Heavy-Duty Mercedes-Benz Trucks on the Rise in Growth Markets of Central and Eastern Europe

Heavy-Duty Mercedes-Benz Trucks on the Rise in Growth Markets of Central and Eastern Europe
July 2008
  • International driving presentation takes new Mercedes-Benz Actros
    to nine EU member states
  • Mercedes-Benz clearly the market leader in half of the countries toured
  • Freight transport as engine and indicator of economic growth
Stuttgart – The international driving presentation of the new Actros, the flagship of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, is on tour through the growing transportation markets of Central and Eastern Europe. A convoy of Actros tractor-trailers is setting out from the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and driving through the Central European nations of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania to Bulgaria, the tour’s final destination.
The market for new trucks and semitrailers over 16 tons GVW in the nine tour countries reached a new record level in 2007, with approximately 59,300 units sold. That corresponds to an increase of more than 54% compared to the figure posted in 2006, when total sales in the market for heavy-duty trucks amounted to 38,400 units.
In recent years Daimler Trucks has recorded very strong sales of heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz trucks in these growth markets: the Mercedes-Benz brand is clearly the market leader in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania.
In Romania and in Slovakia, the brand is among the three leading manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks, and in the other three countries on the tour (Latvia, Poland and Hungary), it has the potential to share in the markets’ growth to an even greater extent.
Mercedes-Benz is responding to this challenge by aggressively expanding its sales network in terms of the number and quality of the local dealerships, with the objective of rapidly adapting infrastructure to the conditions of modern freight transport.
Overall, Mercedes-Benz Trucks expects that the dynamic growth in the nine markets will continue. Although they are clearly evident today, the differences in the levels of economic development in these countries and regions will continue to diminish. Major investments in traffic routes are leading to construction projects and further industrialization.
Commercial vehicles are playing a crucial role in this activity: Powerful, heavy-duty trucks are needed to provide infrastructure, and later - when manufactured goods are transported, to Western Europe in particular - there will be a need for safe, environmentally friendly trucks for long haulage. Thus, freight transport is always an engine of growth for the entire economy in these countries.
Moreover, a glance at the world of logistics in the eight EU countries of Central and Eastern Europe traversed by the new Actros shows that many developments from the “old” Western Europe are being repeated here. One example is fleet structure: the proportion of semi trailers among new vehicle registrations is steadily rising in the countries in question. In 2007 semitrailers accounted for an average of 61% of all registration of vehicles over 16 tons GVW from Estonia to Bulgaria.
A year earlier, the figure was 56%. The proportion of semitrailers relative to all vehicles can be seen as a clear indicator of growth in long haulage transport in a country’s logistics sector.
An overview of the nine EU markets of the Actors tour
Estonia - the total market for heavy-duty trucks grew by 23.6% in 2007 compared to the previous year, with sales of 1,647 units. 2007 sales of semitrailers were up 34% from the previous year’s level, more than three times the rate of truck chassis sales.
Holding a market share of 29.4%, Mercedes-Benz maintained its lead against strong competitors in the market of this Baltic nation in 2007. In all, 485 Mercedes-Benz heavy trucks were sold.
Latvia - the Latvian market for heavy-duty trucks expanded by almost 50% from 2006 to 2007. It grew by 920 units to 2,790 semitrailers and truck chassis, an increase of over 49%. The proportion of semitrailers sold, already high in 2006 at 71%, climbed four percentage points to 75%.
Mercedes-Benz succeeded in boosting its Latvian sales to 376 heavy-duty trucks, an increase of 60%. The truck chassis business accounted for a very large share of this growth. In this segment, the brand with the star registered growth of 174% in Latvia. On the Latvian market, where northern European competitors have traditionally enjoyed high levels of penetration in the market for heavy-duty trucks, Mercedes-Benz had an overall market share of 13.5%.
Lithuania - Relatively speaking, the third country on the Mercedes-Benz Eastern Europe tour grew at the same pace as its neighbor Latvia in 2007. A total of 4,445 new vehicles in the weight classes over 16 tons GVW were registered in Lithuania, an increase of 1,539 units or 53%. The proportion of semitrailers remained stagnant but high (2007: 65%).
The Mercedes-Benz brand convincingly maintained its leading position in Lithuania in 2007, with a market share of 26.7% and sales of 1,186 heavy-duty trucks. Here as well, the truck-trailer and chassis business plays a notable role as a central pillar in the success of the brand. Sales of semitrailers totaled 577 units for an increase of 20%.
