Daimler Trucks, the world's largest truck maker, as of 2014, expects to see 'strongly heterogeneous developments' in the individual markets in 2015.
In the NAFTA region, an increase in the range of 10 percent is expected for the overall truck market in the medium-duty and heavy-duty segments (Class 6 to 8), whereas sales in Europe is expected to be flat. According to the company, a slight market drop is indicated for Japan and the weak period in Brazil will persist. A decrease in the range of 10 percent is expected compared with the previous year.
Daimler Trucks expects sales figures in Asia to 'develop positively' this year. In Indonesia, one of the main markets of Fuso in Asia, the expectations are of a recovery in unit sales for Daimler Trucks. In India, the further expansion of the BharatBenz sales network from 80 to 100 dealers is expected to lead to a 'significant increase' in sales. In addition, the extended offering of Fuso trucks from India is expected to ensure additional momentum after the 2015 start of exports of ‘Made-in-Chennai’ Fuso trucks to Latin America and the Near and Middle East. On the other hand, the growth dynamics in Japan will probably slacken off perceptibly, according to a company release.
The situation in Western Europe and Latin America remains challenging for the company. Daimler Trucks expects that it will be able to maintain its position in the Western European market through better fuel-efficient products, high customer acceptance and a flexible production network. In Brazil, the continued lack of economic growth and more unfavorable financing conditions could adversely impact market demand and thus also on the sales of Daimler Trucks.
"We will consistently focus on our strengths. We are very well positioned worldwide and offer our customers around the world trucks that are optimally tailored to their requirements with leading technologies, the lowest total cost of ownership and top quality. Through the consistent implementation of our platform strategy, we want to utilize our potential even further in coming years. Our customers and our company will benefit from that," said Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Trucks and Buses, at the yearly press conference of the division held earlier today.
A reason for cautious optimism towards the full year 2015 is the orders intake in the fourth quarter of 2014, which jumped by 45 percent year-on-year to around 173,000 units. This has created a solid basis for the desired sales growth in the current cycle.
However, political and economic uncertainties still remain and will also continue to affect the investment propensity of truck customers. These include the Ukraine crisis and conflicts in the Middle East as well as the pronounced weakness of the large economies in Latin America, led by Brazil and Argentina.
Despite the partly weaker markets, 2014 was a successful year for Daimler Trucks. The announced targets were achieved; unit sales and operating profit were above the previous year's level. Unit sales went up by 2 percent to around 496,000 units, the highest level since 2006. Thus, the target of 500,000 sold trucks set for 2015 has also virtually been achieved a full year earlier. Daimler Trucks' global presence was able to overcompensate for weaker markets like Brazil and Europe with strong performance, especially in North America and Japan.
In line with the sales increase, revenues also grew by 3 percent to €32.4 billion (PY €31.5 billion). Earnings before interest and taxes from current operations (EBIT) grew over-proportionately by 18 percent to €2.07 billion (PY €1.75 billion). Thanks to the profitable growth, return on sales from the current business rose to 6.4% (PY 5.6%). The Daimler Trucks #1 (DT#1) excellence program made a significant contribution to the higher earnings. At the end of 2014, 80 percent of the target of €1.6 billion profit contribution was achieved as planned. DT#1 is to unfold its full effect starting from the current year.