North American Class 8 truck sales should rebound robustly this year, said Daimler Trucks North America executives during a press event Thursday, March 31, in Louisville, Ky.
“We expect significant growth this year, especially for medium- and heavy-duty trucks,” said Andreas Renschler, head of the Daimler Trucks Division. For North America, he said, Daimler had been projecting 20 percent to 25 percent growth. “Given the strong and sustainable rebound in this market, we now expect NAFTA truck demand to climb 30 to 35 percent this year.”
The company, which sold 355,000 trucks worldwide in 2010, expects to sell more than 500,000 in 2013, Renschler said.
The current strong rebound, while encouraging, can disguise the fact that truck sales still have not returned to pre-recession levels, said Martin Daum, president and CEO of DTNA.
Still, the company expanded its market share by 2 percentage points last year, he said. In North America, “we are the market leader in the segment of medium and heavy-duty trucks in classes 6 to 8, with a market share in NAFTA of 31.6 percent,” he said.
Since the first signs of economic recovery a year ago, the company began increasing production and now employs 2,000 more factory workers than a year ago, Daum said. More hiring is expected throughout the year.
Vocational production has rebounded well, he said, and Daimler recently introduced a new severe duty lineup with improved weight, axle loads and body builder interface.
Daimler also announced:
• The next generation of chassis side fairings and 20-inch side extenders are being added to the Freightliner Cascadia.
• Freightliner launched The Edge (www.freightlineredge.com), a free online club for owner-operators. It includes traffic and weather reports, Freightliner news, and members-only discounts from partners such as Sprint and the Chrome Shop Mafia. The club also offers blogs, forums and a social network.
• TruckerNet is a new mobile application for smart phones that allows the user to access service locations and parts information, and to connect to on-call breakdown assistance services. Drivers can use ZIP codes or city names to find locations via GPS.
• Alliance Truck Parts has partnered with Penske Racing to sponsor the No. 12 Dodge Challenger in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series.
• Daimler’s Detroit Diesel has sold more than 25,000 engines featuring BlueTec technology to meet 2010 emissions standards. Fleets using the DD13, DD15 and DD16 engines report “up to 5 percent or greater fuel economy improvement” when compared to comparable 2007 engines, said Brad Williamson, a marketing director.
• Western Star introduced a 34-inch Stratosphere sleeper, available on the 4800 and 4900 models. It features added headroom and storage space.
• Western Star updated the interior for all its models, including the recently introduced 4700, with customizable compartments and shelving, and brighter color options.
• The Horton DriveMaster Two-Speed Arctis Fan Drive is available for Western Star 4700, 4800, 4900 and 6900 models.