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Indiaexportnews.com

Daimler to display its strength as the world market leader at IAA

  23.09.2008    

Daimler’s presentation at IAA Commercial Vehicles 2008 will feature more than 80 exhibits of vehicles from all Group brands present in Europe. The company will thus highlight the unrivaled range of commercial vehicles it offers as the world market leader. The Daimler Group’s presentation will be arranged as follows: Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses (Hall 14/15), Mercedes-Benz vans (Hall 14/15), Setra buses (Hall 16), and Mitsubishi Fuso Canter trucks (Hall 16).
Daimler Trucks sold more than 311,000 vehicles through August 2008, once again posting a slight increase on the sales figure recorded for the same period in the prior year (309,656). Sales for full-year 2008 are also expected to be slightly higher than the result in 2007.
“As you can see, our sector isn’t getting a boost from the global economy, but Daimler nonetheless continues to stay in the lead: 2008, we again are able to increase our sales slightly”, says Andreas Renschler, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses.
Solid demand in the “Europe of 29” continues to be driven by growth in Eastern Europe, although demand is less dynamic than it was in 2007. Experts also believe that growth in Eastern European markets will end up being more moderate for full-year 2008. It appears that the European commercial vehicle market is now normalizing after six years of above-average growth.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks once again increased unit sales over the first eight months of the year, this time to more than 110,000 units. This figure is nine percent higher than that posted during the same period in 2007, which turned out to be a record year for Mercedes-Benz truck sales. Developments have been particularly positive in Brazil (+33 percent), the Middle East (+28 percent), and Eastern Europe (+7 percent). Because of such figures, Mercedes-Benz Trucks expects to post yet another truck sales record in 2008.
The truck market in the U.S. remains problematic, with overall sales in the segment for medium- and heavy-duty trucks falling by more than 16 percent through July 2008. The recovery expected by economic researchers for the second half of the year in the U.S. has failed to materialize, and forecasts for the country’s commercial vehicles market are now being adjusted downward on a monthly basis. Market performance during the remainder of the year will be strongly impacted by future development of the North American economy as a whole.
Daimler Trucks North America is being affected by this situation and has therefore adjusted its production capacities to changed conditions several times this year. The company’s Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling, and Thomas Built Buses brands recorded unit sales of more than 72,000 vehicles through August — fewer trucks and school buses than were sold during the same period in 2007 (87,383). This decline can be attributed on the one hand to the sales-dampening effect of the EPA 07 emission standard, with regard to major fleet operators. It is, however, also a result of the economic situation in the U.S.
Overall sales on the Japanese truck market fell once again through July 2008 compared to the result for the same period last year (-14.6 percent). No noticeable recovery is expected here for the rest of year, as diesel prices have risen and uncertainties remain with regard to the development of the market as a whole.
Mitsubishi Fuso was able to more than offset negative developments in the Japanese market through extremely positive sales development outside that country (+21 percent). Sales of Mitsubishi Fuso brand vehicles rose from 121,182 units in the first eight months of 2007 to nearly 129,000 units through August 2008 (+6 percent). International business accounted for 78 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso’s total sales volume in the first eight months of this year, which is ten percentage points higher than the corresponding figure from 2007. Positive sales development was recorded especially in Indonesia (+72 percent), Latin America (+23 percent), Africa (+31 percent), and the Middle East (+8 percent). After posting a sales record in 2007, Fuso looks set to do the same this year.
Daimler Trucks continues to grow rapidly outside the triad commercial vehicle markets. Sales in Eastern Europe (including Russia) were up 14 percent through August. The sales increase in the Middle East during the same period totaled 11 percent, while in Latin America it was 17 percent, and in Southeast Asia an extraordinary 60 percent. In the rapidly growing BRIC countries, Daimler Trucks is either already the market leader (Brazil), or else has embarked upon a strategic course that will accelerate market penetration over the short and medium terms through expansion of local production capacity (India, Russia, China).
Mercedes-Benz Vans sold nearly 196,000 Vito/Viano, Sprinter, and Vario vans through August 2008, an increase of six percent from the same period in the prior year. Says Wilfried Porth, head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans business unit: “The year 2008 will be a good one for our vans because, despite the changed conditions as of late, we still expect to surpass the record sales we achieved last year.”
Compared to the prior year, the market for Daimler Buses continued to develop positively during the first eight months of 2008: Daimler Buses had an above-average impact on this development, selling nearly 28,000 Mercedes-Benz, Setra, and Orion buses worldwide through August, an increase of 12 percent. Daimler Buses is expected to post yet another sales record for full-year 2008. “We expect our bus operations to set a new record in 2008,” says Andreas Renschler.

