The head of DaimlerChrysler's Indian operation has let slip further details of the automaker's local production plans.

Managing director and CEO Wilfried Aulbur said during a car launch at the weekend that the automaker had acquired 100 acres of land in the western city of Pune and would commission a EUR50m plant by 2009, according to Reuters.

Aulbur was quoted as saying the plant could build 5,000 passenger cars a year, 1,000 above current capacity at a rented plant in Pune, from which operations would be shifted.

"We expect the luxury car segment to grow in the near future with incomes growing and the new plant will help us in this growth," Aulbur told the news agency.

Reuters said DaimlerChrysler sold 1,681 units in India from January to August, up 22% year on year, and has a 0.3% share of India's passenger car market.

Aulbur also told Reuters his company would assemble heavy trucks in the existing plant by the end of the year and luxury buses from next year.

Last June, just-auto reported DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz truck assembly plan in India, after it received a no-objection certificate from top local truck maker, Tata Motors, in which Daimler owns 6.8%.

This procedure was necessary if a foreign company with an equity stake greater than 3% in a local firm company wanted to start its own operations.

"DaimlerChrysler plans not only to import complete vehicles but to assemble semi-knocked down Mercedes-Benz trucks in India in the near future," the automaker said at the time.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more