Mercedes-Benz launches City Bus C125 RLE in India

Daimler is on a roll in India. Close on the heels of unveiling an entire range of light and heavy trucks under its India-specific 'BharatBenz' brand, Mercedes-Benz launched its City Bus, the C125 RLE, in Pune on March 09, 2012. Not very long ago, Mercedes-Benz entered the luxury inter-city bus segment with its 2-axle and 3-axle coaches built by Sutlej that were pretty successful in eating into the market-share of Volvo. To extend its reach and appeal, Mercedes-Benz is now channeling its efforts to the luxury intra-city segment. Again, Volvo is ruling the roost here, making a mockery of whatever little the competition has on offer and setting the benchmark for public transportation in every major city in India. It is this lucrative space that Mercedes-Benz is targeting with the City Bus.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the City Bus creates a new benchmark in India with its striking exteriors, spacious and comfortable interiors, a fuel efficient Euro-IV compliant engine with BlueTec diesel technology and stringent production quality matching to the global standards. Highlights of the City Bus include a wheel-chair ramp for aiding passengers with restricted mobility, high-comfort cushioning in the seats, multiple mobile charging points, a thoughtful and ergonomically convenient driver's cabin, proven and robust OM 926 Diesel engine with 252 hp of power, state-of-the-art air suspension, high fuel efficiency and long maintenance intervals. MCV, the global body-building partner of Mercedes-Benz has setup shop in India too, inside the company's sprawling premises at Chakan, Pune.

Speaking on the occasion, the newly-appointed Head of Daimler Buses India, Mr. Markus Villinger, said “India is a fascinating market and there is a rising demand for robust, reliable and efficient city bus transportation. Our City Bus is designed to fulfill these requirements. I am extremely excited to be part of this growth story and hope together we can realize our ambition to make more people in India 'Travel with the Star'." Indicating the high focus for the Indian market, Mr. Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses, commented, “Our 2-axle and 3-axle buses have been very well received in the Indian market. Our foray into city buses will now enable more and more people to ‘Travel with the Star’." The base version of the Mercedes-Benz City Bus is priced at INR 9,000,000 ex-factory Pune.

Though they are new to this segment in India, Mercedes-Benz is one of the largest bus manufacturers in the world with a dominant presence across the globe, especially in Europe. With its experience, Mercedes-Benz will be hoping to end the monopoly of Volvo in India. Just like the standards of public transportation improved with the arrival of Volvo a decade back, we expect some further improvements with the advent of global competition, starting with Mercedes-Benz. Ultimately, it is us, the Indian public, who are benefited as a result. It is high time the domestic majors Tata and Ashok Leyland pull up their socks to avoid being left behind in what we foresee as the future of India's intra-city public transportation. Over to BMTC and KSRTC to set the trend, as always!

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