COVID-19 affects the entire industry, the general market and also Daimler Buses as a company. After a successful year in 2019, the company’s core markets declined significantly in the first half year of 2020 and the major impact of COVID-19 is expected to continue on the bus/coach markets in the second half year of 2020. The coach segment is the most affected. This is because travel traffic was brought to a complete standstill for several weeks. This has affected almost all our core markets, such as Europe, Brazil and Mexico.
These developments are also reflected in Daimler’s sales volume figures for the third quarter of 2020: Daimler Buses achieved a sales figure of 5,100 (previous year: 9,000) units in the third quarter of 2020. The significant decrease is due to the worldwide consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic. In the EU30 region, Daimler Buses sold 1,900 units of complete buses and chassis of the Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands, 23% fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year. Despite the significant decline in the market and unit sales, Daimler Buses was able to achieve stable market shares in all segments.
With regards to political initiatives seen in Germany for example that the BMVI (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) had made €170 million available to coach companies. The programme has contributed to the fact that heavily affected bus companies did not disappear directly from the surface.
In the last few months Daimler had many positive initiatives in the fight against COVID-19. In April, for example, it converted an intercity bus into a special vehicle for the transfer of COVID-19 patients at the Neu-Ulm site (Germany) in just three weeks.
“We sewed mouth-nose masks in our seat production facility to meet our own needs at our plants; we “printed” Face Shields in our Center of Competence 3D printing; and we made the computing power of our server center’s available for medical research that was not needed during the short-time work phase. In the meantime, a Setra intercity bus is also in use as a mobile COVID 19 test station. This was also converted by our employees in Neu-Ulm,” stated Till Oberwörder, Head of Daimler Buses.
There are glimmers of hope in the UK & Ireland with a handful of operators operating day trips, so clearly there is still an appetite out there for travel albeit on a much smaller scale currently. People do love travelling and discovering new places so the bus and coach industry will recover once international tourism starts again.