The plant is one of only three Daimler truck plants worldwide to combine truck assembly and components production at one location. The total investment of for the almost 400-acre manufacturing site is 44 billion Indian rupees (more than $900 million) including the manufacturing facility for BharatBenz brand trucks as well as research and development.
The start of production of the BharatBenz heavy-duty trucks are scheduled already for the third quarter of 2012. While some BharatBenz truck models are based on the Mercedes-Benz Axor platform, others are built on the Fuso Canter series. The plant in Chennai has an initial production capacity of 36,000 units per year and is designed to allow an increase up to more than 70,000 commercial vehicles per year.
"Our new Oragadam-Chennai plant shares Daimler's stringent quality standards with its sister plants around the world and is unique at the same time," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. " It is the only Daimler plant in the world that houses products which combine Indian engineering with German and Japanese DNA under a single roof. This way, we are optimally positioning ourselves for one of the world's strongest and fastest-growing truck markets."
BharatBenz trucks are vehicles for the modern domestic segment, which currently accounts for 4% of all trucks in India. However, this figure is expected to rise to almost 80% by 2020. With a product portfolio of 17 BharatBenz commercial vehicles by 2014, DICV is preparing for the promising Indian truck market, which has developed into the world's third largest market, with a volume of more than 330,000 vehicles in the weight classes of 11,000 to more than 100,000 pounds in 2011.
The plant's force is primarily Indian and includes more than 1,400 employees. A focus on localization has resulted in more than 40% of suppliers being located within a 25 mile radius of the plant. Overall, BharatBenz trucks will have a localization rate of 85% in India.