Daimler Trucks is shaping the future of transportation. In 2015 Daimler Trucks once again impressively demonstrated its leading role as a truck manufacturer with its strategy based on the three pillars of technology leadership, global presence and intelligent platforms. In May 2015, the state of Nevada approved our Freightliner Inspiration Truck for road use, making it the first autonomously driving truck to receive this kind of certification anywhere in the world. Just five months later, we tested the first autonomously driving series-production truck on public roads in Germany. With our successful products and supported by positive market developments in the NAFTA region and Europe, we further increased our unit sales to more than 500,000 vehicles, setting a major milestone in our sales development.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks | Trailer 2015
C.03 Daimler Trucks
|€ amounts in millions||Change in %|
|Return on sales (in %)||6.9||5.8||.|
|Investment in property, plant, and equipment||1,110||788||+41|
|Research and development expenditure||1,293||1,188||+9|
|Employees (December 31)||86,391||87,628||-1|
C.04 Unit sales of Daimler Trucks
|In thousands||Change in %|
|thereof United States||167||142||+18|
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||31||47||-35|
|For information purposes:|
|BFDA (Auman Trucks)||69||99||-30|
|Total (including BFDA)||572||595||-4|
Very successful business developments in a heterogeneous market environment
In 2015, Daimler Trucks increased its unit sales by 1 % to 502,500 vehicles, the highest number since 2006. Revenue grew by 16 % to €37.6 billion (2014: €32.4 billion). Daimler Trucks faced a regionally very diverse market environment in 2015. Demand for trucks rose strongly once again in the NAFTA region last year. Truck demand increased also in Europe, thanks to a robust economic recovery and the purchase of more replacement vehicles. In Japan, sales of commercial vehicles were at the solid level of the previous year, whereas the demand in India increased compared with the previous year. The weak and uncertain economic situation in Brazil almost halved the country’s truck market. The Indonesian truck market also contracted significantly. In this market environment, Daimler Trucks increased its EBIT very significantly to the new record of €2.6 billion (2014: €1.9 billion). The division’s return on sales rose to 6.9 % (2014: 5.8 %).
More than 500,000 trucks sold in 2015
The number of 502,500 trucks sold in 2015 shows that our strategy based on the three pillars of technology leadership, global market presence and intelligent platforms is paying off. We have assumed a leading role for autonomously driving trucks. We continue to be well positioned as the market leaders in the NAFTA region and Western Europe, and we have further strengthened our position in the emerging markets. In October, we opened our first regional center. Located in Dubai, it is the first of six such centers that will be set up all over the world to focus on sales and aftersales activities for Daimler Trucks. The center in Dubai manages activities in 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In February 2016, two more regional centers will be opened: in Kenya for Central Africa and in Pretoria (South Africa) for Southern Africa. The regional center for Southeast Asia will follow in Singapore in March. These new regional centers will put us in even closer proximity to our markets and customers, allowing us to respond more quickly to their needs. We have also achieved another milestone in the implementation of our platform strategy. In November, our facility in Detroit began producing the automated Detroit Transmission 12 (DT12) for the North American market.
In Western Europe, we increased our sales by 13 % to 64,800 units. Unit sales became more dynamic as the year progressed. Our Mercedes-Benz brand maintained its market lead in the medium-duty and heavy-duty segments with a share of 22.5 % (2014: 24.4 %). As a result of advance purchases before the tougher EURO VI emissions standard comes into effect in 2016, sales amounted to 24,900 units in Turkey, thus surpassing the previous year’s high level (2014: 22,200 units) despite the country’s weakening economic development and the uncertain political situation in the region. The market nevertheless lost significant momentum in the second half of the year. Demand decreased substantially in Russia due to the country’s ongoing difficult economic situation.
Daimler Trucks saw sales drop sharply in Latin America, due primarily to the severe market contraction in Brazil. The Brazilian market was also weakened by the continued worsening of the financing possibilities offered by the government’s FINAME program. The weakness of Brazil, our main market in the region, caused sales to fall to 16,400 units (2014: 32,200). In this challenging environment, we were able to slightly increase our market share of Brazil’s medium-duty and heavy-duty segments to 26.7 % (2014: 25.8 %). In order to permanently strengthen Daimler Trucks’ competitiveness in Brazil, between 2014 and 2018, we will invest approximately €500 million in products, technology and services that are tailored to the needs of the Brazilian market. To this end, we further optimized the comfort, fuel economy and total cost of ownership of the locally produced truck models Accelo, Atego, Axor and Actros.
