Truck maker Daimler AG’s India arm hasn’t ruled out the light commercial vehicles segment though it isn’t part of its original plan.
“No plans so far for LCV (light commerical vehicles),” said Marc Llistosella, MD and CEO of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles. But “we are investigating very carefully on what’s happening in LCV,” he said.
Set to launch its trucks under the Bharat Benz brand in the second half of calendar year 2012, Daimler has opted for the 6-49 tonne segment comprising of heavy commercial vehicles, tippers, mixers and tractor trailers. It is thus not immediately playing in the mass light commercial vehicle category, where the likes of Tata Ace and Mahindra Maxximo play. Ashok Leyland, in a tie-up with Nissan, recently entered the LCV space as well.
Llistosella said, “There (in LCV) the thing is you need a minimum 100,000 units, otherwise you should stop. Because it is mass market.” He said, “There is not a lot of brand, specifics. You want to be premium there, then I would say what kind of premium you expect. The premium of what 1 percent? Good luck. Or how do you want to differentiate? If you just want to come with a me-too, forget it. There are enough me-toos on the roads.”
Also, he said, “We have to very aware that in very light duties, the Chinese are also very good. Chinese are producing 1.5 million light duty trucks (annually). So they have capacity and flood us with the market if they have problem.”
According to Crisil reserach, LCV sales will grow faster than the heavy commerical vehicles with an evolving hub-and-spoke model. A majority of the Rs 8,400 crore investment into the industry slated for the medium-term will go into LCV.