Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), which sells the BharatBenz brand of trucks and buses in the country, has emerged from the pandemic with verve. It has posted strong growth in its truck sales in the last two quarters of 2020, clearly outperforming its rivals Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland.

The company’s market share (in the above 9-tonne segment) has seen a big jump to 9.1 per cent in 2020 from 5.8 per cent in 2019, spurred by good response to its BS-VI vehicles.

Though the company ended 2020 with a decline of 34 per cent in its truck sales (above-9 tonne) at 9,624 units as compared to 14,474 units in 2019, its performance was far better than the industry, which registered a contraction of 60 per cent.

BS-VI boost

“Despite the economic downturn, BharatBenz has almost doubled its share of market since the introduction of BS-VI,” Satyakam Arya, MD and CEO, DICV, told BusinessLine . “Even though the market dropped 60 per cent, we only dropped 34 per cent in 2020. Additionally, we celebrated several key milestones such as 100,000 BharatBenz trucks on Indian roads and the export of over 35,000 CVs and 150 million parts.”

While most of the CV players reported a decline in volumes during the September 2020 quarter, DICV came out of the decline phase early, by recording growth during the period.

In the December 2020 quarter, its peers too moved to the growth lane.

DICV’s truck volumes in the December 2020 quarter grew 46 per cent at 3,528 units, against 2,413 units in the year-ago quarter, while the incoming order number in Q4 of 2020 was significantly higher at 3,738 units, as compared to 1,516 units.

In the September 2020 quarter, DICV’s total truck volumes grew 5 per cent at 2,817 units (2,672 units).

“We have been seeing recovery in the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle segment since September 2020. The demand is coming from segments like construction and e-commerce. Given the current environment, people are increasingly switching to online buying for essential goods and even for limited discretionary spending in lieu of the pandemic. We have also seen support from towns and rural India as agriculture did well last year,” Arya said.

Commercial vehicle makers including DICV expect the current quarter to be better year-on-year due to the base effect and improving demand across segments such as tippers and tractor trailers.

Budget measures

Also, several Budget measures are also expected to drive demand. “With the strong infrastructure push in the latest Budget, we expect the growth momentum to pick up in the next few quarters,” said TT Srinivasaraghavan, Managing Director, Sundaram Finance, a leading player in the truck lending space.