Global commercial vehicle market on solid level
- Daimler increases global truck sales by 20 percent through August
- Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid: First economically viable hybrid truck for Europe
- World premiere: Sprinter E-Cell study for zero-emission transport
- Economical diesel engines: From the Antos to the Citan
- Sophisticated aerodynamics lower fuel costs
Stuttgart/Hanover – At this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Daimler AG is presenting virtually the entire spectrum of its commercial vehicle brands over an exhibition area of roughly 16,000 m². More than 70 trucks, vans and buses will astonish visitors in Hall 14/15 with a whole range of innovative technologies coupled with outstanding economy and environmental friendliness.
Global commercial vehicle market on solid level
At the press conference today, Andreas Renschler, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, reviewed the current state of the commercial vehicle markets worldwide and noted that the “overall outlook is solid.”
While sales markets in Europe are being impacted by the difficult economic situation in the Southern European nations, the truck markets in North America and Japan are developing in an extremely positive manner. Both markets are predicted to have an increase in demand reaching double-digit percentage points in 2012. The van market in the NAFTA region is also growing rapidly, with the increase this year expected to total ten percent.
The medium and long-term outlook for the growth markets in the BRIC nations remains excellent, according to Renschler. However, the current situation varies between the individual countries. The Russian commercial vehicle sector is growing rapidly and will expand by double-digit percentage in 2012. Brazil, on the other hand, will likely experience a temporary decline of at least 15 percent, as the introduction of the Euro V emission standard is negatively impacting the demand at the moment. The Indian commercial vehicle market reflects the weaker economic growth currently being recorded in that country and is therefore developing at a slower rate. Moreover, sales have also slowed in China, due to the fact that many customers chose to move their truck purchases forward because of a government incentive program in 2010. Nevertheless, there already exists a new government subsidy program to stabilize demand. An economic stimulus plan for large infrastructural projects is also on the way.
Renschler said the market situation for buses remains problematic. However, he also pointed out that recent major orders for Daimler Buses in Germany (150 urban and intercity buses for the Deutsche Bahn railway company), France (26 coaches for the French national railway operator), Singapore (450 city buses for public transport companies) and Brazil (90 articulated buses for Rio de Janeiro, 520 city buses for Fortaleza and 390 bus chassis for Ribeirão Preto) show that even in difficult times, top-class products will always do well.
Sales increase of 20 percent for Daimler Trucks
Daimler Trucks’ global presence has enabled it to offset the effects of weaker markets with the success in high-growth markets and thus to record a significant increase in overall sales: “Our worldwide truck sales have increased 20 percent through the first eight months of the year,” said Renschler. “Thanks to the new Mercedes-Benz Actros in particular, demand remains stable even in the contracting Western European market. Around 10,000 new Actros trucks are already on the road, one-third of them as Euro VI variants.”
The most important markets for Daimler in the first eight months of the year were the NAFTA region and Japan. In NAFTA, the company increased truck sales by 27 percent and vans sales by 19 percent compared with the same period of the previous year. In Japan, it was possible to post a 60 percent overall truck sales increase. Outside the triad, Daimler Trucks was able to increase sales in Russia by more than 85 percent and boost sales in Indonesia by over 40 percent, to name just two particularly successful markets.
Renschler said that he is satisfied with the market-share development for all Daimler commercial vehicles over the first eight months of the year: “Whether you’re talking about trucks, buses or vans, we’ve been able to expand our position in many markets since the beginning of the year.”
Furthermore, Renschler predicted solid long-term growth for the commercial vehicle sector and, therefore, also for Daimler trucks, buses and vans: “Gross domestic product worldwide will rise by 30 percent between now and 2020 – and we all know that when a country’s economy grows, the demand for transport services also increases.
As a result, global demand for medium and heavy-duty trucks alone will expand by around 50 percent over the next ten years.”
Highly efficient drive system technologies in all vehicle classes
“Driving the future” is the motto of the 64th IAA – and also a theme addressed by Renschler in his speech: “Road freight transport will triple worldwide between now and 2050, and the number of people living in cities will also increase. We therefore have no choice but to develop fuel-saving technologies and alternative drive systems, even if for no other reason than economic necessity.”
The new Mercedes-Benz Antos truck for heavy-duty distribution applications as well as the new Setra ComfortClass 500 and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus generations represent commercial vehicles with state-of-the-art, highly efficient drive system technologies. Despite the sophisticated exhaust gas treatment technology, fuel consumption has been further reduced compared to the predecessor models.
