In a generally favorable market environment, Daimler Trucks achieved a return on sales of 6.1 % in the 2019 financial year (2018: 7.2 %). This was partially due to lower unit sales and increased costs. In the short to medium term, Daimler Trucks expects demand in its core markets in Europe and the United States to continue to normalize, and this trend should continue until 2021. Around the world, we have outstanding products, strong brands and technologies, and a clear strategy that focuses on global market presence, global platforms, innovation leadership and sustainability. We see our challenge in improving profitability while investing in the future, in order to utilize the potential of truck markets that are changing but which offer long-term growth. We intend to generate global growth and earnings prospects especially in the market for heavy-duty trucks. In addition, we see great long-term business potential in highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) traveling on highways between logistics hubs.
Lower unit sales and EBIT, stable revenue
Daimler Trucks sold 488,500 vehicles in 2019, achieving a volume slightly below that of the previous year (2018: 517,300). The markets relevant for Daimler Trucks generally developed very disparately. In the second half of the year, demand in North America weakened significantly faster than expected, and the European truck market contracted in the second half of the year. These developments already had an impact on the division’s earnings in the fourth quarter. Revenue of €40.2 billion was above the prior-year level (2018: €38.3 billion). EBIT of €2.5 billion was lower than last year (2018: €2.8 billion). Return on sales also decreased to 6.1 % (2018: 7.2 %).
C.03 Daimler Trucks
| ||2019 ||2018 ||19/18 |
|€ amounts in millions || ||Change in % |
| || || || |
|Revenue ||40,235 ||38,273 ||+5 |
|EBIT ||2,463 ||2,753 ||-11 |
|Return on sales (in %) ||6.1 ||7.2 ||. |
|Investment in property, |
plant, and equipment
|971 ||1,105 ||-12 |
|Research and development expenditure |
|Production ||481,946 ||524,846 ||-8 |
|Unit sales ||488,521 ||517,335 ||-6 |
|Employees (December 31)1 ||83,437 ||82,676 ||+1 |
C.04 Unit sales Daimler Trucks
| ||2019 ||2018 ||19/18 |
|In thousands || ||Change in % |
| || || || |
|Total ||489 ||517 ||-6 |
|EU30 ||80 ||85 ||-7 |
|thereof Germany ||31 ||33 ||-4 |
| United Kingdom ||6 ||8 ||-27 |
| France ||9 ||9 ||-1 |
|NAFTA region ||201 ||190 ||+6 |
|thereof United States ||174 ||161 ||+8 |
|Latin America (excluding Mexico) ||43 ||38 ||+12 |
|thereof Brazil ||30 ||21 ||+39 |
|Asia ||135 ||165 ||-18 |
|thereof Japan ||42 ||44 ||-4 |
| Indonesia ||39 ||64 ||-39 |
|For information purposes: || || || |
|BFDA (Auman Trucks) ||86 ||103 ||-17 |
|Total (including BFDA) ||575 ||621 ||-7 |
Unit sales 6 % lower than in the previous year
Daimler Trucks achieved sales of 488,500 vehicles in 2019, which is a slight decrease compared with the previous year (2018: 517,300).
Over the year as a whole, the truck market in classes 6 to 8 in the NAFTA region was still slightly above the high prior-year level, although a weakening of demand was apparent in the fourth quarter. Our sales of 201,100 trucks in the region were once again slightly higher than the high prior-year number (2018: 189,700). In classes 6 to 8, we had a market share of 37.0 % (2018: 38.4 %). We continued to maintain our market leadership. The new Freightliner Cascadia with partially automated driving functions (SAE Level 2) had its world premiere as a series-produced truck at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2019. The system can independently brake, accelerate and steer, and allows partially automated driving. In the future, customers in Australia and New Zealand will also be able to operate the new Freightliner Cascadia. The new model was presented to customers and media representatives in Sydney in November. And with the Detroit DD15 Gen 5 at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show 2019 in Atlanta, Daimler Trucks presented for the first time the latest generation of the globally applied heavy-duty engine platform (HDEP). As of 2021, this engine is to be available in the North American market in the class 8 segment.
On the basis of the global platform strategy, the next-generation engines are planned to be used also in trucks of the Mercedes-Benz sister brand.
