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Daimler Says Truck-Market Drop May Extend Into 2010


Daimler AG, the world's biggest maker of heavy trucks, said a slump in the commercial-vehicle market may continue into 2010 if economies continue to shrink.

"There is still no rebound in sight," Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler's truck division, told reporters today at an industry conference in Brussels. "We're preparing for two scenarios: slow recovery beginning in late 2009, or a deep recession with a recovery in 2010 at the earliest."

The economies of the U.S. and the 15 countries that share the euro are in recession, prompting Daimler, Volvo AB, MAN AG and Scania AB to cut truck production as freight transporters and construction companies scale back operations. Stimulus packages to revive growth in Europe include 32 billion euros ($41.6 billion) in Germany and 26 billion euros in France, equivalent to 1.3 percent of each country's gross domestic product.

Governments in the European union "should look at additional incentives to encourage the renewal of the fleet, to the benefit of economy and environment," Renschler said at the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association conference. "No industry is immune to the effects of the financial crisis. But manugactures of capital goods like us are among the first to feel the pain."

November Market Contraction

Heavy-truck sales in Europe fell 14 percent from a year earlier in October, according to figures from the Brussels-based association. Renschler, who leads the trade group's truck and bus committee, said overall commercial-vehicle registrations in the region dropped 17 percent that month, "and November figures are heading in the same direction," while "order intake in our industry has almost come to a standstill."

Central banks in the euro area, the U.K. and Sweden cut interest rates early this month in an effort to revive credit markets and economic growth. German companies faced tougher conditions trying to obtain bank loans in November compared with August, according to the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute. Sweden's government increased credit guarantees and borrowing facilities this month to encourage loans to exporters.

The European truck market is unlikely to revive until lending becomes more available, Scania Chief Executive Officer Leif Oestling said at today's conference.

"The banking system has stopped working," Oestling said. "There's no money available, we're in a credit crunch. The most important thing is to fix the financial system."


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