Saturday, December 5, 2009

Daimler Companies Active In Truck Global Development Including Electric And Hybrid Vehicles

Group Aims to Consolidate its Position as World Freight Vehicle Leader
Shipping News Feature

INDIA – RUSSIA – US – UK Daimler are already established as the number one truck producer in the world, and from news released over the past week or so it is plainly a position they intend to keep. After the break up with Hero Motors in April 2009 in the Indian market Daimler purchased the outstanding 40% of shares in their joint venture and swore to carry on alone in difficult market conditions. Now with infrastructure plans all over the subcontinent underway Daimler intend to start truck production at a new factory in Chennai from where they will market the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter truck a range of light vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonne GVW. Daimlers marketing division for the region report sales in excess of 470,000 last year and are reported to be seeking a viable partner to join this and other developments in the region.

India , like the deals mentioned in our recent piece on European tie ups, has seen numerous combination truck deals in the past year or so including deals involving MAN with Force Motors (formerly Baja Tempo), Volvo, Nissan and Ashok Leyland and Navistar (of whom more later) with Mahindra and Mahindra.

As with the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus division, an almost wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, the group has other companies actively developing markets elsewhere. In Russia, the largest truck market in Europe, via its Freightliner and Mercedes Benz ranges the company has now announced its intention in taking a larger stake in the joint ventures with KamAz, the country’s largest truck manufacturer. Originally a deal was proposed for Daimler to hold a large proportion of stock in the deal but the realities of the economy at the time prevented this. Now Daimler believe the time is right to invest more and are about to take a 50% share in ventures between the two. Under the banner Fuso Kamaz Trucks Rus the Mitsubishi Fuso sector of the group will produce light vehicles in partnership with KamAz using imported components and Mercedes Benz / KamAz will create Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok (MBTV) to initially manufacture Mercedes-Benz Actros and Axor trucks, starting in the second quarter of 2010.

The partnerships have cost the two groups precisely €10 million each. In addition Daimler also took a 10% holding in KamAz. This looks small beer to the Indian investment which some sources put as high as €700 million. Daimler revenue globally is reported as in excess of €28 billion.

In other Daimler group news Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation are in collaboration with Enova from the USA to produce an all electric van centred around Freightliners popular MT-45 van chassis. The race is on to capture the worlds urban delivery sector with US based Navistar this week tying up a deal with Modec, UK leading electric truck producer. The new group will run under the name Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, LLC and involved Navistar buying a portion of the Borwick Group, Modec’s owners. Founder of the group Lord Jamie Borwick said,

"This is fantastic news for Modec and Navistar. Modec has a lead in the purpose built pure electric commercial vehicle sector and we are delighted that Navistar has recognised the key advantage of combining Modec electric vehicle technology with their strong position in the US truck market. Navistar’s market leadership, coupled with their proven track record of clean vehicle technology, makes them a perfect strategic alliance for Modec."

His comments were echoed by the President of Navistar Trucks Dee Kapur who added,

“ We see this as an ideal vehicle for the U.S. urban markets. We already have interested customers, including some of the most respected names in the industry."

Pic: Navistar /Modec tie up the deal this week which was originally announced in August.