LEINFELDEN-ECHTERDINGEN (dpa-AFX) - After a record year, commercial vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck is bracing itself for a decline in buying interest. "Our environment was very sunny. Now, in the current year, demand is normalizing," said CEO Martin Daum on Wednesday at the online Annual General Meeting in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. "The business weather is clouding over noticeably."

Nevertheless, Daum reaffirmed his growth plans: the DAX-listed company has set itself the target of an adjusted return on sales of between 9.0 and 10.5 percent for the industrial business for the year as a whole, said Daum. An increase in turnover of 40 to 60 percent is targeted for the second half of the decade. To this end, the adjusted return on sales in the industrial business should also increase to at least 12% by 2030 "in a sunny market environment", said Daum.

A key driver will be the transition from conventional to zero-emission vehicles, the manager explained. For example, the eActros 600 truck, the eleventh all-electric product line, will go into series production at the end of 2024. The truck can travel 500 kilometers without intermediate charging. "That makes it our first electric truck for European long-distance transportation." He is also sticking to his plan to open the first battery cell factory in the US state of Mississippi in 2027, said Daum.

Despite the decline in sales, turnover in the first quarter of 2024 amounted to just under 13.3 billion euros, slightly above the previous year's figure, as the Group recently announced. Adjusted for special effects, earnings before interest and taxes increased by 4 percent to 1.21 billion euros./agy/DP/men