Daimler's soon to be spun-off trucks unit says it expects to see an increase in sales in 2021.  

Daimler Truck said it saw a recovery of truck markets in the second half of 2020 and that positive order intake signals a growth course. Indeed, the company said Q4 of 2020 was one of the strongest quarters for orders in the company's history.

Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG and Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG said: "Our business picked up significantly in the second half of 2020, and we will maintain this momentum in the current year. We are pursuing two strategic goals: First, we want to fully exploit our earnings potential. Here - with a planned return on sales of six to seven percent - we will take a major step forward this year. Secondly, we want to shape the transformation of our industry from the top. Here, too, we will reach important next milestones in 2021. In zero-emission transportation, we are bringing our Mercedes-Benz eActros heavy-duty distribution truck into series production."

Daum also said that DT is testing a next generation highly automated prototype on additional routes in New Mexico.

Over 2020 COVID-19 caused a decrease of around 30 percent in both the North-American and EU30 market region. In the second quarter, most severely affected by COVID-19, truck markets in North America and Europe even dropped by more than half compared to April and May of the previous year. Naturally, this development has had an impact on the company's unit sales, revenues and earnings.

With approximately 378,500 trucks and buses delivered, Daimler Trucks & Buses 2020 unit sales were around one-third below the prior-year level (previous year: 521,100).

As a result of this significant decrease in unit sales volume, the company's revenue dropped to around € 35 billion in 2020 (previous year: € 44 billion). The adjusted EBIT (earnings before interests and taxes) was € 678 million (previous year: €2,672 million). The adjusted Return on sales (RoS) in 2020 was at 2.0 percent, and thus down on previous year of 6.0 percent. Cash flow before interest and taxes (CFBIT) amounted to € 2,513 million in the reporting year (previous year: € 2,654 million).

In 2020, research and development expenditure of Daimler Trucks & Buses amounted to € 1.5 billion (previous year: € 1.7 billion). Despite pandemic-related reductions in the development budget, the topics of automated driving, electromobility  – including the eActros – and connectivity played an important role. Other areas of focus included successor generations for existing products, fuel efficiency and the reduction of emissions, as well as tailor-made products and technologies for important growth markets.

DT said a noticeable recovery occurred in Q4 in the most important markets and regions, especially North America and the EU30. Daimler Trucks sold a total of approximately 121,000 units in Q4 of 2020, compared with only about 61,000 units in the second quarter, which was hit hardest by the pandemic.

Another positive signal for a return to normality in this context is order intake, which for Daimler Trucks & Buses in the full year 2020 was practically back at the prior-year level. With an order intake of approximately 175,000 units, Q4 of 2020 was also one of the strongest quarters for orders in the company's history.

For the year 2021, Daimler Truck AG assumes that the global economy will recover strongly after last year's deep recession. This economic revival should also result in an increase in demand for the most important truck markets. For the North America and EU30 regions, the company therefore expects a significant increase in the markets for heavy trucks. Daimler Trucks expects a slight increase in the Brazilian market. In Japan, market volume is expected to remain at approximately the prior-year level. Daimler Trucks & Buses expects to benefit from this market development and anticipates a significant increase in unit sales in the 2021 financial year. The company also expects its revenue in the 2021 financial year to be significantly above the prior-year level. Daimler Trucks is aiming for a significant increase in adjusted return on sales to six to seven percent.