German auto major Daimler AG on Friday announced its entry into the used commercial vehicle (CV) business in India to promote its desi truck brand BharatBenz amid the Covid-19-triggered slowdown in the automobile sector. Its Indian subsidiary Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) announced the launch of BharatBenz Exchange by leveraging its customer base and nation-wide dealer network. The new venture will supplement its existing new vehicle sales model by offering an exchange platform where customers can exchange their used vehicles of any brand for new or used BharatBenz vehicles. DICV said the company was planning to start second shift at its manufacturing plant in Oragadam near Chennai by next week as it is anticipating resuming demand from mining, infrastructure and e-commerce sectors.
At a virtual press meet, DICV MD & CEO Satyakam Arya said the move to enter the used CV market was a step ahead in its India journey, where it has produced 1 lakh trucks and 3,000 buses since 2012. In May, the company signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to invest an additional Rs 2,277 crore to expand production capacity in Chennai and to develop new vehicles.
“As the number of BharatBenz owners rapidly increases, we feel it is the right time to tap the massive potential presented by the used commercial vehicle segment. We look forward to delivering BharatBenz’s superior quality, service and total cost of ownership (TCO) to an even larger customer base,” he said, adding, “the Covid-19 has prompted the company to redraw its priorities in India”. The exchange programme will provide buyers with a carefully picked pool of used trucks that have undergone thorough quality checks and made available via its nationwide dealership network.
The company aims to provide customers with the best resale value and smooth management of the end-to-end documentation process. Experts at BharatBenz will also support used vehicle buyers (both individuals and companies) with a wide range of options suitable to their application. They will provide the right AMC and extended warranty options for their range of refurbished trucks. The team will even assist in identifying the right financing partner. “The company has tied up with banks and NBFCs and help customers of the exchange programme get hassle free financing, which is critical at this time,” Arya said. The company will also be looking at entering the used bus business at a later stage. DICV produces and sells 9 to 55 tonne trucks in India as well as BharatBenz buses, Mercedes-Benz coaches and bus chassis.
Rajaram Krishnamurthy, VP, marketing, sales and customer services, said: “With BharatBenz Exchange, used vehicle sellers and buyers no longer have to haggle over the right price or worry about incomplete paperwork. Our trained experts will ensure that both parties have the best customer experience. We see enormous potential here to show even more customers the quality of BharatBenz products and services. This also ensures the complete lifecycle of the vehicle is taken care of.” DICV is in the process of digitalising services to better promote the used vehicle business. It is also looking for tie-ups with leading online used vehicle platforms and auction houses in order to reach out to a larger customer base.
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