The good health of the world market has enabled heavy trucks manufacturers to record good operational and financial results over the first half of 2011. There have been some hiccups, however, starting with the slowdown in world growth in the second quarter (Japanese catastrophe and uncertainty about the USA economy).
1. Sales evolution
Not all manufacturers publish delivery figures (MAN only reveals its order book and Paccar only its turnover), but the figures confirm to what extent they have been able to benefit from a growing world economy and from an increase in investments over the first half. A slowdown in growth over the second half has been noted in the second quarter, however, and this has particularly affected those manufacturers impacted by the Japanese catastrophe, Daimler Trucks heading the list.
At a European level, it is the heavy trucks market which has made the most progress, but this is also the segment which plummeted the most in 2009 and 2010. The comparative increases seen by Iveco and Mercedes on the one hand and Scania and Volvo Trucks on the other are therefore logical, even if the two Swedish brands have also gained market share in the over 16 tonnes market.
But all in the garden is not rosy. Scania, for example, depends heavily on the Brazilian market, which had been exceptionally high in 2010 and has slightly fallen back today. The Swedish manufacturer has therefore had to resort to flexible working measures for the second quarter.
Compared to the first half of 2010 (+ units)
Paccar (turnover) : + 54 %
Iveco : + 22.4 % (74,960)
MAN (orders) : + 28 %
Daimler Trucks : + 17 % (180,718)
Scania : + 48 % (36,568)
Volvo Trucks : + 72 % (54,566)
Iveco (Western Europe) : + 16.9 % (45,626)
Mercedes : + 29 % (27,241)
Scania : + 66 % (16,525)
Volvo Trucks : + 93 % (23,673)
In general terms, order books are standing at a higher level than sales figures.
Under these conditions, the profitability of the principal manufacturers has greatly improved, sometimes even achieving record levels, as is the case with Daimler. The same does not go for Scania, though, affected by the strong increase in value of the Swedish Krone and by the increase in raw materials prices. But its constant operating margin is nevertheless substantially higher than a good number of competitors.
Operating margins H1 2011 (2010)
Iveco : 4.5 % (1.5 %)
MAN : 7.8 % (3.7 %)
Scania : 15.2 % (15.2 %)
Volvo Group : 9.4 % (5.9 %)
At a global level, Daimler believes that the heavy trucks market will ‘grow moderately’ in 2011, mostly in view of the weaker growth in China (the end of state incentives), but the North American and European markets (up 30 to 35 %) and 35 to 40 % respectively) will increase by more. According to Harrie Schippers (president of DAF Trucks), the European market for over 15 tonnes is set to grow by 230 to 250,000 units this year.
Scania is to increase its theoretical production capacity to 120,000 vehicles per year (from 100,000 now) by investing, in particular, in its Swedish factories. Daimler Trucks, as a result of its record worldwide order book, expects to exceed its first half sales by the end of the year.
| 29/07/2011 | Claude Yvens