Automated Transmissions to Dominate
LOUISVILLE, KY -- The rise of the automated mechanical transmission in North America may soon turn into dominance, according to Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America. Speaking at a media roundtable during the Mid-America Trucking Show, he expressed near shock at how well the company's Detroit DT12 transmission has been received by the market.
"It's been beyond all expectations," Daum said. "This thing hit the market mature."
Introduced in North America just 10 months ago but already well established in Europe at that point, it already represents some 30% of the Freightliner build. Orders for the DT12 AMT are presently at "17,000 and counting," which is about double what the company expected at this stage.
And the transmission's share will go higher, Daum is convinced, to reach 90% of Freightliner's build within the next four years.
Automated mechanical transmissions already own the European market, and it's hard to find a contemporary truck over there without one, regardless of make.
In fact there are some capacity constraints holding back the DT12 on these shores, largely as a result of supplier challenges further back in the manufacturing trail. The transmission is still being built in the Daimler plant in Gaggenau, Germany and then shipped here, often by expensive air freight. That's set to change in mid-year 2015 when manufacturing for North America will be launched in the Detroit plant in Michigan.