HANOVER, GERMANY. After a global slump in 2009, the world truck market is now “like an athlete after a major injury,” according to the head of Daimler Trucks (DTNA -- NYSE:DAI), Andreas Renschler. “We’re far away from the shape of our lifetime, but we’re making significant progress in rehab.”
Speaking at a press event on the eve of the 63rd IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, the Daimler board member who runs its truck businesses pointed to predictions of a 4.6% growth in global GDP and 7% growth in global trade volumes this year as “good news.” With global recovery, Renschler said, “the commercial vehicle business recovers as well. …More trade means more transport.”
Daimler sees “a moderate recovery pace” continuing in the U.S., with no “double-dip” recession expected. Brazil remains “red hot” and Asia will “see a significant upward trend” driven largely by China and India, Renschler said. With Germany’s GDP for 2010 forecast at 3.5%, it will drive European CV sales despite continued economic uncertainty in Spain and Greece, and “Eastern Europe and Turkey are developing very strong,” he added. “All in all … we’re moving in the right direction.”
Turning to future drivers of the global CV industry, Renschler identified three “decisive trends”: further globalization of the CV business, more application of electric and hybrid electric truck technology, and greater focus by truck builders on services.
Addressing globalization, Renschler said that the newly emerging economies of the “Next 11” countries could expect an average of 4% GDP growth over the next 20 years. The Next 11, which includes Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Mexico, Vietnam, Korea and Nigeria, “have the potential to be among the global economic Top 20 one day,” he said.
“Think about it: The commonality rate of a heavy-truck can be up to 70% right now,” Renschler said. “Trucks for Asia or the U.S. could share the majority of their parts in the future.”
Daimler’s philosophy in this emerging globalization of the truck-building industry is “As local as necessary, as global as possible,” he said.
While diesel will remain “the backbone of road transport,” the world’s growing urbanization will drive a growing market for medium- and light-duty electric trucks, including hybrids, Renschler predicted.
While “less spectacular” than globaization or electric power, the future impact of customer services “is equally fundamental,” according to Renschler. Customers are demanding more services to maximize uptime and minimize total cost of ownership, he said.
“By the year 2020, for every Euro in sales we can expect to make more than 50 cents on services,” he said. “Today we get just half of that.”Calling truck manufacturing “a growth business,” Renschler said the changes he sees mean “The ‘good old days’ in our industry are gone. But that’s OK because we’re now heading towards very good new days.”