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Daimler may export Made-in-India Mercedes cars

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI:

Global automotive giant Daimler is considering plans to export Made-in-India Mercedes cars, its global CEO Ola Kallenius has said. A final go-ahead depends on the financial viability, he added.

Daimler has made India an exclusive sourcing global base for certain key components, as well as new-age software. This is being seen here as a major validation of India’s manufacturing quality.

“I am kind of an India fan. They do a lot of things. In the meantime, some components have actually moved to India permanently for worldwide responsibility. So, this will remain an important part of our engineering effort and where it takes us, I don’t know,” the Daimler CEO said after unveiling the new S-Class limousine in Germany.

He said software is “certainly one of the main areas” where Daimler can grow in India. “And it’s not just vehicle engineering, but also on the IT side. Since many years, it is a ‘solid pillar’ in our house.”

Daimler has two factories in India — while Pune in Maharashtra state houses the plant for Mercedes-Benz cars, the Bharat Benz range of trucks are made in Chennai. The company also has a global R&D and engineering centre in Bangalore.

On export of Mercedes-Benz cars from India, Kallenius said it would be “a purely economic” decision. “If it will make economic sense, we would do so. But that has not been the case up until this point. I don’t know when it would be. If we have to make any decision in that direction, it would come down to the financials,” The Times of India quoted him as saying.

Around two years ago, the company had exported the India-made GLC SUV to the US. It had said then the India plant is a “back-up solution” in case of high global demand.

Asked about low sales of luxury car industry in India, Kallenius said numbers do not do justice to size of the country and strength of the economy and India’s population. “We have a good position in the market, but it feels… that you are shaking a ketchup bottle but the ketchup has not come out yet.”

Last year, Indians bought three million passenger cars, manufactured by over a dozen Indian and foreign companies.

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A ‘phygital’ experience at HSBC Premier Centre in Pelawatte

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With the demographic equation changing and the mass affluent customers now also choosing to live in the suburbs, HSBC is gearing its branches of the periphery of the city to service customers in this segment.

Pelawatte has become the latest HSBC branch to be upgraded to be an exclusive Premier Banking Centre to meet the growing demand of the affluent population in the residential hub of the Colombo metro region.

The newly refurbished Premier Centre was declared open by Mark Prothero, CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives. Also present was Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, together with senior management and staff.

Nadeesha Senaratne, said, “HSBC has established a long history of 128 years in Sri Lanka, and in the past few years we have seen the value of strategically expanding to meet the specific needs of our customers.”

HSBC’s Pelawatte branch was opened in 1998 and is conveniently located at no 418B Battaramulla – Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla which currently serves a diverse portfolio of retail banking customers. With the new improvements undertaken, HSBC hopes to provide customers with an inclusive banking service, and attract potential new customers with its Premier banking proposition and worldwide banking service, within the expanding residential neighborhood.

The Premier Centre in Pelawatte models HSBC’s flagship Premier Centre located in Flower road- Colombo 7, with an expansive ‘open’ space concept for casual open dialog with customers. The space has been optimized to enhance the customer experience by providing a ‘phygital’ banking experience with private meeting rooms specially designed to give customers an exclusive banking service with the assistance of a dedicated Relationship Manager. It also features video conferencing facility, which enables customers to connect with their Premier RM’s internationally, while enjoying the highest standards of privacy. Customers can walk out of the branch with the ‘Bank in their pocket’ by opening an account in less than an hour and begin transacting digitally, almost instantly.

(HSBC)

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SLT & Mobitel successfully conclude digitization of Lankagama Village

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Fulfilling its role as the nation’s pioneer in Telecommunication Services, the SLT Group successfully completed the President’s directive of providing high-speed connectivity solutions to the Lankagama Village recently.

An event was held to mark this proud achievement on 20th September 2020 in the presence of Oshada Senanayake – Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Lalith Seneviratne – Group CEO of SLT & Mobitel, Kiththi Perera- Chief Executive Officer of SLT, M.B.P. Fernandez – Chief Operations Officer of SLT, Prabath Dahanayake – Chief Marketing Officer of SLT, Sudarshana Geeganage – Chief Financial Officer of Mobitel, Shashika Senerath – Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Rasantha Hettithanthrige – Senior General Manager, Engineering & Operations at Mobitel along with SLT & Mobitel technology partners Huawei, ZTE and the community.

The SLT Group provided high-speed 4G/LTE broadband and enhanced voice services within record-time despite the fact that the Lankagama Village is located at the southern boundary of the Sinharaja Rain Forest, in the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat, Galle District; posing severe logistical challenges. Further, the SLT Group also offered SMART classroom solutions consisting of tabs, laptops and school supplies including stationery thereby opening up a world of possibilities for the students in the remote village. (SLT)

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Local tyre manufacturers say ‘no need’ to import motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

Local tyre manufacturers request the government not to import motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres as they have the capacity to supply locally produced premium quality tyres for the segment, without leaving room for any supply shortage in the market.

“We have the combination of quality and technology to meet the demand in the market”, a leading local tyre manufacturer said.

“We have the capacity to meet the local demand for motorcycle and three wheeler tyres and we are already supplying the products to the market, fully meeting its demand,” they said.

“In 2019, Rs. 1,062 million worth motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres and tubes were imported to the country. This means we are able to save Rs. 1,062 million in foreign exchange this year by producing all of these locally”, they pointed out.

“We produce sufficient quantities of high-demand tyres for the local market without any supply shortage. We are supportive of the government’s drive to encourage Sri Lankan companies to manufacture goods that can be manufactured in Sri Lanka. We request the continued support of the government to keep our efforts up in this direction,” they said.”Only a few types of tyres of special sizes are not produced locally. Those products are imported in small numbers. There is lesser demand for these tyres as they are not widely used”, they said.

“Apart from establishing ourselves in the local market, we are in the process of further improving our production capacity to boost our current export volumes. As a result of it, we will be able to create new jobs for thousands of Sri Lankans”. they said.

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