Success Story Continues for Daimler Commercial Vehicles in 2008

Success Story Continues for Daimler Commercial Vehicles in 2008

12.02.2009: * Mercedes-Benz Trucks: Sales at all-time high * Mitsubishi Fuso: Strong international business boosts sales* Daimler Trucks North America: Continued weak demand throughout the entire sector

    *      Mercedes-Benz Trucks: Sales at all-time high
    *      Mitsubishi Fuso: Strong international business boosts sales
    *      Daimler Trucks North America: Continued weak demand throughout the entire sector
    *      Daimler Buses: Record sales of 40,600 buses (+4 percent)

As expected, developments on the world’s commercial vehicle markets were quite varied last year. While the truck markets in Latin America developed positively in the first half of 2008, there was a downturn of the European market from the second half of the year, following years of strong growth. Meanwhile, the markets in the NAFTA region and Japan contracted once again.

Despite the global economic crisis, markets for buses over eight tons GVW expanded worldwide, with high growth rates posted particularly in Mexico and in Central and Eastern Europe. And growth also was realized again on the markets in Western Europe and North America.

Daimler Trucks boosts sales by one percent

Daimler Trucks did well in 2008, despite the global financial and economic crisis that commenced in the second half of the year. The division sold a total of 472,100 light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks worldwide, an increase of one percent compared to the prior year’s result. This performance enabled Daimler Trucks to defend its position as the world’s largest manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty trucks.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks sold 170,100 vehicles worldwide, the best result in its history. Sales increased by six percent compared to the previous record, which was set in 2007. This achievement was primarily the result of strong demand for the new heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Actros truck.

A major reason for the record result was higher sales in the Middle East (+90 percent to 11,300 vehicles) and Latin America (+14 percent to 43,400 vehicles), whereby sales in the latter region were especially boosted by increased demand in Brazil (+23 percent to 34,500 units). Mercedes-Benz sold 1,800 trucks in Russia, up 35 percent from the total recorded in 2007. The brand with the star also managed to defend its market leadership in its core markets of Germany, Turkey, and the EU29.

Mitsubishi Fuso sold 197,700 vehicles in 2008, increasing its global sales by five percent compared to the prior year. It was the highest sales result achieved by the company since it was fully consolidated into the Daimler Group in 2004. A sales increase of 16 percent to 155,700 vehicles in the export markets more than offset a sales decrease (-22 percent) to 42,000 vehicles in the company’s home market of Japan.

Mitsubishi Fuso’s success on international markets was due, among other things, to the 47,000 vehicles sold in Indonesia (+58 percent) and sales of 10,800 trucks in Turkey (+28 percent). Mitsubishi Fuso is the market leader for light trucks in Indonesia and Taiwan, with market shares of 56.7 percent and 59.1 percent respectively.

Despite the declining market, Mitsubishi Fuso sales in Europe and Turkey rose ten percent to 20,800 units. The Mitsubishi Fuso Canter for the European market is produced in Portugal, where the 150,000th vehicle rolled off the line in October 2008.

In 2008, Daimler Trucks North America sold a total of 104,300 vehicles of the Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling, and Thomas Built Buses brands (-12 percent). Thanks to the strong demand for Freightliner’s flagship truck, the heavy-duty Cascadia, Daimler Trucks North America did comparatively well, with sales dropping by 12 percent to 95,100 vehicles in the NAFTA region, compared to a decline of 16 percent overall for this region. Sales increased by nine percent to 9,400 units in Mexico, where a new production plant for Freightliner trucks will be opened.

Daimler Trucks well-prepared with Global Excellence program

Consistent implementation of the Global Excellence program is particularly beneficial in the current economic climate and it sets the course for continued success in the future. Says Andreas Renschler, Daimler Board of Management member responsible for Daimler Trucks: “Daimler Trucks is well prepared for the current situation. Thanks to the Global Excellence program, in 2008 we were able to once again increase sales despite all the global economic challenges.”

The Global Excellence program, which was introduced in 2005, encompasses four initiatives: management of market cycles, Operational Excellence, exploitation of market potential and new markets (particularly markets with high growth opportunities, such as Russia, India, and China), and future product generations and technologies.

In addition to further, thorough implementation of the first two initiatives, Daimler Trucks is also now intensifying its work on the third and fourth initiatives: in April 2008, Daimler Trucks and the Hero Group of India established the joint venture Daimler Hero Commercial Vehicles Ltd. Russia is also a key market for Daimler Trucks, with new and pre-owned commercial vehicles gaining a high level of acceptance there. In December 2008, Daimler Trucks established a strategic partnership with Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz, acquiring a 10-percent stake in the company to secure the alliance.

The focus of the fourth initiative (future product generations and technologies) is on further development of alternative drive systems and sustainable fuels. To boost its future competitiveness, Daimler continues to invest in future-oriented products and technologies. With this in mind, the company is not only investing in a new stamping facility for the Gaggenau plant, for uses including exterior truck panels of Mercedes-Benz vehicles; it also is opening an assembly plant for Freightliner trucks in Saltillo, Mexico, in late February.

Daimler Buses achieves best-ever sales result

In 2008 Daimler Buses also achieved the best-ever sales result in its history. The unit sold a total of 40,600 buses of the Mercedes-Benz, Setra, and Orion brands worldwide, an increase of four percent on the result of the previous record, which was set in 2007. What’s more, sales in Europe of Mercedes-Benz minibuses based on the Sprinter rose 18 percent to 1,100 units.

With moderate growth in market demand for buses over eight tons GVW in Western Europe, Daimler Buses increased sales by 12 percent to 7,800 units, boosting its market share to 30.1 percent. Daimler Buses significantly strengthened its leadership on the stable German market, increasing its market share to 60.1 percent as a result of an 11-percent rise in sales, to 3,100 buses. Daimler Buses also recorded significantly higher sales in Turkey (+21 percent) to 1,000 units, further improving its leadership position on the Turkish market to 56.2 percent (+4.1 percentage points).

Daimler Buses boosted its sales in Central and Eastern Europe by 68 percent to 1,300 units, while the market as a whole grew by 36 percent. In the process, Daimler Buses raised its market share from 17.8 percent to 23.8 percent. While the NAFTA market expanded by 11 percent, Daimler Buses’ sales in the region rose 15 percent to 7,000 buses. The key Brazilian market grew substantially, leading to a four-percent increase in sales (13,100 units) for Daimler Buses.

“Our buses had an absolute record year in 2008, with Daimler Buses achieving its best sales result ever,” said Renschler. “With a market share of 15 percent, we lead the global market for buses over eight tons GVW. We are particularly delighted that the global financial and economic crisis did not prevent us from defending our market leadership in key markets such as Germany and Turkey, as well as in Mexico and Latin America.”

Daimler Buses is also the world market leader when it comes to buses with hybrid drive, and around 1,700 Orion hybrid buses are currently on the road in North America.

- Heinz Gottwick - photos Mercedes-Benz


12.02.2009 / MaP

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