Truck sales by industry leader Daimler were up 23 percent in the first seven months of the year, thanks to strong demand in Asia and North America for its Freightliner and Fuso vehicles, a top executive said on Friday.
"As a global truck manufacturer we are less affected by a shrinking European market than other manufacturers, since other regions like North America are growing," Daimler Trucks chief executive Andreas Renschler told Reuters.
Its January-July sales rose to 268,344 trucks, as volumes in Asia and the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) region rose 52 percent and 33 percent respectively. Sales elsewhere fell 8 percent. Asia now accounts for four out of every 10 trucks Daimler delivers.
Due to recent deals to expand production into emerging markets such as China and Russia, Renschler said he did not see any more gaps on the map in need of production sites, although it may develop another assembly plant.
Such assembly plants lack the capital-intensive body and paint shops in a manufacturing plant and are thus a low-investment means of assembling vehicles from kits imported into in smaller countries where trade barriers are high.
Nor was he concerned about the impact of the soft European market for its major manufacturing plants like Woerth in southern Germany.
"Woerth and our component plants (in Germany) are well utilised, even if they are not running flat out. We have sufficient flexibility ... and we are not manufacturing for the stockpile," he said.
Speaking ahead of the week-long Hanover truck show that begins on September 20, Renschler reaffirmed his division's full-year forecasts for the overall market and for the company's own operating profits to at least be flat compared with last year.
He was also confident that next year should also see good results from its emerging market activities.
"Our new Indian subsidiary Bharat Benz will only require marginal investments starting next year following the roughly 120 million euros invested this year... The joint ventures with Foton in China contributes positively to our profits and the Kamaz joint venture in Russia is profitable," he said.
Last year Daimler Trucks reported revenues of 28.8 billion euros and an operating profit of 1.9 billion euros.
(Editing by Maria Sheahan and Greg Mahlich)