by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

IAA Commercial Vehicles 2012: Daimler Already Presents Extensive Product Offensive Today

Today, Daimler AG called attention to two world premieres and one European premiere that it will display at the world’s biggest commercial vehicle exhibition in Hanover. A total of 16 vehicles were presented in Stuttgart as part of a preview for the IAA Commercial Vehicles, which will be held in Hanover on September 20-27, 2012. The vehicles ranged from the new Mercedes-Benz Citan city van, new urban buses and travel coaches from Mercedes-Benz and Setra, new green leaders in form of the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell crewbus and the Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid, to the heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Antos, which was introduced to the public as a new truck for heavy-duty delivery applications for the first time.

Daimler Trucks stays in the fast lane

Daimler Trucks, with its Mercedes-Benz brand in Europe and Brazil, its Fuso brand in Japan, and its Freightliner, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses brands in the U.S., can look back on a successful year in 2011 (sales and revenues: +20%, EbIT: +40%, return on sales: 6.5%). Andreas Renschler, the Daimler AG Board of Management member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, says the positive trend is continuing in 2012: “In the first five months, we were able to increase our global sales by 23 percent when compared to the same period last year. Altogether, we expect our truck sales to be higher in 2012 than last year, and our earnings will at least match those of 2011. We reiterate our return on sales target of eight percent across all business cycles beginning in 2013 and adhere to our Daimler Trucks sales target of 500,000 units in 2013 and 700,000 units in 2020.”

In order to confirm and expand its leading position in the global commercial vehicles industry, Daimler Trucks launched the initiative Daimler Trucks Number One (DT#1). Andreas Renschler explains, “DT#1 is the next stage in our Global Excellence program. DT#1 defines improvements of a magnitude of €1.6 billion until 2014, which will help to sustainably secure our profitability goals. The potential for improvement comes out of each business unit as well as out of the work packages spanning different business segments, which concentrate on initiatives for increases in sales and revenue and the utilization of synergies and economies of scale through platform and modular strategies.”

State-of-the-art technology for customers: Commercial vehicles with the highest levels of efficiency and environmental friendliness

The common goal for all brands and model series in Daimler’s commercial vehicles fleet is to ensure the highest levels of transport efficiency and environmental friendliness. Daimler offers the cleanest and most economical trucks and buses — all compliant with the Euro VI emissions standard – as well as extremely efficient and environmentally friendly vans. Despite the constraints presented by Euro VI, Daimler’s new trucks and buses consume less fuel than their predecessors. Renschler says the broad range of new products to be presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles is a testimony to the widespread technological leadership of Daimler’s commercial vehicle brands: “Our trucks, buses, and vans are among the most attractive vehicles worldwide — not just because they offer the quality, reliability, and service our customers expect, but also because our products set the benchmarks in terms of economy, safety, and environmental compatibility.”

World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Antos designed specifically for heavy-duty delivery applications
With the Antos, Mercedes-Benz is introducing a completely separate series of models specifically designed for delivery applications for the first time. Its two cabin lengths make it ideal for the requirements of heavy-duty delivery applications, and the vehicle itself sets new standards in terms of efficiency and handling. The Antos comes with new economical in-line six-cylinder engines that are available in three displacement classes: The OM 936 with 7.7 liters, the OM 470 with 10.7 liters, and the OM 471 with 12.8 liters displacement, which was first presented in 2011. These Euro VI engines combine powerful acceleration and quiet running with low fuel consumption and low exhaust gas emissions. They also exhibit long maintenance intervals of up to 150,000 kilometers.

New assistance systems: Greater safety, lower fuel consumption

The Actros long-distance haulage truck, which was successfully launched on the market last year, boasts with new assistance systems at the IAA. One example here is the new Active Brake Assist, which is now in its third generation. ABA 3, as the system is known, now also autonomously initiates a full braking maneuver to avoid a collision with stationary obstacles.

The Actros is equipped with another new system known as Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC), which links GPS information about the route ahead with the truck’s gear-shifting system. Thus, the vehicle is always driven in the gear that results in the best possible fuel economy.

Renschler believes this is another important step toward improving the total cost of ownership: “Around 90 percent of a vehicle’s total costs are generated after its purchase. Fuel costs play a major role here, and their impact is growing. In the triad, for example, they now account for nearly one third of the total costs. In other words: The end of gas guzzlers is near.”

