“Things are looking good” for the North American truck market, but it is difficult to predict when commercial truck sales will pick up, said two key executives of Daimler during a press conference at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference & Exhibition.
The two - Andreas Renschler, a member of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Daimler Trucks Division, and Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) - said they were “cautiously optimistic” about demand for new trucks as orders have been soft due to volatile freight trends, higher diesel prices and a slower overall economy.
They noted that the truck replacement cycle is at its longest level, meaning fleets will soon have to buy new vehicles, and estimated NAFTA Class 6 to 8 trucks sales to be around 375,000.
DTNA’s growth is outpacing the market’s, with sales up by almost a third compared to last year, said Renschler. “But even more important than sales is market share, and we are proud to say that DTNA leads the field in North America in the Class 6 to 8 segment.”
He noted that the company is in a strong position compared to its competitors because it has learned to manage economic cycles in North America and the world “thanks to the high flexibility we now have in our production network.”
Daimler’s goal, through its Global Excellence program is to be the industry leader in products and innovations, said Renschler.
Daum outlined some of DTNA’s goals for the future. Among them:
- Establish the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution as the “industry benchmark."
- Shift the paradigm from manual to automated transmissions.
- Be the leader in the medium duty/vocational Class 6 to 7 market.
- Leverage Daimler’s Business Solutions.
- Be a leader in meeting greenhouse gases regulations.
- Continue to be the “driving force in natural gas.”