Wednesday 5 November 2014

Daimler blooms as US truck sales rise

Daimler Trucks’ US subsidiary booked its highest level of incoming orders in October, as customers ordered a total of 31,304 Class 6 – 8 NAFTA and export vehicles of the Freightliner, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses name plates.

According to the data collected by the Americas Commercial Transportation Research (ACT) organization, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) achieved a new monthly order record for a single manufacturer in the North American truck business.

Contributing to this success were orders from major customers as well as increased demand from small and medium-size fleet operators.

According to ACT, demand for commercial vehicles was robust in October as 67,900 total Classes 5-8 orders were booked, up 50 per cent from a year ago. Over the past 12 months, Classes 5-8 net orders have totalled 563,600 units, representing the strongest 12-month period of Classes 5-8 order placement since the 12 ending January 2007.

“The 46,200 Class 8 net orders in October represent the convergence of a number of trends that continue to drive healthy order activity,” noted Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Those trends include pent-up demand amongst small and medium fleets, superior new truck fuel economy, improved economic activity in key freight sectors, and most importantly, rising freight rates and fleet profitability.”

Vieth added that October’s preliminary 21,700 Classes 5-7 net orders was the best vehicle order volume since April, up 14 per cent compared to last October and up 11 per cent sequentially. “October marked the second consecutive positive year-on-year order comparison after soft orders from May to August. On a seasonally adjusted basis, October’s orders are slightly lower than actual at 19,400 units, but like actual are the best month since April.”

It is understood that in additon to DTNA's sales, both Paccar and Volvo increased sales and orders of Class 8 trucks in the third quarter of 2014. Volvo's sales in North America climbed 26 per cent in October to 13,972 but world-wide sales slipped five per cent to 45,939. Paccar Inc., which includes such nameplates as DAF, Kenworth and Peterbilt, has increased build rates at its global facilities by five to seven per cent and the Bellevue, Washington-based company estimates full-year sales of Class 8 trucks in North America to fall between 245,000 and 255,000 - the highest level since 2006. Figures from beleagured Navistar International are conspicuous by their absence. Navistar's silence may suggest the company has not performed as well as its competitors. Observers are waiting as keenly for the truck and engine maker's figures for the full year, expected to be published in December, as they are for the pronouncements of chief executive officer Troy Clarke as to the future direction of the company.

As for DTNA, in October, month over month industry orders were up 61.2 per cent compared with the German company’s growth of 116.9 per cent. DTNA’s order share was 51.9 per cent of the industry total of 60.307 units. With a market share of around 38 per cent, the subsidiary continues to be market leader in the heavy-duty truck classes 6 – 8.

Freightliner’s flagship vehicle Cascadia Evolution is generating strong momentum for incoming orders in the US market because, according to Daimler, the truck has the “highest fuel efficiency in its class and thus the lowest total cost of ownership”.

“Daimler Trucks has a broader global footprint than any other manufacturer and encompasses strong pillars in Europe, America, and Asia. Intelligent platforms and components enable us to deliver in each region the products with the best total cost of ownership for our customers,” claimed Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler board of management member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses. “The number of incoming orders received by DTNA in October demonstrates that our strategy is effective and that our vehicles provide customers with tangible benefits.”

Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. DTNA manufactures, sells, and services commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star, Detroit, and Thomas Built Buses nameplates.

DTNA’s production network encompasses a total of nine locations. In addition to its headquarters and assembly plant in Portland (Oregon), the subsidiary has four production plants in North Carolina (Cleveland, Gastonia, High Point, and Mount Holly) as well as a production plant in Redford (Michigan) and another in Gaffney (South Carolina). DTNA has two additional production locations in Mexico (Saltillo and Santiago Tianguistenco).

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