The world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, Daimler, is participating in IAA Commercial Vehicles 2010 with three great brands, numerous innovations, and more than 60 trucks, vans, and buses. Following the steep decline of the global market in 2009, this year’s IAA marks a positive turning point for Daimler, as sales at Daimler Trucks were around one-third higher through August 2010 than in the same period last year. The biggest growth was posted in Latin America (+68%), Indonesia (+76%), and Eastern Europe (+129%), although sales in the latter region rose from a very low level.
Says Andreas Renschler, Daimler Board of Management Member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses: “These figures make us optimistic. Our incoming orders for August (ytd) are up by 65% – this shows that the figures are not a temporary phenomenon.” Renschler expects Daimler Trucks to once again post around one billion euros in earnings before taxes in 2010.
Daimler also expects global truck markets to strengthen further by the end of the year. Here, it forecasts growth of five to 10% in Europe, 10 to 15% in the NAFTA region and approximately 20 to 30% in Japan.
In 2009, the commercial vehicle industry suffered a global sales decline of 50% on average, with growth being recorded only in China and a few other emerging markets. During this period, Daimler’s commercial vehicle division benefited from its long-term Global Excellence Program, which not only proactively addresses market cycles, but also exploits market potential worldwide, systematically gears future product generations toward meeting customer needs, and creates synergy effects and economies of scale.
High growth rates in BRIC and Next 11 countries
The general upswing in commercial vehicle sales is mainly the result of growth in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and in the so-called Next 11 countries, which are Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Between August 2009 and August 2010, Daimler Trucks managed to boost its sales by 64% in the BRIC countries and by an even more spectacular 75% in the Next 11 countries. In total, sales in these countries rose by 71% and they accounted for almost 40% of total sales at Daimler Trucks (full-year 2009: 30%).
Economies of scale achieved through joint ventures with regional partners
Daimler Trucks has established various joint ventures in the BRIC countries to enable it to penetrate new markets. A 50:50 joint venture with China’s fastest growing truck manufacturer, Beiqui Foton (sales in 2009: 82,234 heavy-duty trucks), is currently being established in China, which now accounts for nearly half of all sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks worldwide. The Chinese authorities are expected to approve the production of a joint truck sometime within the next few months. Once it is obtained, the Foton brand Auman will be able to commence manufacturing operations, using engine technology from Daimler.
In 2009, Daimler had already established Daimler India Commercial Vehicles to manufacture trucks for the Indian volume market. A truck production plant is currently being built in Chennai, and prototype trucks are undergoing trials on a company-owned test track. The first truck of a new brand will be introduced to the Indian market in two years.
Two further joint ventures are being operated in Russia with the truck manufacturer and local market leader Kamaz. The objective of the “Fuso Kamaz Trucks Rus” joint venture is the production and sale of the Fuso Canter light truck, which has been on sale in Russia since April 2010. The second joint venture, “Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok”, will begin assembling Actros truck models at the Kamaz plant in Chelny in the second half of 2010.
On the other side of the world, Mercedes-Benz do Brasil has invested €460 million to increase the production capacity of its plant in Sao Bernado do Campo by 15%. In addition, the company is preparing the facility in Juiz de Fora to produce commercial vehicles so that it can start assembling the Mercedes-Benz Actros in 2011.
Daimler Trucks’ involvement in emerging markets is part of its long-term globalization strategy, which is already having an impact on sales. In a few years time, when the two new brands are established in China and India and additional production capacity has been created, Daimler Trucks will be able to exploit the sales potential of the volume segments in these markets.
IAA: Joint Presentation of Daimler Brands
At the 63rd IAA in Hanover, Daimler is for the first time ever presenting the three brands Mercedes-Benz, Fuso, and Setra jointly at its stand, which covers approximately 13,000 m² in Hall 14/15. The strategy that links the presentation of the individual brands is the global corporate initiative “Shaping Future Transportation,” which focuses on the areas of safety, environmental friendliness, and individual customer utility. More than 60 trucks, vans, and buses are being presented at the stand. Through this approach, the leading global manufacturer of commercial vehicles is also embodying the slogan of this year’s IAA: “Commercial vehicles – efficient, flexible, future-proof.”
Making this slogan effective on the market requires globally operating networks in the areas of development, production, sales, and service. Put simply, this means operating as globally as possible and as locally as necessary. According to Andreas Renschler, companies that work together with the right partners will be successful in the commercial vehicle business in the long run. Today, the broad spectrum of Daimler Trucks’ brands and products enables the company to achieve greater synergies than any other manufacturer. “We currently anticipate a shared-part rate of up to 70%,” says Andreas Renschler. “That includes not only engines, transmissions, and axles but also the electronics architecture.”
Environmentally friendly drive system technology, from the hybrid to the fuel cell
The Global Hybrid Center in Japan is a well-established example of Daimler Trucks’ worldwide cross-brand development organization. Here, at a central location with local application centers in the triad, the developers are researching environmentally friendly technologies for the Group’s brands. The most recent result of their work is the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid, the first series-produced European hybrid truck. This vehicle, which consumes up to 15% less fuel than comparable models, is one of the highlights of the IAA in Hanover. Other examples of alternative drive systems at the Daimler stand include the Fuso Canter Eco-Hybrid, almost 1,000 units of which have already been sold to customers, and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter LGT with a natural gas drive, which is being presented to the public for the first time in Hanover.
The next stage of development will be devoted to vehicles that release no emissions where they are used, thanks to fuel cell and battery electric drive systems. Daimler is a pioneer in this field as well, as it is demonstrating at the IAA with no less than three vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is already in small-batch production in Mannheim. The first 100 units of the new Vito E-CELL are already being driven by customers, and they will be followed by 2,000 additional Vito E-CELL vehicles starting in 2011. The concept car of the Fuso Canter E-CELL is making its debut at the auto show. Fuso is using this concept car to gather initial customer responses, with a view to the possible development of a series-produced model.
Andreas Renschler, the Daimler Board of Management member responsible for the Trucks and Bus division, believes that from our present perspective fuel cell technology is the only type of drive system that can guarantee long-distance zero-emission transport in everyday operation. Convincing proof of that is provided by Daimler’s fuel-cell buses, which have already proved themselves in practice in their third stage of development as fuel-cell hybrid buses.
Efficient and safe: customized commercial vehicles for Daimler customers
At the IAA, which is the most important mobility, transport, and logistics show for the sector, Daimler Trucks is underscoring its Shaping Future Transportation initiative by presenting alternative drive systems and key milestones for individual customer utility. That’s because the purchase price of trucks, vans, and buses represents only part of their total cost. The operating costs of a commercial vehicle account for approximately 90% of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). And this is where the diverse customized services of Daimler Trucks come into play – for example, Charterway and the FleetBoard telematics service.
The figures demonstrate how important these services are for commercial vehicle customers. For example, services already account for one fourth of Daimler Trucks’ revenues, and that figure is increasing. They are expected to account for 50% of the division’s revenues in 2030.
Another component of Shaping Future Transportation is the development of safety systems. One such system that was recently developed in the area of active safety is Active Brake Assist, which automatically initiates a braking maneuver if there is a risk of a rear collision with a slower-moving vehicle ahead. The system was introduced in heavy-duty trucks in 2006, and today it is also available in travel coaches from Mercedes-Benz and Setra. Today around 15,000 trucks and buses already use the life-saving Active Brake Assist system. And in another world premiere at the IAA, Mercedes-Benz will be presenting Active Brake Assist 2 in the heavy-duty truck Actros. This system, which also brakes in response to stationary obstacles, will be introduced at the start of next year.
Source: Daimler AG