Daimler Trucks is about to reach its sales target for 2013 and to deliver more trucks than in any year since 2006. Despite having to contend with a comparatively difficult market environment, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer benefited from its global presence and from its technologically leading product range that is customized for each region.
“Daimler Trucks did very well this year, thanks to our extremely attractive product lineup and our growth offensive in new markets. Shortly before the end of the year, we expect that we will surpass last year’s sales figure of 462,000 units, as we previously announced, and thus achieve the best sales result since 2006”, said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the Daimler AG Board of Management Member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, about the sales development to date. In the first 11 months of the year, the division delivered 433,600 vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz, Fuso, Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and BharatBenz brands. As a result, sales were two percent higher than in the same period last year, when 424,000 units were sold.
Based on first data for December, Daimler Trucks expects to close 2013 with an encouraging sales growth for the full year. The final global sales figures will be presented at Daimler’s annual press conference on February 6, 2014.
Commenting on the outlook for 2014, Bernhard said: “Of course we plan to share in the moderate growth that the global truck market is expected to achieve in 2014. However, it’s still too early to make any predictions, because key regions continue to face uncertainties. For example in Europe it remains to be seen, how the introduction of the new emission standard Euro VI will affect sales in the first half of the year. It’s clear, however, that we have once again made major progress this year toward reaching our goal of selling more than 500,000 trucks in 2015. We are continuing to do all we can to strengthen our position as the leading global truck manufacturer. To achieve this, we are also systematically implementing our strategies for the respective sales regions.”
Market share in NAFTA rises significantly
Sales were stable in the NAFTA region (Canada, U.S., Mexico), totaling 124,000 vehicles in the first 11 months of the year (Jan.-Nov. 2012: 123,600) even though the market contracted slightly. As a result, the market share in the medium-duty and heavy-duty Classes 6 to 8 rose significantly to 38.8 percent (33.9 percent). This success was due in particular to the new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution; more than 22,000 units of this model were ordered between its market launch and the end of November. The truck has only been produced since March 2013. Customers clearly appreciate the fact that the Cascadia Evolution consumes up to seven percent less fuel than its predecessor.
Daimler Trucks also strengthened its leading position in Europe. While the market shrank by around six percent in Western Europe, sales at Daimler Trucks rose by nine percent through November to 56,800 vehicles (Jan.-Nov. 2012: 52,000). The division’s market share of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks rose to 24.2 percent (23.6 percent). Daimler Trucks was able to gain market share in all of the core European markets. This was also the case in Germany, even though the German market contracted by almost nine percent. In Mercedes-Benz’ home country, Daimler Trucks sold 28,200 vehicles in the first 11 months of the year, thus boosting its sales slightly by one percent (Jan.-Nov. 2012: 27,791) and causing its market share to rise to 40.4 percent (39.3 percent).
Euro VI-compliant Actros is well received by customers
In Germany and the rest of Europe, Daimler Trucks benefited from the fact that it was ahead of its competitors in switching its trucks to the new Euro VI emission standard, which will go into effect at the beginning of 2014. The switchover of the Mercedes-Benz Actros, Antos, Arocs and Atego models as well as the Unimog and Econic special trucks enabled Daimler Trucks to round out its Euro VI-compliant product range long before the tougher emission standard takes effect. Half of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros flagship trucks sold in Europe during the first 11 months of the year were already Euro VI-compliant. In Germany, the figure was even three out of four.
“Our investments in the Mercedes-Benz truck family are paying off. Customers appreciate the fact that we provide them with top-quality technology and the lowest total cost of ownership in the sector,” says Bernhard.
In Turkey, Daimler Trucks performed much better than the market as a whole. Even though the country’s market plummeted by more than 10 percent, Daimler Trucks was able to increase sales by three percent in the first 11 months of the year, to around 17,100 vehicles. The division correspondingly widened its lead over the competition. Daimler Trucks increased its market share in Turkey by almost six percentage points to about 50 percent. “Turkey is a clear example of the importance of supplying each sales market with suitable locally manufactured products. We will continue to implement this successful strategy as part of our growth offensive”, said Bernhard.
Sales jump in Brazil
Business also improved for Daimler Trucks in Brazil, which is Mercedes-Benz’ biggest truck market. Daimler Trucks was able to benefit from its locally produced Mercedes-Benz trucks and increased deliveries by more than one third to 37,300 vehicles in the first 11 months of the year (Jan.-Nov. 2012: 27,500). The division’s market share reached 24.4 percent (26.0 percent). The market as a whole expanded by 14 percent. It should be mentioned, that the sales figures for the first 11 months of 2013 include several major contracts, which have not yet been reflected in the vehicle registration figures that are relevant for determining market share.
In Asia, sales have been affected by highly volatile and varied market developments in the year to date. In Japan, deliveries rose by seven percent in the first 11 months of the year, to 34,400 units (Jan.-Nov. 2012: 32,000). The demand for trucks was boosted by a government economic stimulus program. Daimler Trucks’ market share remained relatively unchanged at 20.2 percent (20.5 percent).
In India the overall truck market declined almost 30 percent, due to an unexpectedly pronounced economic slowdown. Even though the Indian Daimler Trucks brand BharatBenz started from scratch, it nonetheless managed to come in fourth in the country’s medium-duty and heavy-duty truck segment. Around 6,000 BharatBenz vehicles had been sold by the end of November. The brand has introduced a steady stream of new models since it began selling in late September 2012, and the rollout is in full swing. The brand plans to further strengthen its market position by compelting its full product range of 17 models in 2014.
Initial successes in the integration of the Asia business
Daimler Trucks expects to gain additional growth momentum in future markets as well as existing ones from its Asia Busniess Model, which was introduced in 2013. The new business model enables Daimler Trucks Asia to exploit the potential created by the interlinking of the Japan-based Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. (MFTBC) with Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV). Through the cooperation between MFTBC and DICV, which initially encompasses the units for product development, production, and procurement, Daimler Trucks Asia is using the strengths of both companies. The first milestone was achieved in May 2013, when the production of five new FUSO models started in Chennai, India. These models are destined for export to markets in Asia and Africa. The first vehicles have been delivered to Zambia, Kenya and Sri Lanka. By 2020 Daimler Trucks Asia plans to sell 290,000 vehicles annually throughout the world.
Progress in China and Russia
In 2013 the division also intensified its cooperation with partners in China and Russia. Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd. (BFDA), which launched production in mid-2012, is the first 50-50 joint venture in the Chinese truck segment between a local and a foreign partner. This cooperation with Foton gives Daimler Trucks a key presence on the Chinese truck market. The trucks from BFDA are sold under the Auman nameplate. The joint venture sold around 94,000 vehicles during the first 11 months of the year.
In Russia, the partnership between Daimler Trucks and the market leader Kamaz is making good progress. Since 2013, Mercedes-Benz truck cabins are installed into Kamaz’ new generation of trucks. Daimler Trucks has been delivering diesel engines and axles to Kamaz since November 2012. Kamaz and Daimler Trucks also operate two local joint ventures for the production and sale of Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok/MBTV) and FUSO trucks (FUSO KAMAZ Trucks Rus Ltd./FKTR). In the latest demonstration of this relationship’s further development, MBTV has been assembling and painting truck frames in Russia since November 2013. This move increases the company’s flexibility and simplifies its cooperation with body up fitters.
Source: Daimler AG