The Chinese company has been eyeing the Indian commercial vehicle market the second largest in Asia after Beiqi Foton had set up a plant in Pune in Maharashtra, while another player, Jianghuai Automobile Co Ltd (JAC), is also planning to tap the potential of the commercial vehicle market. An email sent to the Marion Wu, international business manager at Norinco Group, the holding company of BeiBen Trucks, on the finer details on the India strategy, remained unanswered. For years, various Chinese auto companies have been vying for a slice of the Indian market. SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC), one of the largest automakers, is already selling its cars and vans in the domestic market with its local partner General Motors India, while another entity, Great Wall Motors, is planning to debut its sports utility vehicles Haval H5 with product clinics already under way for Indian customers.
With a fair acceptance for the SAIC products in India, other companies are also getting ready to take the plunge. Analysts say with growth tapering off in the home market, Chinese companies are venturing into fast growing overseas markets like India. \"China\'s commercial vehicle market has already touched maturity and we see some sort of a stabilisation with almost no, or negligible, growth in the next 4-5 years. On the other hand, since India exemplifies a decent potential on the back of local consumption coming from planned urbanisation and infrastructure within the country, many Chinese truck OEMs want to set up shop in India,\" said Amit Kaushik, principal analyst (Autos) at IHS Automotive, a global consultancy firm. Chinese companies are increasingly focusing on the Indian market with the advantages of similar product range and affordable price options. Beiqi Foton, a government-owned automaker, is also setting up its commercial vehicles facility at Khed near Pune with a cumulative investment of Rs 1,676 crore, while Great Wall Motors, China\'s eighth-largest carmaker, is planning to debut its contemporary sporty utility vehicle Haval H5 model, which is the fastest growing segment in India.
BeiBen is part of the Norinco Group of Inner Mongolia China and had emerged from its joint venture with Mercedes Benz many years back. Its vast range of heavyduty trucks, developed in technical collaboration with Mercedes Benz, are well known in China for sturdiness and reliability and have played a crucial role in the modernisation of the country. According to its global website, BeiBen long-range trucks are widely used in industries and sectors such as aviation, railways, highways, harbours, petroleum, chemicals, water & electricity, forests, fire fighting, banks, and the company also exports them to emerging markets like South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Libya, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Syria. Though not much has been revealed about the products scheduled for India, sources in the automobile industry say the company plans to undertake customer surveys in major Indian cities by showing details of its vehicles through computer generated slides.