We significantly increased our unit sales in Brazil, achieving growth there of 39 % compared with the previous year to sell 29,700 trucks. The market share of our Mercedes-Benz brand trucks developed positively. In the medium- and heavy-duty segment, we increased our market share to 29.2 % (2018: 27.9 %) and achieved market leadership. In October 2019, the new Actros from Brazilian production was presented at Fenatran, one of the largest commercial-vehicle and transport trade fairs in Latin America. The heavy-duty truck has been further developed especially for the Latin American market and uses technologies and platforms available worldwide, such as mirror cams that replace rear-view and wide-angle mirrors and help to enhance safety, vehicle handling and aerodynamics. The new Actros is scheduled for market launch in 2020 and will set new standards for efficiency, safety and connectivity.
In the EU30 region (European Union, Switzerland and Norway), the truck market weakened perceptibly in the second half of the year following the significant impact of purchases being brought forward in the first half. Our total sales in the region decreased slightly to 79,800 units (2018: 85,400). The Mercedes-Benz brand maintained its market leadership in the heavy- and medium-duty segment, although our market share decreased to 20.0 % (2018: 20.6 %). Production of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros started at the Wörth plant in May 2019. One of the major new features of the Actros is Active Drive Assist, with which Mercedes-Benz puts partially automated driving in all speed ranges into series production. With the new Actros, Mercedes-Benz shows the level of safety that is possible on today’s roads. Since January 2020, this heavy-duty truck’s standard equipment in Europe includes Active Brake Assist 5 (ABA 5), the latest generation emergency braking system with pedestrian recognition. Truck journalists from 24 European countries voted the Mercedes-Benz Actros as “International Truck of the Year.” For this award, expert jurors evaluate both technical innovations and further developments, as well as innovations that have a direct influence on overall cost-effectiveness, safety or environmental compatibility. The award was presented at the international trade fair Road & Urban Transport Solutions (Solutrans) in Lyon.
Mercedes-Benz new Actros: Active Brake Assist 5
In Asia, demand for trucks in Indonesia and India clearly declined during 2019, and our sales in the region also decreased significantly to 135,200 units (2018: 164,700). This development was particularly pronounced in Indonesia, where our unit sales fell by to 39,100 vehicles (2018: 64,200). In India, we sold 14,500 vehicles and were thus also significantly below the high unit sales of the previous year (2018: 22,500). With the BharatBenz brand, we achieved a market share of 5.8 % (2018: 6.0 %). Since the beginning of the export business, more than 25,000 export vehicles have been produced in India. The plant in Chennai is an integral component of the worldwide production network of Daimler Trucks & Buses. In the context of the planned introduction of the new Bharat Stage VI emissions standard, the plant is to gain further importance as a global export hub. Trucks are then to be delivered to countries such as Mexico, Chile and Brazil, where comparable emission standards apply. In the Japanese truck market, we sold 42,200 units in the year 2019, slightly fewer than in the previous year (2018: 44,000). Since October 2019, the FUSO Super Great heavy-duty truck has been available with partially automated driving functions (SAE Level 2).
Sales of 86,200 units of Auman trucks, which are produced in China by our joint venture Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co., Ltd. (BFDA), were significantly lower than the prior-year volume (2018: 103,400). In the middle of the year, the new Auman EST-A heavy-duty truck was launched in the Chinese market with the locally produced Mercedes-Benz OM457 engine.
First trials of trucks with automated driving on public roads
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics, a pioneer in the field of autonomous driving, entered into a partnership last year to market highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) in the United States. In this context, we acquired a majority interest in Torc Robotics that we then placed into Daimler Trucks’ Autonomous Technology Group, in which all expertise and activities relating to automated driving were brought together in June 2019. With the new unit, Daimler Trucks intends to bring highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) to market maturity within a decade. The development sites of the global organization currently include Blacksburg and Portland in the United States and Stuttgart in Germany. The development of software for highly automated driving is one of the main areas of activity of the Autonomous Technology Group. Another is a truck chassis that is perfectly suited for highly automated driving and which can contribute to enhanced reliability and safety through the interaction between various systems. The infrastructure and network for the operational use of such vehicles, which will be set up by the Autonomous Technology Group, consists of a main control center for the vehicles and additional stations at the logistics nodes. Together with Torc Robotics, the development and testing of highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) on defined routes on public roads began in Virginia, USA, in 2019. With Detroit Assurance 5.0 featuring Active Lane Keeping Assist in the new Freightliner Cascadia and with Active Drive Assist in the new Mercedes-Benz Actros and the new FUSO Super Great, we already put semi-automated driving functions into our production vehicles in 2019. The new system can support the driver in all speed ranges with braking, accelerating and steering. This is based on the intelligent combination of radar and camera information.