Consistent further implementation of the “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative
During the IAA, Daimler will present its cross-brand “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative for environmentally friendly and safe commercial vehicles at the entrance area to Halls 14 and 15 at the Hanover Exhibition Center. The presentation will feature hybrid product highlights in the most diverse stages of development. On display will be a Mercedes-Benz Axor Hybrid long-haulage truck (prototype), a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid van (currently being tested by customers), a Freightliner Business Class M2e Hybrid delivery truck from the U.S. (set to go into series production shortly), and a Japanese Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid delivery truck (in series production since 2006). To ensure the best possible implementation efficiency, all Daimler commercial vehicle brands are working together on the development and utilization of hybrid, natural gas, and fuel cell drives for commercial vehicles.
The biggest gains with respect to ecology and economy are currently being achieved by Mercedes-Benz trucks equipped with BlueTec diesel technology. More than 200,000 BlueTec trucks have already saved their owners 700 million liters of diesel fuel to date, and have thus also prevented emissions of approximately two million tons of CO2. The record marathon drive taken by the new Mercedes-Benz Actros truck in May 2008 set the tone worldwide for fuel economy: the vehicle was driven12,728 km in seven days, consuming just 19.44 liters of fuel per 100 km, and achieving CO2 emissions of only 20.5 g/tkm. This performance earned the vehicle an entry in the Guinness World Records book.
Daimler’s commercial vehicle brands also play a pioneering role when it comes to safety. The new Mercedes-Benz Travego bus, for example, now comes with the Active Brake Assist system, which initiates an emergency braking maneuver if an accident is imminent. The system has already proved its worth through more than 350 million kilometers of customer operation in the Mercedes-Benz Actros since it was introduced in 2006. Along with the Group-brand Setra, Mercedes-Benz is the only commercial vehicle manufacturer in the industry to offer this life-saving system, which also drastically reduces the severity of accidents, and thus damage as well.

World premieres and product highlights at IAA 2008
On an area measuring 11,500 m² in Halls 14/15 and 16, Daimler is presenting 53 trucks, vans, buses, and special vehicles as well as nearly 30 technological exhibits. What’s more, the service offerings of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Vans and Buses are presented in a Service World covering more than 500 m².
The highlight at Mercedes-Benz Trucks is the new Actros, which is celebrating a double premiere at the IAA: as a top-class long-haulage truck and as a vehicle for heavy-duty construction work. The plant in Wörth already has received more than 20,000 orders for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros since the truck went on sale. The first vehicles of this third-generation Actros will be delivered to customers in the coming days. To accentuate Mercedes-Benz’ new brand claim ‘Trucks you can trust,’ the new Actros is also appearing for the first time in the ‘trust edition,’ whose coloring is inspired by that of the brand’s legendary cab-behind-engine trucks.
Among Mercedes-Benz’ special vehicles, the motor show highlight for extreme applications is the new Zetros. This all-wheel-drive truck is conceived for exploration work, large construction sites, disaster relief operations, and peace-keeping missions.
Another highlight is the Mercedes-Benz Econic waste disposal truck, which is appearing in two different hybrid variants: a diesel-electric hybrid and a natural gas-electric hybrid. Known as the Econic Hybrid NGT, the latter version is a unique vehicle that not only meets the EU’s Euro 5 emissions standards but also the more stringent Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicle (EEV) standards and the criteria of the German “Blue Angel” environmental certificate. Both hybrid variants can run for a certain amount of time solely on electric power and the vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries are recharged through the recovery of brake energy (recuperation).
The IAA highlight from Mercedes-Benz Vans is the Vito BlueEfficiency, a concept vehicle that demonstrates the development potential of diesel engines in vans. As a result of its very economical six-speed manual transmission, ECO start-stop function, and comprehensive package of aerodynamic improvements, the vehicle consumes a much as 1.5 liters less fuel per 100 km and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 40 g/km.
Another vehicle, the Mercedes-Sprinter NGT, runs on natural gas as standard, thus reducing not only emissions and noise, but also operating costs. This van is particularly appealing to customers on the German market, where natural gas fuel is not only less expensive than diesel, but where the vehicle itself will also be subject to a lower tax rate until 2018.
The focus of the Mercedes-Benz Buses stand is the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego coach with its safety systems Active Brake Assist and Front Collision Guard. Other motor show highlights include the fuel cell-powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid. The latter is an articulated bus equipped with a technologically very advanced series hybrid drive. The bus can run solely on battery power for some stretches, emitting no pollutants and very little noise. Customer testing of the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid, which is on display in the outdoor area, will begin at the beginning of next year.
Two of the ten Setra brand buses exhibited in Hall 16 are particularly notable: the low-floor Setra S 415 NF intercity bus, which was named Bus of the Year 2009, and the TopClass 400 luxury travel coach. The TopClass 400 is the first Setra brand travel coach to be available with the automatic emergency braking system Active Brake Assist.
In line with its “efficiency in transportation” theme, Mitsubishi Fuso is presenting the Canter delivery truck in numerous variants. One of the highlights is the Canter Eco Hybrid. More than 350 units of this parallel hybrid truck have already been delivered to customers. The vehicle went into series production in Japan in 2006. In Europe’s largest fleet test, ten Canter Eco hybrids have been on the road in the UK since August 2008. The Fuso stand is also the site of the European premiere of the Canter Eco D, a concept dump truck featuring a futuristic design and cutting-edge hybrid technology.


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