Daimler Trucks, the world’s leading truck manufacturer, has achieved one of the best sales years in its history in 2018. Based on initial data, unit sales of the Mercedes-Benz, FUSO, Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and BharatBenz brands increased to well over 500,000 vehicles in 2018 (2017: 470,700). Daimler AG says the exact sales figures will be announced at its annual press conference on February 6, 2019.
In a generally positive market environment, the Daimler Group’s trucks division had already increased its unit sales by 11 percent to approximately 466,900 units by the end of November, significantly more than in the same period of the previous year (January - November 2017: 422,500).
“2018 was one of the most successful years in the history of Daimler Trucks. As previously announced, our worldwide unit sales are significantly higher than in the previous year. With well over 500,000 trucks, we have achieved our highest unit sales of the past 10 years,” said Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks & Buses.
Strongest sales growth in NAFTA region
Most of Daimler Trucks’ largest sales markets developed positively in the past year, with the highest growth achieved in the NAFTA region. Sales of the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses brands increased by 15 percent to a total of approximately 172,700 units in the first 11 months (prior-year period 150,600). With a recent market share of 38.3 percent in weight classes 6 - 8, Daimler Trucks was by far the undisputed market leader for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in North America once again in 2018. Freightliner’s flagship, the New Cascadia, played a key role in the market success: More than 76,500 of this model have been sold since the start of production in late 2016.
Double-digit growth in Asia, influenced by Indonesia and India
In Asia, too, total sales rose significantly by 12 percent to 147,900 units (2017: 132,400). At approximately 40,000 trucks, sales in Japan in the first 11 months were roughly at the prior-year level (40,700). In its home market of Japan, the Asian commercial-vehicle subsidiary FUSO had a market share of 19.2 percent.
In the important Indonesian market, sales rose by a strong 52 percent to 57,400 units by November 2018 (prior-year period: 37,600).
In India, sales were boosted by a significant recovery in demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) sold approximately 20,500 trucks in the first 11 months, a significant increase of 35 percent compared with the same period of last year (15,200). Daimler Trucks also reached an important milestone in September 2018 with the production of its 100,000th vehicle at the Chennai plant. In addition to BharatBenz trucks for the local market, the plant in Chennai also manufactures models for export to more than 40 markets worldwide.
In China, the world's largest market for commercial vehicles, Daimler holds a 50 percent equity interest in the joint venture Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd. (BFDA), the manufacturer of Auman medium- and heavy-duty trucks. As expected, sales of 95,100 Auman trucks in the first 11 months were below the high level of the prior-year period (104,600). In 2017, the market had benefited not only from the favorable economic developments but also from regulatory measures for the renewal of the stock of vehicles.
Significant market recovery in Latin America
In Latin America, Daimler Trucks significantly increased its unit sales in the first 11 months by 26 percent to approximately 34,400 trucks (prior-year period: 27,300). A significant contribution came from sales growth in Brazil, the region’s main market. At approximately 19,300 vehicles, sales there grew by 59 percent (prior-year period: 12,200). With a market share of 27.7 percent, the Mercedes-Benz brand was once again the market leader in the medium and heavy-duty segments.
Sales growth also in Europe and Germany
In the so-called EU30 region (European Union, Switzerland and Norway), Daimler Trucks’ unit sales increased slightly by 4 percent in 2018. From January through November, about 76,200 units were sold (prior-year period: 73,600). Mercedes-Benz Trucks maintained its market leadership in the medium- and heavy-duty segments with a share of 20.4 percent. In Germany too, Mercedes-Benz continued to lead the truck market with a share of 36.0 percent. By the end of November, 29,100 vehicles had been delivered, an increase of 4 percent (prior-year period: 28,000). Mercedes-Benz Trucks expects further impetus from mid-2019 onwards from the new Actros, which was unveiled with numerous innovations at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in September and has been very well received.