Chennai: Looking beyond rolling out trucks and buses, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles is planning to make engines for off-the-highway vehicles, supply trucks for defence and also venture into freight aggregation sector, said a top company official on Wednesday.

Managing Director & CEO Satyakam Arya also told reporters that when domestic truck sales were down, the company remained in black by managing costs and increasing exports,

The company has its plant near here rolling out Bharat Benz trucks and Mercedes Benz buses.

"We produce six cylinder and four cylinder engines. We have started talking with potential customers (off-the-highway vehicle makers). Similarly, we are looking at supplying 4x4 trucks to Indian defence sector," he said.

Off-the-highway vehicles are earth moving machines like dumpers, loaders and others and the vehicle makers buy engines from others.

Arya said the Indian government has to change a rule permitting foreign owned companies to supply trucks to the defence sector, and is likely to be changed soon.

As regards the freight aggregation business, he said talks are on with some as the sector is seeing entry of several players.

He said the commercial vehicles business is cyclical and the company has to look at other business avenues.

Agreeing that the small goods carrier segment offers good volume for any new entrant, Arya added this would be ideal segment for electrification.

Dwelling on DICV's performance in 2019, he said that in the domestic market, truck sales dropped to 14,474 units from 22,532 units sold in 2018 which was in line with the 35 per cent drop in industry sales volumes.

The company increased exports of its trucks by 14 per cent to over 8,000 units, transmissions about 13,000 units and also components last year, Arya said.

On the other hand, last year DICV's bus division logged increased sales numbers - 11 per cent domestic and 56 per cent export markets.

According to Thomas Fricke, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India, the company sold about 7,500 Mercedes Benz buses in 2019.

Fricke said the company has started supplying to State Transport Corporations also.

He said in 2020, the company expects to clock similar numbers.