Fuso: New Canter Eco Hybrid also pays off economically

Daimler’s Japanese subsidiary, Fuso, will present its own green highlight at the IAA in Hanover, as the brand’s hybrid drive system has been significantly refined in a vehicle based on the new light-duty Canter truck. As the first hybrid truck in its class, the new Canter Eco Hybrid will also go into production for the European market at the Fuso plant in Tramagal, Portugal, this fall. Thanks to this alternative drive technology, the 7.5-ton model consumes 23 percent less fuel than the Canter model with a diesel drive. With the Canter Eco Hybird, Fuso has successfully ensured that the hybrid system will be economical for its customers. This is a big step forward in the development of alternative drive systems.

Even more power with the Mercedes-Benz Citan city van

This also applies to Mercedes-Benz Vans, which set a record for earnings and return on sales last year. EbIT rose to €835 million in 2011 (+85% compared to 2010), while return on sales increased to 9.1% (2010: 5.8%). Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, plans to utilize all existing growth potential in the traditional markets in the coming years and to step up activities in markets with strong growth like China and Russia. He says that Vans will further expand its technology edge by offering attractive products as well. "2012 will also be a good year for Vans. In the second half of the year, we will generate even more momentum through the launch of our Citan city van,” Mornhinweg explains. “Our plan is to break the 400,000 sales mark by 2015, which would correspond to growth of more than 50 percent compared to 2011.”

Sprinter: Even more dynamic and economical

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter will come to the IAA with a seven-speed automatic transmission that is unique in the van segment: The 7G-Tronic transmission combines comfort with economy and driving dynamics. BlueEFFICIENCY technology in the Sprinter also sets a new milestone in terms of economy and clean driving. This — combined with a new long final drive ratio — results in outstandingly low fuel consumption, starting at seven liters per 100 km. The Sprinter also expands its lead in terms of safety with additional features for the ESP safety system.

Vito E-CELL crewbus: Electric drive for passenger transport

The Vito E-CELL crewbus emits no exhaust gases. It’s the first seven-seater with a pure electric drive, and it marks the next stage in the evolution of the successful Vito E-CELL. This production model, which is offered in 16 European countries, has zero emissions and is ideal for transporting passengers in areas that place a high priority on reducing pollution.

2013: Six percent return on sales for the bus business

Daimler Buses, with its Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands, kept pace with the market in 2011. Global bus sales rose by two percent compared to 2010, to 311,000 units. Daimler Buses sold about 40,000 units. This increase was primarily the result of strong demand for chassis, as the more lucrative sales of complete buses declined significantly. Even as the business remains difficult, there are positive signs. Daimler Buses is delivering 200 city buses to Istanbul, and a major order for 90 buses has been received from Rio de Janeiro. Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses, says, “Our share of the global market is 12 percent, which makes us the world’s number one manufacturer of buses over eight tons GVW. Despite the difficult market environment, we are determined to maintain our leading position. For this reason, we have launched our GLOBE 2013 growth and efficiency initiative. Our goal is to achieve a six percent return on sales across all business cycles beginning in 2013.”

World premiere: New Setra ComfortClass 500 boasts record drag coefficient values

The clean OM 470 Euro VI engine with a sophisticated exhaust gas aftertreatment system is being used in the model for the first time, yet the ComfortClass 500 still consumes less fuel than its predecessor. This is mainly due to the optimized lightweight design and aerodynamic improvements on the completely new Setra luxury coach. Its drag coefficient value of 0.33 is in fact the best in the industry.

Citaro: First Euro VI-compliant regular service bus

Outstanding fuel economy and low emissions were also among the specifications for the development of the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro urban bus. The world’s best-selling regular service bus boasts a new Euro VI engine (OM 936 or OM 470). Numerous improvements make up for the vehicle’s increased weight and lower its fuel consumption to an unprecedented level. Practical tests revealed an average of five percent lower fuel consumption. A particularly interesting detail is a new fuel-saving recuperation system that stores electricity generated without fuel during the thrust phase and then uses it in the braking phase to supply energy to auxiliary systems such as fans and lights.“

Credits: Daimler AG

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