German truck major MAN AG has ambitious plans for India

Its not only passenger car majors who have major plans for India; the country is expected to see considerable investments in the commercial vehicle front as well. One of the foreign players who  is looking towards garnering a larger share of this pie is Germany's MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG, Europe's third-largest truck maker, who has major plans for the country.

The company, through its existing 30 per cent joint venture MAN Force Trucks, is looking to increase its current sales of 800 vehicles in the last 18 months by a factor of at least eight this year, aiming  for a total sales volume of 6,800 vehicles. It hopes to reach its rated production capacity of 24,000 units per annum in three-four years, with half the production earmarked for exports.

India's medium and heavy vehicle market, the sector where the company operates, stands at about 271,000 vehicles currently on an annual basis. Including light commercial vehicles, this figure increases to 486,000. MAN Force Trucks makes 40-tonne and 49-tonne haulage trucks and 25-tonne tippers at a plant in Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh.

Now MAN wants to expand its product range in India beyond the vehicles manufactured by the joint venture. It has announced a fully-owned subsidiary in India, MAN Truck and Bus India Pvt. Ltd,based out of Mumbai, which will import completely built speciality trucks such as fire tenders, military vehicles and heavy-haulage lorries.

''These are trucks that are not in the portfolio of the joint venture,'' said Abhay Firodia, chairman and managing director of Force Motors.

The market size for such trucks is about 60,000 to70,000 vehicles a year, according to Franz-Xaver Polster, managing director of MAN Truck and Bus. While the company did not specify the price, these trucks are sold at about €100,000 (Rs64 lakh) in Germany. In India, the trucks would attract combined duties of 35 per cent, Polster said.