Daimler Trucks North America planning fully integrated powertrain

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has repositioned its Detroit Diesel brand to grow in the component arena in North America. It has just released introduced Detroit Axles - a complete line of axles covering every trucking segment.

Next, it plans to bring to the NAFTA market a fully integrated powertrain with the introduction of Detroit brand transmissions.

DTNA has not said when this will occur.

Like the Detroit engines and axles, the new transmissions will incorporate engineering and manufacturing processes that draw upon Daimler’s global resources

Expansion of the Detroit brand is all part of DTNA’s “vehicle integration strategy,” says David Hames, the company’s general manager, marketing and strategy. The intent of the vehicle integration strategy is to provide customers with specific solutions for their operation through the powertain.

Not only will vehicle integration help provide the customer with industry leading lowest total cost of operation for the life of a vehicle, it will help DTNA achieve its objective of being the market leader in Class 6 to 8, Mark Lampert, DTNA senior vice president of sales and marketing, adds.


Powertrain solutions

More vehicle OEMs are getting into optimizing powertrain solutions through fully integrating the drivetrain, observes Lampert.

In North America, DTNA offer proprietary Detroit engines and now axles. In Europe and Japan it also offers proprietary transmissions.

Volvo offers proprietary engines and transmissions in North America and Europe, plus proprietary axles in Japan.

Paccar offers proprietary engines in North America, as well as proprietary engines and transmissions in Europe, but has no proprietary engine, transmission or axle offerings in Japan.

International only offers proprietary engines in North America. It has no proprietary driveline component offerings in either Europe or Japan.


Powertrain optimization

Optimizing powertrains allows better matching final axle drive ratios to the efficiency characteristics of an engine, explains Hames. With driveline mechanical efficiency maximized, engine energy efficient can be realized through reduced rpm operation.

Adding a proprietary Detroit transmission to DTNA’s proprietary engines and axles is the OEM’s next step in optimizing the powertrain, he says.

The first Detroit transmission will be an automated manual. These types of transmissions make all drivers better, and unlike mechanical transmissions, can be optimized with the engine and axles to manage fuel economy.

Hames notes that even with a fully integrated powertrain, engines, axles and transmissions from other OE suppliers with continue to be available in all DTNA brands - Freightliner Trucks, Western Star, Thomas Built Bus and Freightliner Custom Chassis vehicles.


Detroit brand

With an all encompassing Detroit brand, DTNA will be further ideally positioned in the marketplace and positioned to be better differentiated from its competitor, says Lampert.

The foundation for everything DTNA does, he points out, is based on truck users’ key buying criteria:

  • Fuel efficiency.
  • Lowest total cost of operation.
  • Ease of maintenance.
  • Driver friendly technologies.
  • Confidence in the DTNA brand.

There are some pretty aggressive growth plans for Detroit axles and transmissions in the marketplace, Hames concludes. “Powered by Detroit” will soon mean the first full drivetrain in the marketplace.