Poland - The largest truck market of the Actros tour is Poland, the logistics hub of Central Europe. Of more than 59,300 new heavy-duty trucks that entered circulation in 2007 in the nine tour countries, one third (19,241 vehicles) were registered in Poland. Compared with results registered in 2006, new vehicle sales in Poland once more climbed by nearly 60% to a record level.
Mercedes-Benz heavy-duty trucks played a disproportionate role in this boom. In 2007, for instance, sales rose by 1,110 to 2,435 units (+84%) from the 2006 total. Mercedes-Benz thus increased its share of this important market, with the brand’s heavy-duty trucks accounting for a 12.7% market share as of December 2007 (2006: 11.7%).
Czech Republic - The currently third-largest market in the group of nine countries visited reached a size of 8,355 heavy trucks registered in 2007 – a growth of over 31% compared to the previous year (6,371 units). The proportion of trailer trucks was nearly 70% in 2007.
Sales of Mercedes-Benz heavy trucks increased by 50% in 2007 with 1.671 units compared to the total of 1.111 in the previous year. With a market share of 21.4% the brand Mercedes-Benz clearly demonstrated its status as the heavy trucks market leader in the Czech Republic.
Slovakia – The Slovak market for heavy-duty trucks increased in 2007 by 27% to 4,255 units compared to last year (2006: 3,338 units). The share of artics was constant at a level of 75%. Its market grew by a fourth up to 3,202 units.
Mercedes-Benz sold 762 heavy-duty trucks, a plus of 15% than in 2006. Its share of market was 17.9%. In the segment of rigids, the brand with the star is the market leader with a share of market of 23.8% or 251 sold units.
Hungary - The market for heavy-duty trucks in Hungary grew by slightly less than 18% in 2007 (from 3,669 to 4,320 vehicles). Sales of semitrailers, an indicator for conventional long haulage activity, increased by 34%, approximately twice as much as the market as a whole.
Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 505 heavy-duty trucks (previous year: 605 vehicles). The Mercedes-Benz market share in Hungary is almost 12% in the heavy-duty truck segment.
Romania - In 2007 the Romanian market for heavy-duty trucks showed practically explosive growth compared with 2006: sales increased by 6,116 units (+120%) for a total of 11,185 new vehicles. The development of the country from an agrarian to an industrial nation is particularly evident in these figures. Large-scale investments in highways and building construction require a large number of construction industry vehicles. At the same time, the expansion of industrial production (automotive) typically entails greater use of general-cargo or large-volume trucks.
The relative market results in Romania have been extremely positive for Mercedes-Benz. A total of 1,784 Mercedes-Benz trucks and semitrailers were sold in this country, now the second-largest market for heavy-duty commercial vehicles in the EU 9 group visited. This represents a growth rate of 144%, the highest among the markets in question.
Mercedes has steadily increased its market share here in recent years, reaching just under 16% as of December 2007 and making the brand number three among suppliers of heavy-duty trucks in Romania.
Bulgaria - This transit country with access to the Black Sea posted more growth in semitrailer sales than any other in 2007. A total of 1,770 vehicles were sold in this segment, increases of 267% and 1,287 units compared to the previous year. The number of newly registered truck chassis declined from 2,034 to 1,269 units.
Mercedes-Benz enjoyed a successful year on the overall market for heavy-duty trucks in 2007: the 836 Axor and Actros trucks and semitrailers sold represent sales growth of 16.1% compared to 2006. The brand controls a 27.5% share of the Hungarian market.
The new Actros
The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz Actros features 38 individual improvements that ensure outstanding economy, comfort and design. The inclusion of a fully automated gearshift, the Mercedes-PowerShift 2, as standard equipment is unique in the Actros’ market segment.
The new Actros features the very economical BlueTec engines, which have been proven over 100,000 times.
The engines are available in six V6 power classes (235 to 350 kW) and three V8 power classes (375 kW to 440 kW).
Depending on the market, the new Actros is offered with Safety, Economy or Comfort Packages, proving price advantages for the customers.

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  • 08A626
    Heavy-Duty Mercedes-Benz Trucks on the Rise in Growth Markets of Central and Eastern Europe: The photo shows the convoiy of Actros tractor-trailers driving through nine EU member states from Estonia to Bulgaria,  the tour´s final destination.
  • 08A627
    Heavy-Duty Mercedes-Benz Trucks on the Rise in Growth Markets of Central and Eastern Europe: The map shows the nine EU member states of the Eastern Europe tour.