Business Times

Daimler-Benz AG eyes future prospects in Sri Lanka

By Bandula Sirimanna

Against the backdrop of the difficult market situation owing to a sudden fuel price hike and the depreciation of the rupee, Daimler-Benz Company plans to sell 20 to 60 of its Mercedes-Benz vans and trucks this year.

Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC (DIMO) agents for the Daimler-Benz company has already received orders for 10 trucks and vans and these vehicles have already shipped to Sri Lanka, said Richard Hall, General Manager Sales and Marketing of South East Asia in an interview with Business Times in Colombo last week.

He noted that his company is optimistic that the country's present economic situation will stabilize within a few months and the tourism industry will pick up creating a demand for Mercedes-Benz vans and luxury buses.

But at the moment the company is concentrating on vans and trucks only, he said. Mr Hall pointed out that the growing fuel crisis is not just a Sri Lankan problem but is hitting countries worldwide. The 'high price shock' at fuel filling stations has also put the brakes on car purchases. But it will eventually settle down in the long run, he said.

He welcomed the Sri Lankan government's action to remove import tax on buses, lorries, trucks and new lorry engines. This will create a better market for trucks which are needed to transport goods, he added. For over 120 years the name Mercedes-Benz has guaranteed trucks of the highest quality and it has factory warranty of two years, he revealed.

Dimo Chief Ranjit Pandithage noted that his company has maintained a relationship with Daimler- Benz during the past seven decades. He said that Dimo provides 24 hour road side assistance with its after sales service. It has fully fledged modern work shop for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in Colombo and a modern state -of -the -art workshop facility outside Colombo for commercial vehicles.

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