Last month’s Innovation Day 2019 was an opportunity for TRATON Group to present its deepest insight yet into how its brands are stronger together than apart.

CEO Andreas Renschler told the audience that innovation is a state of mind.

“Innovation means always striving to be better — to offer our customers and their customers added value.”

“What do we mean with ‘Innovation’? Innovation does not only mean: products. We don’t see technology for the sake of technology. But to create customer value. And Julia has said it: Innovation for us goes far beyond technological progress. Innovation is a mindset, an approach. Innovation is an attitude of getting better every day – and thereby offering our customers and their customers true value for their businesses.

“Innovation means finding new ways to tackle things, and to make our customers happy. To make our customers profitable. And sustainable. Creating innovation is in the DNA of our brands. But now, under the roof of the Group, we can act stronger and faster together.

“Look at the radical changes in the transport industry. The entire business and its players will consolidate and adapt to new business models. To compete in this new world, “innovation strength” is the most important factor. And this is why customer-focused INNOVATION is one of the key pillars of our Global Champion Strategy.

Looking back on the four years since TRATON was formally announced as a strategy to reposition the Volkswagen-owned vehicles brands, Renschler praised how they had come together to achieve a row of results.

“We raise synergies and we are running on record levels: 26 billion in revenue in 2018, more than 13 in the first half of this year. We set a new record and crossed the 1 billion EUR mark in Operating profit in the first six months of this year. But of course, since we are in a cyclical business, this cannot be the case forever, you all know that. With a more and more challenging market environment, and less growth predicted in the outlooks of the markets – we keep going, and we are confident after all.”

Renschler was in expansive mood as he addressed the crowd, expanding on the many challenges the commercial vehicle industry faces head-on.

He said that even in the relatively short time history of TRATON there has been a significant transformation towards alternative drive systems and systems with reduced CO₂ emissions as well as the considerable fast pace at which consumerism and logistics is changing.

“When we started this journey four years ago, attempts at e-mobility in commercial vehicles were brushed aside as experiments. Today, we are already taking orders for electrically powered trucks and buses and are confident that over the next 10 to 15 years, every third truck and bus we deliver will have alternative drive systems, of which the majority will be purely electric.”

But to do that, the appropriate infrastructure is needed, and really on an international scale.

“In the next ten to 15 years, every third of our trucks and buses can have an alternative drivetrain – and most of them will be fully electric! And this is only a conservative calculation. But: This is only possible – and that’s important – if all necessary conditions are in place at the right time, especially a seamless infrastructure system all over Europe, that we will need.”

TRATON is aiming to spend a total of one billion euros by the year 2025 purely in R&D for electric mobility. Renschler believes fleet will see a time in the not-too-distant future where they will be able to afford the technology.

“We believe in mid-term TCO parity: That means a total cost of ownership of electric vehicles, comparable with traditional powered vehicles already in the next years. We are doing our homework,” he says before aiming a broadside shot over the bows of governments that in the past have been keen to see the industry fund its own green initiatives – such as the changes to emission standards that has shaped development over the past decade.

“We do enjoy making our contribution but we also expect the decision-makers in politics to do their homework, too. By the way: E-Mobility is not just driven from a technology perspective – it is furthermore about our responsibility for a sustainable future – ecologically, economically and socially.

“It is exciting to experience such a radical transformation – and for us to be a driving force of it. But how can we achieve innovation in such a tight framework? I think: it is not a tight framework, instead, it is a great tailwind.”

Find out how Scania’s modularisation is central to TRATON’s success in Novembers Truck & Fleet Middle East magazine