Truckers Will Have Problems; but They’ll Be “Good problems”
Posted: August 1, 2014 by Peter Carter
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO — At the same time as President Barack Obama stood on the loading dock at a Maryland Safeway Distribution Center announcing new fuel-efficiency rules for the heavy truck industry, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) General Manager Marketing and Strategy David Hames was talking to a group of trucking journalists assembled in Cabo San Lucas for an industry update.
“I tell my neighbors,” said Hames, “I’m in the air filtration business.”
Hames was referring to diesel industry’s boast that because of modern engine technology and emission control systems, in some very smoggy urban locations, the air entering a truck’s engine is dirtier than the exhaust that comes out.
Obama’s announcement came as a surprise to nobody in the trucking industry. (See Teona’s story) And Daimler greeted the new regulations with the same sanguinity as others in the business. In other words, the truck builders are already on track to not only meet but exceed the expectations.
“We’re fortunate that we have legislation in line with customer expectations,” Hames remarked.
At the heart of the Daimler update was the fact that DTNA, primarily through Freightliner, has increased its market share of the North American market from about 13 percent in the early 1980s to almost 40 percent in 2013.
PACCAR, which produces Peterbilts and Kenworth, claimed 27.4 percent of the class 8 market last year; Volvo/Mack 20 percent and Navistar 14.4 percent.
Daimler also claimed 31 percent of the North American vocational industry in 2013.
In Canada, Daimler held on to 33.8 percent of the class-8 market in 2103.
And in as much as the company hopes to pass the 40-percent mark next year, Hames warns that prediction is perilous, particularly given the delicate nature of the current economic recovery. “The U.S. economy is set to accelerate but that said, we know how volatile the economy has been.”
January truck sales for Daimler, he said, saw the highest total orders since the peak of the economic boom of 2006.
“And while I don’t expect to see 2006 sales happening again, we are very encouraged with the start of the year.”
The fact that all OEs are experiencing sales spurts will lead to capacity problems, Hames said, adding “but they’re good problems.”
Other highlights of the Daimler outlook:
• Daimler’s new DD15 with asymmetrical turbo accounts for more than 51 percent of the company’s engine sales; • When it comes to market predictions, Hames said, all the OEMs predicted the 2013 results inaccurately; • Almost one third of the trucks operating in Mexico are over 20 years old; • Daimler’s “Virtual Technician” technology in which fleets can receive real-time technical snapshots of an engine’s status as soon as fault codes are trigged just won a Silver in the Remote Diagnostics category at the 2014 Connected World Conference in Chicago. Virtual Technician has been installed in more than 70,000 Freightliners equipped with Detroit engines.