Business development in 2016 was again negatively affected by the difficult economic situation in Latin America, leading to a sharp decrease in unit sales. However, thanks to the positive development of our business with complete buses, we were able to achieve a slight increase in revenue. Earnings significantly surpassed the good level of the prior year, and achieved our target for return on sales of 6 %. As the leading bus manufacturer in its traditional core markets, Daimler Buses focuses on innovative and forward-looking city buses and coaches. Our presentation of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus in 2016 marked a new milestone on our path to the mobility of the future.
Earnings significantly above the prior-year level
Daimler Buses sold 26,200 buses and bus chassis worldwide in financial year 2016 (2015: 28,100). This significant decrease in unit sales was largely due to the ongoing poor economic situation in Brazil. Nevertheless, the division was able to maintain its clear leading position in its traditional core markets, i.e. the EU30 region, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and Mexico. Sales of complete buses in the EU30 region were once again higher than in the prior year. Revenue rose slightly from the prior year (+2 %), while EBIT increased substantially to €249 million (2015: €214 million).
C.07 Daimler Buses
|€ amounts in millions||% change|
|Return on sales (in %)||6.0||5.2||.|
|Investment in property, plant and equipment||97||104||-7|
|Research and development expenditure||202||184||+10|
|Employees (December 31)||17,899||18,147||-1|
C.08 Unit sales by Daimler Buses
|Latin America (excluding Mexico)||9,837||11,909||-17|
Varied business development in core regions
In the EU30 region, the Daimler Buses brands Mercedes-Benz and Setra offer a full range of city buses, intercity buses and coaches, as well as bus chassis. Thanks to a significant improvement in our business with complete buses, sales in the region increased by 3 % to 8,800 units. Strong demand for our Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses led to an increase in sales in Germany to 3,100 units (2015: 2,800). Daimler Buses also further expanded its leading position in the EU30 region with a market share of 29.7 % (2015: 29.5 %). At 600 units, sales in Turkey were significantly lower than in the prior year (2015: 1,000) due to the difficult situation in that country. The ongoing economic difficulties in Latin America (excluding Mexico), especially in Brazil, led to a significant further deterioration in the region, with the Brazilian bus market reaching its lowest point for many years in 2016. Sales of Mercedes-Benz bus chassis in Brazil declined by double digits once again (-32 %) to 4,900 units. Nonetheless, we were able to significantly expand our leading position in Brazil to a market share of 58.4 % (2015: 52.5 %). At 3,800 units (2015: 4,000), sales in Mexico were slightly lower than in the previous year.
Daimler Buses is a pioneer in autonomous driving
Daimler Buses, a leading provider of mobility solutions, achieved a major milestone on the road to autonomous urban driving in 2016. In July, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot drove partially autonomously for the first time on a public road that is part of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) route in Amsterdam. The key technical component of the Future Bus is the CityPilot, which is based on the Highway Pilot system presented two years ago in the autonomous version of the Mercedes-Benz Actros truck. Highway Pilot technology was extensively enhanced for the specific application in a city bus, and several new features were added. With its numerous cameras and sensors, the city bus can recognize and communicate with traffic lights, can brake and accelerate on its own, react autonomously to obstacles and pedestrians, and drive up to bus stops. Through this intelligent networking of assistance systems, Daimler Buses has been able to improve the efficiency of city buses, notably by lowering their fuel consumption. In addition, the networked technology makes things easier for bus drivers in stressful city traffic and also enhances safety. The Future Bus thus marks another step toward the vision of accident-free driving. With this forward-looking design, integrated infotainment systems and e-ticketing solutions, Daimler Buses is also demonstrating how city buses can be made even more attractive and comfortable for passengers. Daimler Buses will invest approximately €200 million in the further development of its city bus lineup between now and 2020.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: The first autonomous city bus
Expansion of innovative services
Daimler Buses will continue expanding its range of innovative services that offer real added value to customers. Our goal is to reduce downtime and maintenance requirements and optimize the total cost of ownership even further. With this in mind, Daimler Buses established a new unit known as Mobility Solutions in 2016. The new team is responsible for the further development of existing business models, as well as the development of entirely new mobility solutions for the international bus business. The team also addresses the challenges faced by the passenger transport sector as a result of trends such as increasing urbanization and drive-system electrification.
Innovations at IAA Commercial Vehicles 2016
At the trade exhibition IAA Commercial Vehicles 2016, Daimler Buses presented a comprehensive range of solutions for future bus mobility as provided by its Mercedes-Benz and Setra product brands and its OMNIplus and BusStore service brands. Along with the partially autonomous Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot, the highlights included the natural-gas powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT city bus and a new locally manufactured Mercedes-Benz school bus for the Indian market. The IAA presentation also focused on innovative services such as a new tele-diagnosis system for the 24-hour service program, which can significantly reduce downtime in the event of a breakdown.
Further efficiency gains and the roadmap for alternative drive systems
Daimler Buses has been able to further improve the fuel efficiency and environmental compatibility of its products through the use of innovative technologies. We are working continually on the further optimization of the combustion engine. Fuel savings of up to 8 % have already been achieved through the launch of Euro VI bus models. And use of the latest generation of the OM 470 and OM 471 diesel engines, as well as vehicle-related measures, have led to a further reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of up to 4 %. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT natural-gas city bus represents another milestone on the road to emission-free driving. The CO2 emissions of the Mercedes-Benz natural-gas engine are up to 10 % lower than those produced by a diesel engine. When organic natural gas is used as fuel, the bus is virtually CO2 neutral, with emissions well below the limits stipulated by the Euro VI emissions standard in some cases. Daimler Buses also continues to implement its roadmap for alternative drive systems. Among other things, the roadmap calls for the launch of series production of the Citaro E-Cell electric city bus in 2018. Daimler Buses is also developing a holistic system for providing customers with advice on electric mobility issues. The goal here is to offer customers products that are perfectly tailored to their needs and to local aspects such as existing infrastructure, route arrangements, topography and vehicle-range requirements.
New Mercedes-Benz Travego coach with an efficient combustion engine
In 2016, Daimler Buses presented a new forward-looking coach for the Turkish market — the Mercedes-Benz Travego 15 SHD. This new Travego has a length of 12 meters and can accommodate 46 passengers. The bus is powered by an OM 470 Euro VI engine with Bluetec technology. This engine is more efficient than previous engine models and also further reduces both exhaust gas emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, the new Travego underscores Daimler Buses’ technology leadership in the area of accident-free driving, as the coach features numerous safety systems as standard equipment, including AEBS 3 (anticipatory emergency braking system), ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), SPA (Lane Assistant) and FCG (Front Collision Guard).
Numerous awards for Daimler Buses
At the end of the year under review, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus received the Sustainability Award 2017 from the busplaner trade journal in the category Technology/Urban Regular-Service Bus. The award is presented to manufacturers with outstanding products and ideas that make a verifiable contribution to environmental protection and thus to sustainability around the world. In addition, a reader survey conducted by EuroTransportMedia-Verlag resulted in first-place finishes for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro in the Urban Regular-Service Bus category and for the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo in the Midibus category. The Setra TopClass 500 HDH came out on top in the High-deck Coach Category. Finally, Daimler Buses Latin America was presented with the 2016 Latin American Bus and Coach Chassis Price/Performance Value Leadership award by the Frost & Sullivan corporate consulting firm.