Familiar with the American FUBU apparel line? The name stands for ‘For Us, By Us.’
Think of BharatBenz as the ‘FIBI’ of big trucks.
For India, By India.
Heavy trucks may not be huge business by volume, but for Daimler, they are some of the most profitable. Among the truck lines owned by Mercedes’ parent company are big names like Mitsubishi Fuso, Wester Star, Thomas Bus Lines, Freightliner and Setra.
The newest kid on the block? BharatBenz — a locally-made and locally-tailored line of trucks both from and for India.
Mercedes engineering and safety foundations are a great shared asset among the group’s market-dominating set of offerings, but often prices the trucks out of consideration for developing economies. At the same time, the heavy truck segment in commodities and infrastructure-intensive places like Chile, Oceana and all of Africa is booming.
Key clients groups or uses include:
infrastructure services and maintenance
Growth is through the roof, but these buyers are often not willing or able to pay for the latest high-speed comfort and safety as offered on the European-bult Daimler trucks.
In addition, import duties make it prohibitively expensive to import a new Mercedes-Benz truck into many markets.
Step in, BharatBenz. The lineup is large with more than five major segments of trucks — from big-rip haulers to dumptruck tippers and everything in between.
The local production and sourcing in India is a huge advantage for competing well in this budding market.
Even more promising is the lower-cost exports that BharatBenz will send to nearly a 100 new markets in the coming years. A lower-speed truck with less comfort features is a willing tradeoff for something that is cheaper, locally-made and still seen to have more Mercedes quality than the Dongfeng and other Chinese brands that are making big strides in market share.
Overall, it seems like a a great strategy. Core functions and capabilities are stronger with Daimler’s help, but things like AC and lane-departure alerts are skipped in favor of ease of use. After all, average speeds in the Indian market for big trucks are something like 30-mph versus almost double that in Europe. Why pay for capability your company does not need?
That’s BharatBenz’s thought exactly.
10,000 BharatBenz trucks have found owners so far in 2014, with double-digit growth targets for the next decade or more. Global reach via the other market-leading Daimler brands means BharatBenz is set to be a big part of the heavy truck industry very soon indeed.