Moreover, the new Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid employs alternative drive technologies. The innovative truck consumes 23 percent less fuel than its diesel variant.
Also on show in Hanover are two vehicles that boast zero emissions and zero fuel consumption: the Sprinter E-Cell study and the Vito E-Cell crewbus – the first seven-seat van with a pure electric drive.
Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid: First economically viable hybrid truck for Europe
In terms of a truck’s total lifecycle, diesel fuel already costs European transport companies more than a brand-new truck. This trend will continue in the coming years, making sustainable and environmentally friendly commercial vehicles even more attractive. The greatest challenge in developing a truck with alternative drive train remains the profitability for the manufacturers and the customers. Andreas Renschler added: “We’re offering a very clean solution that will pay off for our truck customers for the first time. With the Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid, customers will be able to recoup the relatively moderate additional cost for the model’s hybrid drive train technology in three to four years during normal driving conditions and distances.”
In Japan, where the Daimler Trucks Global Hybrid Center is located, the new Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid was introduced in May 2012 already. In the last months, five to ten percent of the Japanese costumers chose this truck. Now the new Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid will be introduced in Europe – and for the first time, customers will have an alternative drivetrain option that pays off.
World premiere for the Sprinter E-Cell
In Hanover, Daimler is also highlighting the further progress it has made regarding completely emission-free city driving. On display are the new Vito E-Cell crewbus for seven passengers and the Sprinter E-Cell study, which is celebrating its world premiere. The Sprinter E-Cell opens up huge possibilities for local zero-emission deliveries. After all, it can also serve as a platform for special-purpose bodies. The vehicle’s top speed is limited to 80 km/h in order to maximize its range (around 135 kilometers). This makes the model suitable not only for inner-city applications but also for longer range trips. As a result, the Sprinter E-Cell easily handles the daily trips normally taken by delivery, crafts and service companies.
New distribution experts: The Antos and the Citan
Alongside the alternative drive concepts, Daimler’s commercial vehicle development engineers also trust in extremely economical vehicles with diesel engines. Renschler is convinced, “For the foreseeable future, efficient combustion engines are, and will remain, the most important lever when it comes to ensuring the cleanest distribution transportation possible. For the heavy-duty transport, we’re now offering the new Mercedes-Benz Antos, which complies with the most stringent emission standard at the moment: Euro VI. Despite its high-tech exhaust gas treatment system, the Antos still shines in terms of fuel consumption.”
Continuing, he said: “Our customers can also begin using the all-new Mercedes-Benz Citan for lighter payloads in September. This model, the smallest member of our commercial vehicle family, also makes no compromises as far as fuel savings are concerned.” With fuel consumption of only 4.3 liters/100 km and two diesel output variants with BlueEFFICIENCY technology, the new city van from Mercedes-Benz is the most economical vehicle in its class. But it is not just this great economy that sets the Citan apart from the rest; its tremendous dynamic handling, extremely high quality and exemplary safety also make a great impression.
Spectacular array of innovations
Visitors who enter the exhibition halls 14/15 can look forward to yet another highlight in the form of the Aerodynamics Trailer and Aerodynamics Truck prototypes. With their sophisticated aerodynamic features, they offer an example of innovative techniques for reducing fuel consumption. Greater fuel economy means lower costs for truck operators – and reduces resource consumption and the strain on the environment. The studies aren’t futuristic; instead, they lower fuel consumption in a very realistic and practical manner within the framework of legal stipulations. Initial tests on the road show that a semitrailer consisting of a new Mercedes-Benz Actros and the Aerodynamics Trailer achieves fuel savings of roughly 4.5 percent in long-distance applications. The Aerodynamics Truck generates an advantage of about 3.5 percent in distribution applications.
In Hanover, Mercedes-Benz is also presenting the first and to date only, complete Euro VI engine program, which consists of engines for trucks, buses and special-purpose vehicles. These engines, which are unrivaled in terms of emissions and economy, range from compact four-cylinder to six-cylinder units.
Renschler summarizes Daimler’s unique product show in Hanover as follows: “We develop and build commercial vehicles for various segments and for specific customer requirements – for today’s markets and the markets of tomorrow. However, all of these vehicles are designed with one goal in mind: We want to provide the world’s best technology to every customer in every market. That’s our claim.”