As the leading bus manufacturer in its core markets of Western Europe and Latin America, Daimler Buses focuses on supplying innovative and environmentally responsible products that meet its customers’ business requirements. During the year under review, we enhanced our wide-ranging product portfolio. Business development in 2015 was once again negatively affected by the difficult economic situation in Latin America, which led to a decrease in unit sales and revenue. Nevertheless, we were able to increase our earnings slightly compared with the previous year.
Mercedes-Benz | Buses
Earnings slightly above prior-year level
Daimler Buses sold 28,100 buses and bus chassis worldwide in 2015 (2014: 33,200). This significant decrease in unit sales was largely due to the ongoing poor economic situation in Brazil. Nevertheless, the division was able to maintain its clear leading position in its core markets for buses with a gross vehicle weight of over 8 metric tons. (See table C.07) Business with complete buses in Western Europe developed favorably during the year under review, with sales increasing from the prior-year level. At €4.1 billion, revenue was slightly lower than in 2014 ( €4.2 billion). Success with sales of complete buses and a favorable product mix in Western Europe more than offset the lower unit sales in Latin America, resulting in a slight increase in EBIT to €214 million (2014: €197 million).
C.07 Daimler Buses
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||5.2||4.7||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||104||105||-1|
|Research and development expenditure||184||182||+1|
|Employees (December 31)||18,147||17,473||+4|
C.08 Unit sales by Daimler Buses
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||11,909||17,614||-32|
Varied business development in core regions
In Western Europe, the Daimler Buses brands Mercedes-Benz and Setra offer not only a complete range of city buses intercity buses and coaches, but also bus chassis. Thanks to an improvement in our complete bus business, sales in the region increased by 3 % to 7,800 units. As a result, Daimler Buses maintained its leading position in Western Europe with a market share of 30.9 % (2014: 34.4 %), although this share was lower than the record figure achieved in 2014. Strong demand for our Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses — particularly in the coach segment — had a positive effect on our sales in Germany, where the coach segment also benefited from the continued expansion of long-distance bus services. However, the decrease in demand for city buses compared with the extraordinarily high level of demand in the prior year led to a decrease in bus sales in Germany to 2,800 units (2014: 2,900). Sales in Turkey rose by 32 % to 1,000 units; this positive development was mainly due to a substantial increase in coach sales in the country.
The ongoing economic difficulties in Latin America (excluding Mexico) led to a significant further deterioration in the region, with the Brazilian bus market reaching its lowest point for many years in 2015. Sales of Mercedes-Benz bus chassis in Brazil fell by 47 % to 7,200 units. Nonetheless, we were able to significantly expand our leading position in Brazil to a market share of 52.5 % (2014: 49.7 %). At 4,000 units (2014: 3,600), sales in Mexico were significantly higher than in the previous year.
Busworld Kortrijk 2015: New sales record and international awards
For the second time in succession, Daimler Buses was extremely successful at the oldest and most famous international bus show, which takes place in Kortrijk, Belgium, every other year. The number of buses sold increased once again following the 2013 event — by approximately 70 %, which made the total volume significantly higher than the former record level. Sales actually tripled compared with 2011. At Busworld, we presented the unique complete range of products from Daimler Buses with its leading Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands. The presentation included everything from minibuses to double-deckers, as well as a wide range of services. Coaches from the Setra TopClass 500 series received several awards from European Coach & Bus Week. The S 516 HDH high-decker bus was presented with the ”Grand Award Coach” and the judges also awarded the Setra coach generation an ”Ecology Label” and a ”Styling & Design Label” in recognition of the vehicles’ high degree of environmental compatibility and their appealing design. Both series also received a ”Special Mention 2015” prize from the ”German Design Award” organization at the beginning of the year. The mid-decker coaches from the ComfortClass 500 series were honored with the ”Green Coach Award 2015” in Kortrijk. This award has been presented by renowned trade journals to coaches and city buses in alternating years since 2011. The S 515 MD made a major impression here with its outstanding economy and also by recording the lowest fuel consumption on a test route.
