Chennai: German auto major Daimler AG on Thursday said it is open to joining hands with France-based auto major Renault and Japan's car maker Nissan to foray into commercial vehicle segment in India.
   
Daimler currently has a global alliance with Renault Nissan to manufacture commercial vehicles serving North America and European markets.
   
"There could be possible alignment in India. Though there are no immediate plans (on signing an agreement with Renault Nissan) right now, we do not rule out any possibility. Our partnership with Renault Nissan is not limited to any region.

Therefore, it could be possible to do something together in India as well," Daimler AG, Board of Management, Chairman Dieter Zetsche told reporters here.
   
Top company officials of Daimler were here for the formal inauguration of their new plant at Oragadam set up at an investment of Rs 4,400 crore.
   
The plant will have a initial capacity of 36,000 units per year and intends to roll out trucks in the range of six tone and 49 tonne capacities.
   
Daimler's new manufacturing plant at Oragadam near Chennai is located opposite to Renault Nissan Automobile India Manufacturing facility.

Regarding the launch of 'Bharat Benz' range of trucks from the Oragadam plant, Llistosella said production would begin from the third quarter of this year.
   
Asked about their exports of Bharat Benz trucks, Daimler Board of Management,Member and Daimler Trucks and Buses-Head, Andreas Renschler said they were looking at shipping of the trucks to South Africa, Middle East and Far Eastern markets.
  
"Right now our purpose is to serve the Indian market. From 2013, we are looking at exporting to some countries in Africa, Middle East and also in the Far Eastern markets", he said.
  
On whether the company can manufacture buses from Bharat Benz platform, Zetsche did not rule out the possibility, saying, "Yes. it is possible to produce front engine buses like front engine trucks."
   
Llistosella said the company would have a product portfolio of 17 Bharat Benz range of trucks by 2014 and they have aimed to target 20 percent market share by 2020.
   
He said the company would "double" its employee base from the present 1480 in the next two years. The company plans to have about 70 dealerships in 12 States and plans to take it upto 110 in the next two years.

Jayalalithaa said her government was currently finalising a set of policy reforms and the "new Industrial Policy 2012" would accelerate the pace of growth of the manufacturing sector to 14 percent.
  
"Our government will soon announce, industry-specific policies for automobiles and the auto components industry, biotechnology, the aerospace industry and renewable energy with special focus on solar power generation", she said.
  
India was the world's second fastest growing auto market and boasts of the sixth largest automobile industry after China, the US, Germany, Japan and Brazil, she said.
  
With increasing industrial production and growing spending power of Indian middle class households, the country was expected to make it to the top five markets in the cars and commercial vehicles segment by 2020, she said, adding, "within India, Chennai is emerging as Asia's Automobile Capital City".
  
Noting Chennai has emerged as India's largest automobile and auto components manufacturing and exporting hub in the country, she said "with six major car projects namely, Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi-HM, Chennai is now emerging as one of the top 10 global automobile manufacturing centres".
   
Chennai would have an installed capacity to produce 1.3 million cars and about 3,60,000 commercial vehicles each year, Jayalalithaa said."This translates to an output of three cars every minute and one commercial vehicle every 75 seconds", she added.

(Agencies)