DAIMLER BUSES GAINS BEST RETURN ON SALES IN THE INDUSTRY
In 2016, the bus division of the Daimler Group once again achieved the best return on sales in the industry of 6.2 percent (adjusted for special items), which is also slightly above its own target. Despite the continuation of very disparate markets, Daimler Buses increased its earnings by 28 percent to €258 million (2015: €202 million). The division’s earnings were therefore substantially higher than in the previous year.
The strong business with complete buses in Western Europe made a significant contribution to this success. With approximately 3,000 buses delivered, the Setra brand actually posted record unit sales in 2016. This shows that the division’s strategy is paying off; Daimler Buses is very well positioned also in a difficult market environment. Daimler Buses sold a total of 26,200 buses and bus chassis worldwide in 2016 (2015: 28,100). The bus division therefore successfully defended and in some cases extended its undisputed market leadership in its core markets in the segment for buses with a gross vehicle weight of over eight tons. Furthermore, new markets were entered, for example with exports from Brazil and India to Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The main driver of the success of Daimler Buses in 2016 was the core market of Europe, where the strong business with complete buses paid off. Daimler Buses increased its unit sales in Europe (European Union, Switzerland and Norway) by about three percent to 8,800 vehicles (2015: 8,600). With a market share of approximately 30 percent, the division continues to be the number one in the European bus business by a clear margin. Sales of 1,700 units by BusStore, the brand for used vehicles in Europe, were at the level of the previous year.
In Germany, sales actually increased by ten percent to 3,100 units (2015: 2.800). A key factor here was the ongoing growth of the long-distance bus business. About 25.3 million travelers used this service in 2016. Of that total, 16.6 million were on journeys within Germany (plus 3.8 percent) and 8.7 million were on cross-border journeys (plus 19.2 percent), so the growth in cross-border traveling was far stronger. Experts anticipate moderate growth of the long-distance-bus market also in 2017, which should have a positive impact on Daimler Buses’ business.
As expected, the Brazilian bus market declined again in 2016. With contraction of 34 percent, it reached its lowest point for many years. Despite this difficult environment, Daimler’s bus division increased its market share by nearly 6 percent and is the undisputed market leader with a share of more than 58 percent. Furthermore, Brazil has developed into an important export hub for Daimler Buses. From Brazil alone, a total of more than 6,000 buses were exported to neighboring countries of Latin America such as Argentina, Chile and Peru, but also to the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and Africa. For its global business, Daimler Buses is making intelligent use of favorable exchange-rate effects arising from the weak real in Brazil.
India is playing an increasingly important role for Daimler Buses with entry into new markets. For just over a year now, the new plant in Chennai has been supplying customized school buses and complete buses to markets in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Approximately 430 units were exported last year. In addition, the plant of course also produces for the local market. About 500 buses were delivered to customers in India in the first full year of production.