“Customers can focus on their core business”
Omnibus Magazine

“Customers can focus on their core business”

Interview with Christian Wilz, Head of Sales & Customer Solutions for Europe and South America at Daimler Truck Financial Services.

Daimler Truck’s vision is to be a leader in sustainable transport. Daimler Truck Financial Services provides financial services for bus and touring coach companies for this purpose. Where are developments heading?

In general, we are seeing a huge rise in the popularity of benefit products in the capital goods segment. From the customer’s point of view, we also speak of de-risking products. Customers who purchase electric buses – and I am sure the same will be true of hydrogen vehicles in the future – tend to want their vehicle fleet to always be technologically up to date. This sometimes goes so far that they prefer a comprehensive solution, which also includes the charging infrastructure or energy supply. These transport companies want to focus on their core business – transporting passengers. At Daimler Buses we make this possible. Leasing plays an increasingly important role here.

“Leasing can, to some extent, spread around the risks associated with any technological advancement.”

Christian Wilz, Head of Sales & Customer Solutions, Daimler Truck Financial Services

What special advantages does leasing have for bus and touring coach companies?

One major advantage is that leasing rates are recorded as service expenses and costs in the profit and loss statement, thereby naturally alleviating the cash situation to some extent. Another significant advantage, in my view, is that operators can remove some risks from their business by essentially outsourcing them. It makes a huge difference whether, as a customer, I only consider the risk within my fleet or use a provider that can scale up to a much larger fleet. So leasing can diffuse the risks incurred by new technological advancements to some extent. This particularly applies to electromobility.

“Customers can focus on their core business”

They often need comprehensive financing models that include the charging infrastructure or energy supply in addition to the electric buses.

What exactly does outsourcing technological risks mean?

The central question is as follows: what is my core business and in which areas am I prepared to take business risks as a bus or touring coach company? If my core business is touring coach trips, for example, I have already included risks in my business model owing to seasonal fluctuations. Then you might have to ask yourself the question, do I also want to manage the risks associated with new technologies and infrastructure solutions? And how much volatility do I want to risk as a company?

Is there already a concrete example of such a leasing model for travel operators?

We are currently working intensively in the touring coach travel industry. We already introduced BusStore Flexible Leasing during the pandemic, a flexible leasing offer provided by BusStore for pre-owned coaches. Customers in Germany have the option to simply return the vehicle after nine months at no additional cost. With such solutions, I see a real opportunity to inject more flexibility into leasing offers.

“Customers can focus on their core business”

I can envisage sustainable usage concepts that span the entire life cycle of a bus or touring coach in the future.

What other products are in the pipeline at Daimler Truck Financial Services?

What is currently driving me to a maximum extent is a truly sustainable business model – in the sense of being both environmentally and climate-friendly. This has to do with the vehicle emissions but also managing vehicles throughout their entire life cycle. Let me provide some context: at the moment, the focus is very much on the initial utility cycle of the vehicle. However, as a bus and touring coach manufacturer, it is our obligation to develop sustainable usage concepts that extend across the entire life cycle and this also requires new service offers.

What could such service models look like that take the entire service life of a bus or touring coach into account?

As Daimler Truck it is our responsibility to make the most of all raw materials that are in a bus/touring coach throughout the entire cycle so that nothing goes to waste. This applies to materials, energy as well as labour. Specifically, this means: how do we make the vehicle usable for our customers in the best possible way? For example, we try to look at the vehicles over a longer period of time. For instance, conceivable are service contracts that, much like health insurance, accompany the bus or touring coach throughout its life cycle, not just during the initial five years. In the future, we will certainly also talk more about solutions for a second life for batteries. Our aim is therefore to think comprehensively about financing with regard to our customers’ business. By the way, this also includes new insurance offers.

“Customers can focus on their core business”

Second life solutions for high-voltage batteries could also be a key topic in future finance models.

“We offer our clients access to the consultancy service of Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker.”

Christian Wilz, Head of Sales & Customer Solutions, Daimler Truck Financial Services

At first, insurance doesn't even seem to be part of the financing package. How does this benefit your customers?

Our customers have an interest in putting their business on a firm, efficient footing. This also includes, for example, thoroughly analysing the insurance premiums for the vehicle fleets. We work in a partnership with Marsh to provide our customers with access to professional insurance advice. As the world’s leading insurance brokers and risk consultants, Marsh analyses our customers’ insurance policies and identifies potential for optimisation. We call it "Insurance Optimisation as a Service".

Marsh is a large, globally active company. Does a bus or touring coach operator have to be of a certain size to be able to use the consulting service as a customer of Daimler Truck?

We have different concepts depending on the size of the customer involved. Marsh doesn't solely focus on large corporations but deliberately offers its services to medium-sized businesses, in line with the goal of supporting medium-sized enterprises. Sustainability is also a key consideration in this context. Marsh has not only set itself ambitious sustainability goals, but also advises companies on the transformation to net zero emissions. This includes not only groups of companies, but also many medium-sized enterprises. As part of the cooperation with Marsh, we have therefore developed a consulting service concept to ensure that small and medium-sized bus/touring coach operators also benefit from this.

About Daimler Truck Financial Services

As an integral part of Daimler Truck AG, Daimler Truck Financial Services is the partner for financial services in the bus and truck sector. It operates across brands for Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses and touring coaches as well as for pre-owned vehicles. The core business is the provision of financial services for Daimler Truck customers using in-house and partner solutions. With the establishment of Daimler Truck as an independent commercial vehicle group, Daimler Truck Financial Services Germany can concentrate entirely on the capital goods business, which operates under different rules compared to the passenger car business. Daimler Truck Financial Services Germany is one of the largest financial and mobility services companies in the commercial vehicle industry. Local Daimler Truck Financial Services entities are based in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Turkey, as well as in Brazil, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Japan and the US.

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