Following the market launch of its heavy-duty trucks two weeks ago, Daimler Trucks subsidiary Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has now started production of medium-duty trucks (9 and 12 tons).

The BharatBenz vehicles are manufactured at the Chennai plant in Southern India, which was opened in April of this year.

"The start of production of our new BharatBenz vehicles is right on schedule for our truck model offensive in India. Along with our Indian heavy-duty vehicles, these trucks, which are based on the successful Fuso Canter and Fighter platforms, represent another step in the implementation of our multi-brand modular strategy," said Daimler trucks and buses chief Andreas Renschler.

The Indian brand's heavy-duty models are based on the Mercedes-Benz Axor but have been completely redeveloped for India, as have the the Fuso-based medium-duty models.

BharatBenz products have local content of 85%. By 2014, DICV aims to have launched 17 truck models weighing between 7 and 49 tons. The vehicles are especially designed to suit India where demand for high-quality yet economical trucks will increase.

Marc Llistosella, managing director and CEO of DICV, said: "Rising fuel costs are becoming an issue in India which is why truck customers want vehicles that are fuel-efficient as well as reliable and robust. Overall, our product range offers the best total cost of ownership."

The medium-duty BharatBenz trucks can be used for a wide variety of applications. The vehicles that are primarily used at construction sites or for distribution transportation have an engine output of 140 hp or 170 hp and can also be fitted with refrigeration bodies supplied by body manufacturers. They are at least 10% more fuel-efficient than comparable products offered in India.

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