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Merc gung-ho about south

Written by: Staff
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Chennai, Mar 25 (UNI) German auto major DaimlerChrysler is upbeat on south, which accounts for 25 per cent of its total sales.

Unveiling the latest edition of the S-Class and M-Class vehicles for the first time in the South Indian market at the Mercedes-Benz brand showcase here today, DaimlerChrysler India Managing Director and CEO Wilfried Aulbur said west accounted for 30 per cent of the sales, while 25 per cent of the sales came from south. Mercedes-Benz was available in 24 cities across India.

The 'C-Class' brand recorded ''a strong sales'' in Bangalore and south continued to remain an important market, he said adding the company's customer base was growing younger in terms of the average age of ownership.

Information technology boom in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad had done its part and DaimlerChrysler saw its growth prospects in the tier II cities like Kochi, Coimbatore, Madurai as ''developing very fast.'' Globally, five lakh units had been sold and in 2005, 2,019 cars had been sold in India, inclusive of 829 C-Class, 825 E-Class, 144 S-Class mercedes-Benz cars. In February alone, 137 cars had been sold, he added.

Dr Aulbur said the customised 'Maybach' witnessed a ''little sluggish'' growth world-over but expected 2006 to be quite a good year for this model, priced at Rs 5.25 crore.

The company was also looking at foraying into the bus segment in India, he said in response to a query, indicating the entry into the commercial vehicle segment to be in this year.

Since DaimlerChrysler entry into the country in the nineties, the compounded annual growth rate was 17 per cent, which it was confident of maintaining or outperforming, he said.

So far, the auto major had sold 15,000 vehicles in India.

Later, Dr Aulbur said export was done to neighbouring countries from India. Its component engineering service in IT, located in Pune was a global sourcing point.

For the C-Class model, 50 per cent was the localisation component, he said adding India was the biggest export hub for South East Asia.

Whether the company was thinking of making hydrogen cars, he said ''we believe in diesel technology very strongly. It is the fastest solution to CO2 emissions.'' DaimlerChrysler engaged around 300 people in its Bangalore R and D centre, out of which, activities like engineering service, product data management, battery modelling and physical systems for fuel testing were carried out.

To another query, Dr Aulbur said vehicle financing was to the tune of 70 to 80 per cent for the Mercedes-Benz range of cars.

UNI HV KVV 1700

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