New technologies set standards for efficiency and environmental compatibility
Daimler Buses is working to further improve the fuel efficiency and environmental compatibility of its products through the use of innovative technologies. The natural gas-powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT (Natural Gas Technology) city bus presented in 2015 is equipped with the M 936 G Euro VI natural gas engine, which makes it up to 20 % more fuel-efficient than the predecessor model. The natural gas engine also boasts CO2 emissions that are as much as 10 % lower than the emissions of diesel engines. When powered by renewable natural gas, the Citaro NGT is also completely CO2-neutral. In addition, the engine in the Citaro NGT makes less noise than the quiet OM 936 diesel engine across the entire range of engine speeds — and the difference is noticeable. A new heavy-duty engine is also now setting standards for coach operating costs. Thanks to the new, highly efficient Mercedes-Benz OM 471 engine, which is used in three-axle premium buses from Mercedes-Benz and Setra, fuel costs are down by as much as 4 %, even as handling has been made more dynamic.
World premiere: Mercedes-Benz presents latest engine generation
Roadmap for alternative drive systems
Daimler Buses presented its roadmap for alternative drive system technologies at the UITP (International Association of Public Transport) World Congress and Exhibition. Along with the further optimization of diesel powertrains, the division is also focusing on developing the Citaro E-Cell and Citaro F-Cell electric variants by 2020. Both models will be based on a modular electric vehicle platform. Additional measures here include the development of a hybrid solution. With its Compact Hybrid, Daimler Buses is pursuing a more simplified technical hybrid approach. The result will not be a zero-emission vehicle but rather one that achieves a substantial reduction in fuel consumption compared with the already economical Euro VI diesel engines — with low additional costs for customers.
New bus plants facilitate entry into growth markets
In autumn 2015, series production operations were launched at the Chennai bus plant in India, which opened in mid-2015. The new facility gives Daimler Buses the opportunity to profit from the tremendous growth potential offered by the Indian market. The plant builds BharatBenz-brand front-engine buses for the volume market in India, with bodies produced by the British bus manufacturer Wrightbus. Mercedes-Benz rear-engine buses are available for the premium segment. The new plant in India has an initial production capacity of 1,500 units each year. However, this annual capacity can be expanded to as many as 4,000 units. The first buses and bus chassis have already been delivered to Indian customers as well as for export. A total of €50 million has been invested in the facility in India to date. We also opened a new bus chassis assembly plant in Funza, near Bogotá, in Colombia. Daimler Buses is thus preparing for the growing demand for buses and efficient mobility solutions in that region.
Number 1 for safety technology in Europe
Daimler Buses is implementing a comprehensive integrated safety concept for Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses. This concept meets the highest possible demands in terms of safety and also involves continual further developments in all areas. The integrated safety concept comprises several components. Its central component consists of a large number of innovative safety features that are employed in line with the vehicle in question and the way it is to be used, whereby the general objective is to continually improve active and passive safety. Features range from driver assistance systems to fire alarm devices in all buses as standard. Since November 2015, the EU has required that all newly registered coaches be equipped with emergency braking and lane-changing assistance systems. Daimler Buses has been equipping coaches with its Lane Keeping Assist system for nine years now, while Active Brake Assist has been available for six years. The latest version of the latter system — Active Break Assist 3 (ABA 3) — can initiate automatic emergency braking and bring the coach to a standstill when it encounters stationary obstacles ahead. Our vehicles also already come with other assistance systems such as proximity cruise control and Attention Assist. In addition, the Articulation Turntable Controller (ATC) developed by Mercedes-Benz for the Citaro G and CapaCity L articulated buses sets a new standard for articulated bus handling and safety. Our safety technology portfolio at Daimler Buses is rounded out by various safety training courses and programs.