Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mixed picture for Daimler Trucks in 2014

Daimler Trucks will sell almost 500,000 trucks in 2014, despite difficult market conditions.

The world's leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles succeeded in increasing deliveries to 445,300 units in the first 11 months of 2014, an increase by three per cent over the same period last year.

Based on 1 December figures, Daimler Trucks assumes to finish 2014 with a positive sales growth reaching nearly 500,000 units. Final worldwide sales figures will be published on 5 February 2015.

In 2013, Daimler Trucks sold about 484,200 vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz, FUSO, Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and BharatBenz brands.

For commercial vehicles, 2014 was dominated by developments that varied widely by regions. Weak economic prospects but also political uncertainties put a strain on the market development in Latin America. In Europe, sales were impacted by the lack of dynamic economic development in addition to the introduction of the new Euro VI emissions standards and the difficult political situation in Eastern Europe. The situation is very different in North America and Japan: In these markets Daimler benefited from the strong overall local business environment for commercial vehicles.

The growth of Daimler Trucks in 2014 was driven by the positive development of sales in the NAFTA region and in Japan; but held back by poor sales in Brazil.

In the NAFTA region, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) was again by far the market leader in the weight Classes 6-8 with a market share of 37.3 per cent (previous year: 38.8 per cent). Sales in the first eleven months climbed to a record 147,200 vehicles (previous year: 124,000 vehicles). This corresponds to an increase by 19 per cent over the same period last year.

In October, DTNA had the highest monthly order intake ever recorded by a manufacturer in the US truck business with about 31,300 orders received.

Strong momentum for order intake was provided by the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution with its integrated powertrain from a single source: engine, transmission and axles are sourced from Daimler Trucks and intended to increase fuel efficiency.

Sales in Asia were driven by Japan. Sales in the first 11 months increased 16 per cent to 39,900 units (previous year: 34,400 units). In the total Japanese market, Daimler Trucks has a market share of 20.3 (previous year: 20.2) per cent. Deliveries of the new FUSO Super Great V heavy-duty truck started in September.

However, in Indonesia, sales toppled to 51,400 (previous year: 57,400) units due to the strong downturn in the market. Nevertheless, Daimler Trucks increased its market share to 47.2 (previous year: 46.7) per cent.

Fuso launched its new FI and FJ model series (MDT, HDT) in Indonesia. These vehicles are manufactured in India by the wholly owned Daimler subsidiary Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. (DICV) as part of the group's Asia business model.

In India, Daimler launched five more versions of its BharatBenz brand. Sales in the first 11 months climbed by 61 per cent to 9,700 (previous year: 6,000) units.

                                                         Bad apple

In the medium-duty and heavy-duty segment in Western Europe, Mercedes-Benz very slightly increased its market share to 24.6 (previous year: 24.2) per cent in a difficult market environment. Sales in the first eleven months totalled 50,500 units, below the previous year's level of 56,800 vehicles.

Early purchases due to the introduction of Euro VI emission standards prompted the drop, as did overall difficult economic development, especially in Germany where sales fell to 25,500 (previous year: 28,200) units. Mercedes just managed a market share of 40.0 (previous year: 40.4) per cent to retain its lead in the domestic market.

In Turkey, sales climbed to an eleven-month record level of 18,900 (previous year: 17,100) units, although market share fell slightly to 48.9 (previous year: 49.7) per cent. Mercedes-Benz has a local manufacturing plant in Aksaray which recently notched up its 200,000th truck.

But bad apple in the barrel was Latin America where sales dropped markedly due to poor economic development. Key market Brazil was badly impacted with sales tumbling to 31,300 (previous year: 37,300) units.

Uncertainty prior to the elections in October, weak economic development and confusion regarding the structure of government financial incentives caused hesitant purchasing behaviour. Even so, Daimler Trucks lifted its market share to 26.0 (previous year: 24.4) per cent.

In an attempt to remain competitive in this strategic market, Daimler Trucks is investing over €500 million in production facilities, products and locations around Sugarloaf Mountain through 2018.

In China, Daimler Trucks hopes to sell as many Auman brand trucks as in 2013 (previous year: 103,000) in a slightly declining total market. The first 11 months of 2014 Daimler sold 89,800 Auman trucks (previous year: 94,000) which are manufactured by the Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd. (BFDA) joint venture, in which Daimler and its Chinese partner Foton each hold 50 per cent of the shares.

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