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Daimler Cuts Sales Forecast as Class 8 Orders Stall


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Transport Topics  /  May 19, 2016

Daimler Trucks said it lowered its outlook for overall North American truck sales for Classes 6-8 in 2016 as orders for Class 8 trucks especially have not revived. It now forecasts sales will be off about 15% compared with 2015, down from its previous forecast of a 10% decline.

North American Class 8 orders have declined year-over-year for 14 consecutive months.

“The situation of global truck markets has been challenging for several months and has recently got worse. Especially in the Nafta region, but also in the Middle East, demand is weaker than previously expected,” Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler’s global truck and bus division, said in a statement.

Daimler’s statement did not provide estimated sales numbers for this year.

Daimler Trucks is a unit of Daimler AG and the parent company of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), which is the market leader in Classes 6-8 sales.

DTNA spokesman David Giroux told Transport Topics the company “could not comment at this time regarding further workforce reductions at its plants.”

In January, DTNA announced plans to lay off an estimated 936 employees, or 30% of the 3,100 workers at its Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant in North Carolina, which makes heavy-duty Freightliner and Western Star trucks.

U.S. Class 8 retail sales for DTNA, which also includes the niche nameplate Western Star, in 2015 were 100,214, good for a 40.3% market share.

“Although the forecast is for lower numbers than in 2015, we continue to anticipate a high level of earnings in the full year. 2016 will be one of Daimler Trucks’ most profitable years, due not least to the successful continuation of our efficiency actions,” Bernhard said.

“While the news [from Daimler] is certainly negative," Michael Baudendistel, an analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., wrote in a note to investors, "this reduced outlook does not come as a surprise given the weak year-to-date order data in Class 8 trucks, though Classes 5-7 orders have been somewhat stronger than anticipated, and due to the fact that we believe Daimler's prior guidance was somewhat optimistic. Following Daimler's reduction, their outlook is now roughly in line with our prior outlook.”

Baudendistel’s note last week forecast 2016 Class 8 production would be 230,000 units in North America, down nearly 30% from 2015 production of about 323,000 units. “Our estimate is below other analyst's current forecast of 236,522 units.”

Against this backdrop, Daimler Trucks said it will intensify the efficiency actions that are already being taken.

In Brazil, further workforce adjustments will have to be made, for which Daimler Trucks has made a voluntary severance offer, it said. In this context, Daimler Trucks anticipates expenses totaling up to about $112 million as a special reporting item in 2016.

However, nothing has changed with regard to the medium- and long-term growth drivers and success factors for the key markets of Daimler Trucks, the company said. “

Along with managing volatile truck markets, we continue to pursue our strategy systematically. With our technologically leading position, global presence and intelligent platform concepts, we will take further determined measures also in the future,” Bernhard said.

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Daimler Sees NAFTA Class 6-8 Market Dropping 15%

Heavy Duty Trucking  /  May 20, 2016

Citing “sustained contraction” of global truck markets— including North America-- Germany’s Daimler Trucks has adjusted its 2016 outlook. The OEM now expects its operating earnings will “significantly lower” this year vs. “the very good levels of last year.” On the other hand, the company added that its profitability this year will “remain very high.” 

While stressing that it is “defending its clear market leadership” in the NAFTA market, Daimler Trucks pointed out that “at the same time, there has been no revival of orders received, especially in the heavy-duty segment (Class 8).” 

In a May 19 press release, the parent company of Freightliner and Western Star said it now forecasts that the overall North American market for Class 6 to 8 trucks will “contract by approximately 15% in 2016.” 

The Germany-based OEM said the drop-off across the Atlantic can be offset only partially by a rising European truck market.

“Although demand in Europe is significantly higher than last year, the competitive situation has become much more intense and is influencing market players’ pricing,” the company stated. “Another factor is that the persistently low price of oil is having a sustained negative impact on [truck] demand in the Middle East.”

Daimler also said the outlook for developing markets in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey has been “worsening since the beginning of the year and continues to worsen.”

It expects the Brazilian market will contract by about 20%, thanks to the “political and thus also [the] economic situation” again deteriorating there. As for Indonesia, Daimler expects to see a decrease of about 15%. The OEM also sees “substantially lower” demand in Turkey, due both to purchases being brought forward to 2015 and the “very negative geopolitical conditions” in place.

“The situation of global truck markets has been challenging for several months and has recently got worse,” stated Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of the Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses divisions. 

“Especially in the NAFTA region, but also in the Middle East, demand is weaker than previously expected,” he continued. “We have therefore adjusted our outlook for the rest of this year. Although the forecast is for lower numbers than in 2015, we continue to anticipate a high level of earnings in the full year.”  

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