Detroit Assurance 5.0
Supply agreement for global battery modules for series-produced trucks
Daimler Trucks & Buses and the battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) entered into a global supply agreement for battery modules in 2019. CATL is a world leader for the development and production of lithium-ion batteries. The agreement relates to battery modules for trucks including the Mercedes-Benz eActros, Freightliner eCascadia and Freightliner eM2. Daimler Trucks & Buses is responsible for developing the battery systems and will also assemble the battery packs at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim, Germany, and at the US plant in Detroit, Michigan.
Electric trucks from all segments in customer use
The Mercedes-Benz eActros heavy-duty truck has been in intensive customer use in the context of the eActros Innovation Fleet since 2018. The aim is to achieve clean and quiet distribution transport in urban areas, even with heavy duty trucks, from 2021 onwards. With the FUSO brand, Daimler continued to gain experience with electric trucks in various markets in 2019. The FUSO eCanter, for example, is in use with large commercial customers such as Penske in the United States.
Fully electric light trucks are already in customer hands also in important European markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as in Japan. The FUSO eCanter had its world premiere in September 2017 and has since then been delivered to numerous customers worldwide. Data is currently being collected together with customers and feedback is being given on the daily use of the vehicle, route profiles and charging behavior. The FUSO eCanter is produced in Kawasaki, Japan, and Tramagal, Portugal. And at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, we presented the prototype of the FUSO Vision F-Cell light-duty truck. This is FUSO’s concept of an electric truck that uses power from a fuel cell as an optional range extender. The first heavy-duty Freightliner eCascadia started trials with customers in 2019. The US customers Penske Truck Leasing and NFI Industries are testing the eCascadia, having already started testing the medium-duty all-electric Freightliner eM2 in the previous year. Findings from the global practical tests will flow directly into the ongoing development of the next generation of our worldwide electric product portfolio.
Introduction to the eM2
E-consulting as an entry into electric mobility
Daimler Trucks & Buses’ E-Mobility Group is launching a comprehensive ecosystem for e-transport logistics to enable our customers to make the best possible entry into electric mobility. This includes a comprehensive range of consulting services and the development of a suitable charging infrastructure for electric trucks. In addition to personal and individual advice, the modular service also includes digital applications that make it easier to get started with e-mobility. The initial focus will be on the European, North American and Japanese markets.
Increasing role of data-based and connected services
In 2019, Daimler Trucks made progress with important developments in the field of data-based and connected services. At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show 2019, Daimler Trucks for the first time presented a dynamic leasing solution that is focused on a truck’s operational performance: Dynamic Lease is a pay-as-you-drive leasing service for trucks. The leasing installments for a truck are based on the actual use of the vehicle. In addition to a standard contractual basic fee, the customer is only charged for the miles actually driven. Customers in North America can use this telematics-based financing option as of the first quarter of 2020, initially for the new Freightliner Cascadia with an integrated Detroit powertrain.
Together with partners, our developer engineers have been working to enable trucks to communicate independently with other machines and to carry out legally binding transactions such as payments. In a pilot project in 2019, Daimler Trucks experts created the required conditions for this with the newly developed digital Truck ID and the related Truck Wallet.
Trucks can identify themselves to other machines with the Truck ID as if with a built-in identity card, and can sign for processes unambiguously. Truck Wallet functions as a platform technology and central user program for all applications that access Truck ID and use it for various purposes. Truck ID and Truck Wallet, which are both still in the prototype stage, are stored as software programs in a cryptographic processor. The processor is part of Truck Data Center, the central telematics control unit of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros.
Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a new Actros or Arocs with Multimedia Cockpit Interactive is just a click away from a fully connected world of vehicles, drivers and logistics: Starting last year, the new Actros and the new Arocs offer an open platform for the use of apps. When purchasing a truck with Multimedia Cockpit Interactive, the customer not only acquires a vehicle, but also gains access to the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal. This can then be used for the customer’s entire fleet, including third-party vehicles. Previously, new hardware and software usually had to be installed in the cab to put fleet-management or transport-management systems into a truck.