Christian Levin, President and CEO

Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle arm, Traton Group has announced strong 2022 half year results saying that the company had performed well in an extremely challenging environment.

The Company said it saw a positive impact from its growing service business and the success of its ‘strategy to increase its global footprint by entering the North American market’, continuing the positive trend of the first quarter.

Traton’s incoming orders in the first half of 2022 were down four per cent year-on-year with around 164,200 vehicle orders.

The company’s unit sales rose by nine per cent to around 137,300 vehicles in the first six months of the year due to the consolidation of Navistar. although it said that unit sales were impacted by continuing supply bottlenecks as well as a production stop at MAN, related to the war in Ukraine, the Sales revenue grew 32per cent to the equivalent of $AUD26 billion (€18 billion).

The Traton’s operating result for the first half was $AUD964milion (€661 million), up $AUD300 million (€206 million) year-on-year.

However, the company explained, that due to substantial effects from ongoing supply bottlenecks and lower capacity utilisation,  as well as increased procurement prices, the adjusted operating result was $AUD441 million (€330 million) lower than in the same period in 2021 which was a result of $AUD1164million (€798 million).

Traton also had adjustments of $AUD199 million (€137 million) in the first half, mainly comprising loss allowances in connection with the war in Ukraine. The company had registered adjustments of $AUD980 million (€672 million) in the 2021 reporting period which included expenses incurred in the restructuring of MAN Truck and Bus.

Traton CEO, Christian Levin said the  Group was  dealing with a lot of major challenges, although the availability of semiconductors and other key components is slowly improving it has not yet returned to normal.

At the same time, raw materials and energy are becoming more expensive and logistics resources are tight,” Levin said.

“Nevertheless, our Group is becoming more and more adept at handling this situation — our hard work to get there is paying off, and even in times of economic difficulty, we are not losing sight of what matters to us and that is helping to transform our industry into a more sustainable future,” Levin added.

“The first half of the year has been truly remarkable. Our joint venture for commercial vehicle fast charging in Europe is getting underway, Scania has presented its first electric truck for regional long-haul operations, and production of e-trucks at MAN is set to start earlier than originally planned,” the Traton boss said.

“Volkswagen Truck and Bus already has a successful electric vehicle on the market with its e-Delivery truck, while Navistar’s electric school bus from the CE Series is showing what sustainable and safe mobility looks like in everyday life,” Levin said.

“Battery electric commercial vehicles cannot become the solution of choice for long-haul transportation and do so quickly, unless fast-charging infrastructure is established as soon as possible,” Levin added

Traton said that it recently reached a milestone in the recharging area with the foundation of the “Commercial Vehicle Charging Europe” joint venture with Daimler and the Volvo.

“Right now, there are hardly any charging points for electric heavy-duty trucks or buses that can be accessed by the public, and the joint venture intends to establish and run at least 1,700 green energy charging points in Europe over the next five years,” Levin said

Levin added that Traton is ‘systematically aligning its brands’ portfolio to focus on battery electric vehicles.

“In light of this, MAN is also shifting up a gear in the expansion of its portfolio with production of heavy-duty e-trucks in Munich set to start at the beginning of 2024, almost a year earlier than originally planned,” he said.

“In the first half of the year MAN also presented a close to production prototype of its new electric truck in Nuremberg for the first time,” he added.

“Traton brands took important steps to pave the way for battery technology in the first six months of the year, with Scania opening a battery laboratory, where up to 170 tests can be performed simultaneously for battery cells, modules, and packs.”

“Starting in early 2025, MAN will manufacture high-voltage batteries for e-trucks and buses in large series at its site in Nuremberg and the company is investing around  $AUD145 million (€100 million) over the next five years to make this a reality and we plan to expand production capacity to more than 100,000 batteries per year,” Levin added.

The Group’s. CFO, Annette Danielski, said that right now the Group is tackling two major challenges, taking the right measures to stay on track in what remains a very challenging environment while at the same time continuing our strategy to transition to sustainable transportation.

“Both are going well, which is why we are largely confirming our forecast for the current year and we are expecting improvements in the supply of semiconductors and other key components in the second half of this year,” said Danielski.

“At the same time, we are facing new challenges like the soaring inflation, rising interest rates, and logistics shortages,” she added.

“The risks remain high, and the further impact of the war in Ukraine, in particular, on our business can only be estimated to a very limited extent. The situation there is tough — on the people of Ukraine and on the overall business environment — and we rise to its challenges every single day,” the CFO said.

Traton expects unit sales of all  to increase substantially in fiscal year 2022, but not to increase as sharply as it had forecast originally.