In the NAFTA region, Daimler Trucks saw sales rise by 19 % to the record level of 191,900 units. We further extended our market leadership in the Classes 6-8 last year, increasing our market share to 39.4 % (2014: 37.2 %). The sales growth was due to our outstanding products as well as the good market development last year. In May 2015, we started production of the new Western Star 5700 XE in Cleveland, North Carolina. This semitrailer tractor features sophisticated aerodynamics and is equipped with the new, highly efficient Detroit powertrain. It consumes nearly 15 % less fuel than a comparable vehicle.
The Asian sales markets developed in widely diverse ways last year. In Japan, we increased our unit sales by 4 % to 45,600 vehicles. We expanded our market share, which now amounts to 20.8 % of Japan’s overall truck market (2014: 20.1 %). In India, we increased deliveries by 36 %, selling a total of 14,000 trucks. Our new BharatBenz vehicles allowed us to increase our market share of the upper medium- and heavy-duty segments to 7.3 % (2014: 6.2 %). The BharatBenz product range was expanded further last year by the launch of the all-new BharatBenz 3143 heavy-duty truck, which is designed for use in mining and on construction sites and is by far the most powerful locally built truck for the Indian market with 430 horsepower. With a gross vehicle weight of 48 tons and four-axle configuration, the truck is perfectly tailored to the requirements of customers in India, with its plentiful reserves of raw materials. Thanks to the intelligent platform strategy, Daimler Trucks’ engineers developed the model in less than three years. Our sales in the strongly contracting Indonesian market fell to 32,100 units (2014: 58,300). However, our share of the total Indonesian truck market increased to 48.0 % (2014: 47.4 %). In 2015, we continued to work on our strategy of increasing Daimler Trucks’ global market presence. The Asian subsidiaries Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. (MFTBC), which is based in Kawasaki, and Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), which is headquartered in Chennai, are making an important contribution to this strategy. Last year, Chennaiproduced FUSO trucks enabled us to enter more than a dozen selected export markets, such as South Africa. Further market entries are planned for 2016.
Presence in the world’s largest truck market China through our joint venture BFDA
Daimler AG owns 50 % of Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd. (BFDA), a joint venture between Daimler and Beiqi Foton Motor Co, Ltd. BFDA has been producing medium-duty and heavy-duty Auman brand trucks since mid-2012. In 2015, sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks decreased by around 30 % in China, the world’s biggest truck market by volume, due to the country’s weakening economy. BFDA with its Auman brand was unable to avoid this development; its unit sales in 2015 thus decreased for market-related reasons to 69,200 vehicles (2014: 99,200). In order to profit from the Chinese volume market in the medium term, we systematically pushed forward with our cooperation with Foton/BFDA in 2015. Following the successful establishment of the OM 457 engine factory in our joint venture, production of the heavy-duty Euro IV/V engine starts in 2016. More than 300,000 Auman vehicles have been sold since the joint venture was launched.
Successful further development of our engine and transmission strategy
We continued to pursue our integrated powertrain strategy in 2015. We nearly doubled the rate of application of the DT12 automated transmission in the Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 5700 XE, so that approximately 40 % of those models were sold with the automated transmission in the United States and Canada. In November, local production of the DT 12 transmission for the North American market started in Detroit. As of 2018, medium-duty engines for the NAFTA market will also be produced in Detroit. We maintained the rate of application of our heavy-duty engines in the United States and Canada at the high rate of the previous year in a growing market. Just four years after the launch of the Mercedes-Benz OM 471 heavy-duty engine, Daimler Trucks presented the engine’s next stage of development in 2015 (see Latest generation of the OM 471 engine). The latest generation of the EURO VI engine is a part of the successful platform for heavy-duty truck engines from Daimler Trucks. Compared to its predecessor, the new engine reduces fuel consumption by up to 3 %. As a result, average fuel consumption has decreased by up to 13 % since 2011. The Euro VI engine family has also been supplemented by the new, environmentally friendly M 936 G natural-gas engine. This engine emits up to 20 % less CO2 than a diesel engine and can reduce emissions even further if biogas is used instead of natural gas.
World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Trucks presents latest engine generation
Daimler Trucks is a pioneer for autonomous driving
As a globally positioned manufacturer, Daimler Trucks impressively demonstrated in 2015 how intelligent technologies can be rolled out for several brands and multiple markets in a very short period of time. The autonomously driving vehicles from Daimler Trucks are based on the series-production trucks used in the respective markets. These trucks are equipped with the Highway Pilot system, which is adapted to the specific market conditions. The Highway Pilot encompasses a complex combination of cameras and radar systems along with lane-keeping and collision-prevention functions that enable it to brake and steer the vehicle and regulate its speed. We presented the Highway Pilot to the public for the first time in 2014, when the system enabled the Future Truck 2025 to complete a partially autonomous drive on a cordoned-off section of an autobahn near Magdeburg.
Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 | Autonomous driving
Last year, Daimler Trucks then reached several milestones on the road to achieving fully autonomous driving. In May 2015, the state of Nevada approved the Freightliner Inspiration Truck for road use, making it the world’s first autonomously driving truck to receive this kind of certification. The Inspiration Truck is based on the series-production model Freightliner Cascadia. The vehicle is equipped with a Highway Pilot that has been specially configured to operate in American highway traffic.
Freightliner Inspiration Truck
The first time we tested an autonomously driving series-production truck on public roads in Germany was in October of last year. This premiere truck was a series-production Mercedes-Benz Actros that was equipped with the Highway Pilot in order to test autonomous driving on public roads.
Autonomously driving series-production truck on public roads in Germany (in German language)
Leading position in the field of safety
We are consolidating our leading position in the field of safety by introducing new assistance systems and further developing the emergency-braking and lane-keeping assistants. One of the systems we will launch in the near future is the turning assistant. By detecting pedestrians, cyclists and stationary obstacles, this system can prevent accidents and save lives, especially in city traffic.
Strategic focus on connectivity and digitization
In addition to safety and efficiency, truck connectivity plays a crucial role as the third pillar of Daimler Trucks’ technology strategy. A truck generates a large amount of data, which can be usefully applied in many ways. For example, modern telematics systems can already record and analyze how efficiently a vehicle is operated and can communicate that to the driver or owner. Many more possibilities will exist in the future. With the help of data transmitted by trucks in real time, trucking companies will be able to organize their overall logistics more efficiently. It will enable them to shorten trucks’ standing times, optimize maintenance intervals and reduce fuel consumption. In order to strengthen its technological expertise in this area, Daimler Trucks has purchased a stake in Zonar Systems Inc., a leading developer and supplier of logistics, telematics and connectivity solutions. Daimler Trucks North America and Zonar will jointly launch applications that are tailored to the needs of North American customers. The two companies have already been partners for the past five years, cooperating, among other things, on the development of the telematics solution Detroit Connect (see Optimal transport logistics). This solution includes an onboard diagnostic and fleet monitoring system and can determine the cause of a fault message while the vehicle is still in motion. This can reduce servicing-related downtimes and thus cut maintenance costs. Repair costs can sink by as much as 20 % while operating time can increase by 6 %.
Detroit Connect Telematics Solutions Overview
Integrated approach for maximum efficiency
In the Efficiency Run practical test that was presented in October 2015, Daimler Trucks and three freight-forwarding companies demonstrated that optimally coordinated truck combinations can reduce fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions by a double-digit percentage, using systems that are already available on the market. The vehicles were equipped with the Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) cruise control system, which optimally coordinates gear shifting with the route’s topography. Weight-optimized semitrailers and low-resistance tires were also used in the field test. This integrated approach aims to optimize not only the engine but also the entire truck transport system. The two standard Mercedes-Benz Actros tractors that were optimized for the Efficiency Run consumed about 12 to 14 % less fuel than a standard semitrailer tractor in the fleet of the freight-forwarding company. The long truck that was also tested during the Efficiency Run had an approximately 17 % better fuel efficiency in volume-based transportation than the test’s standard tractor and semitrailer. The test confirmed that two long trucks can perform the transport tasks of three conventional semitrailer trucks. DEKRA, a technical test organization, accompanied the Efficiency Run and certified its results.
Customer tests of the FUSO Canter E-Cell successfully completed
Eight preproduction-series FUSO Canter E-Cells were tested by selected customers in a one-year field test in Portugal. A data analysis of the customer test showed that the operating costs were reduced by 64 % compared to those of a conventional diesel truck. With ranges of over 100 kilometers, the Canter E-Cells surpassed the average distance that many trucks cover in light-duty distribution transport each day. The electrically powered light trucks are locally emission-free and nearly silent, making them well-suited for short-distance distribution transport in inner cities.
FUSO | New Canter E-CELL | Zero Emission Truck
Daimler Trucks studies and series vehicles win awards
Daimler Trucks North America received the US Department of Energy’s renowned Distinguished Achievement Award for the results of its SuperTruck concept vehicle. The award-winning truck shows how freight transportation on roads can be made as environmentally compatible and fuel-efficient as possible in the future. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 won the internationally renowned iF Design Award 2015. Last year, the Mercedes-Benz Actros won the Green Truck Award, which is presented by the editors of the magazines Trucker and VerkehrsRundschau. The winners of this award are primarily chosen on the basis of their fuel consumption, and thus also of their CO2 emissions.