, India has become the world’s second largest market for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. By 2020, we expect the Indian truck industry to double.”

What’s interesting is that as many vehicle manufacturers try to create “world” products that they can sell everywhere, Daimler is pursuing a specific on-the-ground strategy for development and production.

Bharat, incidentally, is another word for India.