Manufacturer increases sales for third year in a row
Germany’s Daimler Trucks has reported an increase in global sales to over 500,000 units in 2015, based on figures from early December.
The sales increase came despite challenging market conditions, the truck-maker said, adding that final sales for 2015 will be presented next month.
In 2014, the truck-maker sold 495,700 vehicles worldwide under its Mercedes-Benz, Fuso, Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and BharatBenz brands.
Disparities were evident across the performance in various regions: although the truck markets in North America and Europe grew significantly, there was a slump in the important markets of Brazil and Indonesia. Sales also declined over the last few months of the year in Turkey due to political insecurities in the market. In particular, market conditions deteriorated significantly in the months of November and December.
2015 has seen the Stuttgart-headquartered manufacturer increase unit sales for the third year in a row, said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Daimler board of management, responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses.
On the subject of the future prospects for Daimler Trucks, he noted that conditions in the truck market will remain challenging in 2016. “Nevertheless, our sights remain set on our next sales target of 700,000 trucks in 2020. To sit back is not an option for us.”
In North America, the manufacturer reported a 20% sales increase to 176,100 units, driven by robust market growth and a strong product range. In Western Europe too, Daimler Trucks saw a sales increase in the first 11 months of 2015 to 56,000 units. The company’s iconic Mercedes-Benz brand continues to lead the medium- and heavy-duty market segments, Daimler Trucks said. Its share of the market, however, dropped slightly to 21.9% from 24.6% the previous year.
Despite a weaker economy and political instability in the region, unit sales in Turkey grew to 20,400 trucks from January to November. This was partly due to spending brought forward ahead of the Euro 6 emissions standards coming into effect from January 1 this year. However, the momentum tailed off over the year – a trend expected to continue this year.
In Latin America, unit sales of Daimler Trucks significantly decreased to 27,900, from 44,500 units in 2014, primarily as a result of the dramatic downturn in the Brazilian market. Despite the current market weakness, Daimler Trucks noted plans to invest 500 million euros ($544.3m) between 2014 and 2018 in customised products, services and technologies for Brazil. The manufacturer also expects no recovery of the market in the South American nation this year.
Meanwhile, Asian markets showed differences in performance last year. In Japan, Fuso sales rose 4% to 41,600 vehicles, with the brand’s share in the Japanese truck market climbing to 20.7%. However, sales sharply declined in Indonesia, falling to 29,400 units from 51,400 in 2014.
In India, Daimler Trucks increased sales by 29% to 12,500 vehicles, with over 30,000 BharatBenz trucks delivered to customers since the company first entered the market in 2012. A new product launched this year in India was the heavy-duty BharatBenz 3143, specially designed for use in mining and on construction sites. The Indian-made vehicles are expected to play a key role in opening up important growth markets in Asia and Africa.
Going forward, Daimler Trucks says it is set to position itself more closely to customers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In October, the manufacturer opened in Dubai the first of six planned regional centres worldwide.
In the first quarter of this year, further regional centres will open in Kenya for central Africa, in Pretoria (South Africa) for southern Africa and in Singapore for South East Asia.