Market bottoms out; Daimler ready to pounce

Daimler suffers horror 2009, but positions itself for big 2010 amid claims truck market is recovering

March 11, 2010

After surviving a horrific sales year in 2009, Daimler Trucks boss Andreas Renschler says the future is looking brighter for the group globally.

Renschler says Daimler Trucks sales fell 45 percent in 2009 to 259,328 vehicles, while the division's revenues declined by 36 percent.

However key regions managed to maintain or even increase market share in 2009, keeping leader in the medium and heavy-duty truck segments.

"The Daimler Trucks business system proved its effectiveness in 2009. That gives us reason to be optimistic about how things will develop after recovery sets in," Renschler says.

While saying the company remains cautious, Renschler says the rate of incoming orders shows the truck market has bottomed out.

"Many regions show indications of at least the beginnings of a market recovery," he says.

Renschler has slated greater involvement in truck markets in Russia, Brazil, India and China.

He says it is no surprise the truck market is significantly affected by economic conditions.

"Our industry has always been very cyclical, which is why we are prepared to deal with market declines. Nevertheless, it’s clear that truck manufacturers will be hit particularly hard when the world economy contracts in a more dramatic manner than ever before," Renschler says.

"Conversely, however, it's also true that when the economy recovers, truck manufacturers also recover, because you can't have economic growth without freight transport or trucks."

Renschler says the manufacturer is now moving ahead with new drive system technologies and vehicles.

"Our agenda includes many new trucks, the development of alternative drive systems, and compliance with the worldwide emission standards. Running all of these projects in a difficult economic environment is a big challenge for us," he says.

"It would, of course, be easier to just cancel projects. But that would be the wrong step to take, because the global product offensive will provide us with the competitive edge we need in the future."

The various brands within the Daimler Trucks group are also investing heavily in new technology, with Australian buyers able to access Euro 5 emissions-compliant trucks from Mercedes-Benz. Fuso has also just released the Fuso Canter hybrid.

Despite the positive outlook, Renschler says 2010 will still be a challenging year.

"The general mood concerning the global economy is reserved and it will take years before we once again reach the level we had attained before the crisis," he says.

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