In 2017, business development at Daimler Buses was strongly influenced by the recovering economic conditions in Latin America and a significant sales increase in India. Lower demand for our buses in Turkey had a negative impact. Our earnings, which were at the very good level of the previous year, enabled us to achieve a 5.6 % return on sales. As the market leader in its most important traditional core markets, Daimler Buses focuses on innovative and pioneering city buses and coaches. In 2017, Daimler Buses once again presented itself as a future-oriented manufacturer with new products and digital services, a “future package” for our production network, and the implementation of the CASE strategy.
C.07 Daimler Buses
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||5.6||6.0||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||94||97||-3|
|Research and development expenditure |
|Employees (December 31)||18,292||17,899||+2|
C.08 Unit sales by Daimler Buses
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||12,740||9,837||+30|
Earnings at the prior-year level
Daimler Buses sold 28,700 buses and bus chassis worldwide in financial year 2017 (2016: 26,200). The significant increase was due in particular to the gradual recovery of the economy in Brazil. The division thus maintained its clear market leadership in its most important traditional core markets (EU30, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico). Sales of complete buses in the EU30 region were at the same high level as in the previous year. Revenue grew by 4 % and EBIT of €243 million was at the prior-year level (2016: €249 million).
Varied business development in the core regions
In the EU30 region, the Daimler Buses brands Mercedes-Benz and Setra offer a full range of city buses, intercity buses and touring coaches, as well as bus chassis. Due to the continued high demand for our complete buses, unit sales in this region amounted to 8,700, remaining roughly at the high level of the prior year (2016: 8,800 units). Daimler Buses maintained its leading market position in the EU30 region with a market share of 28.4 % (2016: 29.6 %). At 3,100 units, sales in Germany were at the same level as in the previous year. Sales of 400 units in Turkey were significantly lower than in the prior year (2016: 600) due to the country’s economic situation, which remains difficult. The market situation in Latin America (excluding Mexico) improved considerably on account of the gradually recovering market in Brazil. The bus market volume in Brazil grew by 10 % in the year under review after having bottomed out in 2016. Sales of Mercedes-Benz bus chassis in Brazil rose by 46 % to 7,200 units. We were able to maintain our leading market position in Brazil with a market share of 52.5 % (2016: 58.4 %). In India, we continued along our growth path and increased our sales to 900 units (2016: 500). At 3,400 units, sales in Mexico were significantly lower than in the previous year (2016: 3,800).
The benchmark: the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid
In the year under review, Daimler Buses continued its model offensive with the Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid and other models. Hybrid drive is available for many model variants of the best-selling Citaro city bus, including the natural-gas-powered Citaro NGT. Hybrid drive, together with the new electro-hydraulic steering system, further reduces the fuel consumption of the conventional Citaro, which is already highly efficient, depending on the vehicle’s application and specifications. The further reduced fuel consumption quickly pays off for transport companies, and society and the environment benefit from the decrease in emissions.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT | Trailer
Outstanding new touring coaches: the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo and the Setra double-decker S 531 DT
Another focus area of the product offensive was the new version of the successful Mercedes-Benz Tourismo touring coach. New assistance and safety systems such as Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA4) with pedestrian detection make the new Tourismo even safer. Fuel consumption continues to fall, thanks to its optimized aerodynamics and the further improvement of its chassis compared with the predecessor model. With four model variants, the new Mercedes-Benz Tourismo addresses the wide range of customer needs in the coach segment. The product offensive is also paying off in the growing intercity-bus business.
The new Setra S 531 DT double-decker bus continues our coach offensive. Thanks to improved aerodynamics, it consumes significantly less fuel than its predecessor. In addition, it is equipped as standard with an emergency braking system with obstacle and pedestrian recognition, and Sideguard Assist for taking the blind spot into account is offered as an optional extra.
The new Setra Doubledecker S 531 DT
The countdown for our electric city bus has begun
By the end of 2018, Daimler Buses plans to begin series production of a city bus with fully electric drive based on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro. The battery-electric Citaro has already undergone an extensive cycle of testing and test drives. Its prototypes have successfully completed a winter test cycle under below-zero conditions at the Arctic Circle and a summer test cycle under very high temperatures. The cycles are being followed by endurance testing and detailed fine tuning. The bus has reached such a degree of maturity that the brand is already participating in invitations to tender. The first statement of intent for the purchase of this electric city bus was already signed at the end of 2017. As a result, we plan to deliver the first buses starting in late 2018 and to put them into operation in a customer-oriented vehicle testing program.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus
Furthermore, Daimler Buses is conducting the “eMobility Consulting” initiative to advise its customers on issues related to electric mobility. In this context, we work together with our customers to analyze each specific starting situation and use it as a basis for developing a holistic system with the highest possible proportion of electric mobility. In the process, we consider not only the vehicles themselves but also the charging infrastructure, the operating plan and the service concepts.
New bus models for the African market
Daimler Buses is launching two new bus models on the market in Kenya. Both bus models will be manufactured for the local market in cooperation with the division’s local sales partner DT Dobie Kenya in Nairobi. The Mercedes-Benz 917 city bus was designed for city, school and shuttle operation, and the Mercedes-Benz 1730 is ideal for long-distance routes.
The new umbrella brand Omniplus On for all digital services
Starting in 2018, we plan to consolidate our digital services for buses under the umbrella brand Omniplus On in a single portal. For example, the Uptime feature continuously monitors and analyzes the vehicle systems and indicates when maintenance or repair is needed. The Driver’s App supports the communication of drivers and companies and helps them carry out the required pre-departure checks. The Remote Bus feature provides essential data. Thanks to these features, our customers have a wide variety of information available to them for supporting the efficient deployment of their fleets.
Daimler Buses receives many major orders
In the year under review, Daimler Buses received a large number of major orders. The local transportation authority in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, ordered more than 600 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses — the biggest single order for Mercedes-Benz Citaro city buses in the history of Daimler Buses. Two major orders were concluded in Poland: 80 Mercedes-Benz Conecto buses for Warsaw and 60 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses for the local transport operator in Wrocław. In addition, EMT Madrid ordered an additional 300 vehicles. A framework agreement was signed with the Italian transport operator AGI for 300 buses, and another contract with BusItalia covered a total of 950 vehicles.
A future package to enhance efficiency in production and the implementation of CASE
As part of a new target vision, Daimler Buses is making its production network in Europe fit for the future. Within this context, in the years ahead, we aim to invest approximately €340 million in optimized structures and more efficient processes in the manufacturing network, as well as in the implementation of the CASE strategy at Daimler Buses.
Strategic cooperation with CleverShuttle for mobility on demand
Daimler Buses has become a strategic investor in the Berlin-based mobility service CleverShuttle. Through a minority holding, the division is entering into a strategic cooperation for mobility on demand — in other words, mobility services that are designed to flexibly meet customer demand.
Award-winning products from Daimler Buses
At the Busworld international buses trade fair in Kortrijk, Belgium, Daimler Buses was honored with five awards. The panel of experts granting the Busworld Awards honored the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo M and Citaro hybrid bus models with two awards each. And the Setra S 516 HD touring coach in the ComfortClass received the Sustainable Bus Award for 2018 from the international panel of judges.