Pandemic hits Daimler sales
Like many companies in the bus and coach manufacturing world, Daimler Buses‘ 2020 performance was significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the year, Daimler Buses sold 20,200 complete buses and chassis, almost 40% below the sales result of 2019.
The manufacturer highlighted that the global bus markets recorded a significant decline of almost 40% in 2020, with the core markets of Daimler Buses dropping 45%. The coach segment in all core markets, such as Europe, Brazil and Mexico, was hardest hit due to the cessation of all tourist activities. In the core European market, the coach market fell by almost 60% in 2020 compared to the prior year. A downward trend was also noticeable in the city bus and intercity bus segments.
Daimler Bus reports sales in Germany were satisfactory last year. With a full 3,000 units sold, sales were at the prior-year level, with city bus business proving very good.
Daimler Buses expects the market environment in the bus industry to remain tense in 2021. Given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it notes the situation remains particularly difficult for coach operators. It is currently experiencing very low incoming orders, which it believes is likely to lead to declining sales in the coach segment.
Till Oberwörder, Head of Daimler Buses, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the entire bus industry in the past year and the situation in global bus markets will remain tense in 2021 as well. Our broad and worldwide positioning with a comprehensive product portfolio helps us in relation to the countermeasures we have taken, such as maintaining cost discipline. In fiscal year 2021 we will continue to ‘drive by sight’ and remain confident. When the pandemic is behind us people will want to travel again, which will normalise our business. We’re keeping a sharp eye on our future: we continue to invest in our strategic projects such as CO2-neutral mobility. Our goal is to shape the transformation in our industry and to put sustainable and efficient mobility solutions on the road.”
Focusing on long-term goals, Daimler Buses aims to continue to maintain and build on market positions in the most important sales regions around the world. The manufacturer believes that numerous large orders, despite the challenging market situation, underscore that this strategy is paying off: in 2020 Daimler Buses was awarded a contract for a total of 415 city and intercity bus units for Israel and 500 city buses for Morocco. Furthermore, the first of a total of 112 intercity buses for Sweden were delivered in December. The bus business expanded its product portfolio in 2020 with the Mercedes-Benz Intouro. Daimler Buses also recently launched the new OF 1621 bus chassis in the Brazilian market.
With its Regional Centers (RC) Daimler Buses is expanding its global market presence, as it is doing in Asia. The objective is to take advantage of growth opportunities offered by bus markets in Southeast Asia.
Covid-19 retrofit solutions for customers and buses for new applications that contribute to fighting pandemics
In order to protect its customers and, therefore, bus drivers and passengers from being infected with the corona viruses in pandemics, Daimler Buses has developed numerous retrofit solutions for hygiene and infection protection. The portfolio includes, for example, protective driver doors with a partition, sensor-controlled dispensers for disinfectants and antiviral high-performance particle filters. These filter the finest aerosols in an air exchange that takes place every two minutes via the standard air conditioning in coaches.
Daimler Buses is also focusing on driving forward the electrification of CO2-neutral passenger transport. Its eCitaro electric bus is currently available with up to 12 lithium-ion battery packs and, as of this year, is also available with the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. In 2020 Daimler Buses launched the new Mercedes-Benz eCitaro articulated bus and the new solid-state battery.
Daimler Buses’ goal of reducing fuel consumption in coaches and city buses by more than 18 tons and by 20% from 2005 to 2020 was 90% achieved for touring coaches and 100% for city buses, the latter thanks in large part to the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid.