Scania’s Global CEO Henrik Henrikson has taken a swipe at Australia’s lack of will when it comes to mandating the latest Euro 6 emission standards and has told local media, that the Swedish truck maker is preparing itself for the ‘potential’ initial public offering (IPO) of its parent company Traton but for corporate reasons refused to actually confirm that there would be an IPO for the VW owned truck and bus conglomerate.
Henrikson was in Australia visiting the company’s local operations and meeting with key customers before flying to New Zealand.
The Swede expressed surprise that a ‘developed civilised country like Australia ‘ appears to be resisting a move to Euro 6 standards for trucks and buses.
‘There’s a lot of things that I’m impressed with coming to Australia. It’s been now I think two, three years since I was here last, there’s a lot of development, there is a lot of sophisticated customers both on trucks and on buses. It’s impressive to see the scale of professionalism and I think one of things that comes through is the focus on safety. I think it’s world-class, I haven’t seen it anywhere else in the world,” he said.
“But at the same time it’s a little bit surprising that you are still on Euro 5 in Australia, I mean with such a developed economy and with so many of our customers that are already using Euro 6 and most of the vehicles that we supply being Euro 6 already.
So why the legislatures are not following this is a little bit surprising. But all in all I would say very impressed with what we have seen this trip I and it just shows how the market is growing and the economy is extremely strong, it’s amazing,” the Scania chief said.
Henrikson said he truly believes that as a leader of big international company, he needs to lead a transformation and turn the company into a sustainable one.
“If you don’t do that you will simply not survive,” he said.
“This is because soon no one will buy our products or services, no one will invest money in the company and no one will like to work for you. So this is a matter of survival of the company as well. But we need to do this in partnership. Partnership with our cur customers and our customers’ customers and we need to make sure that we build alliances, sometimes unexpected alliances, to create this change,” Henrikson added.
In Australia if you look at the potential for utilising natural resources, agricultural resources, waste, we can already today utilise renewables to create biofuels in a much bigger scale than currently being used. Electrification will come of course eventually but in a big country with sort of the nature of Australia it will take a little bit longer but we can not just sit and wait as some sort of silver bullet for sustainability,” he said.
“No, that’s why we need to drive them, because we believe very much in things such as sustainably produced biofuels out of things like waste water creating biogas, coming out of maybe sugar cane production to create bioethanol and through other sorts of growth and agriculture products you create biodiesel, then we can reduce CO2 up to 95 per cent,” he added.
On the prospect of the Traton float, the wily Swede would not confirm or deny the massive projected IPO but said the company was preparing itself.
“If there will be an IPO of course that’s a decision for our owners, if they decide to do so we will be preparing ourselves for that,” Henrikson said with a grin.
“Regardless of what happens with the capital structure of Traton Group, what has happened within Traton, the former Volkswagen Truck and Bus, is that we have, during the last three years have found a modus operandi, a way of operating together and we have found how we should cooperate,” he said.
Henrikson said Scania and its German sibling within Traton, MAN have been cooperating mainly in purchasing, certain basic platform technologies and development for the future such as powertrains, electrification and autonomous vehicle systems.
“We also have the benefit of belonging to a Volkswagen group where we can get access to companies like Porsche and Audi and their technologies also, where we work closely together.
The Scania boss said the company has found ways to cooperate as a basic principle and that when it comes to conventional powertrains like engines and gear boxes they have found ways of how to work together to develop things to a certain level so that each brand maintains its own identity and purity.
“ Maybe 60 per cent of the development or something like that would be undertaken cooperatively and then it will allow a proper base for differentiation of the brands,” he said.
“We need to load our products with more technology because we have that position in the market, MAN have to sort of fit their own needs and Volkswagen Latin America has its demands and so on,” he added.
Henrikson believes that for Scania the greatest benefit would be the strength and resources of the Traton conglomerate and the synergies that will be coming.
“Where I really see we have a benefit is for instance in the fact we just launched a new truck range and we spent more than €2 billion investing in that new range. If we were on our own today we would probably say that, ‘Oh come on, let’s digest that investment, see how the depreciation and that sort of thing feels on the balance sheet and the income statement, and then let’s wait a few years before we kick off another big one.’
“Now however, since we’re part of a bigger group, we have already we kicked off the development of the next generation of powertrains,” Henrikson said.