Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Worst for trucking industry may be over, Daimler president says


Thursday, March 25, 2010
by LYNDON FINNEY

Daimler Trucks North America is uniquely well-prepared and positioned to ride the wave of recovery whenever it comes, Martin Daum told reporters at the Mid-America Trucking Show Thursday. (The Trucker: KEVIN JONES)
Daimler Trucks North America is uniquely well-prepared and positioned to ride the wave of recovery whenever it comes, Martin Daum told reporters at the Mid-America Trucking Show Thursday. (The Trucker: KEVIN JONES)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Echoing what has become a recurring theme among OEs at the Mid-America Trucking Show underway here this week, Daimler Trucks North America President and CEO Martin Daum acknowledged the economic recession had pretty much crippled American business, including the trucking industry, but quickly added that his company was ready for tomorrow.

“DTNA is uniquely well-prepared and positioned to ride the wave of recovery whenever it comes,” Daum told reporters assembled at a news conference at the Daimler booth surrounded by the company’s products.

“We all know that North America has suffered through the toughest and most dramatic economic contraction since the Great Depression over the past several years,” Daum said. “Clearly we know that we will not see volumes like those our industry experienced in 2005 and 2006 anytime soon.”

But the worst may be over, he said.

“We do see the recession bottoming out with truck utilization at 73 percent and we do see 2009 as the trough of this market cycle,” Daum said.

He continued with optimistic numbers.

“What we see is the Gross Domestic Product trending upward between 3 and 4 percent through 2011,” he said, “and thanks to the First Time Homebuyers credit, we see the beginning of a more robust market for housing starts, which is always a leading freight indicator.”

Daum forecast that while retail sales of Class 6-8 trucks would not return to previous peaks until after 2011, truck sales were expected to increase 13 percent over 2009 with an additional year-over-year increase of 33 percent in 2011.

“Yes, what went down will go up again,” he told reporters sitting in Freightliner Truck driver seats and surrounded by Daimler employees. “It’s the nature of the beast. Excess capacity, increased trading cycles and other factors may moderate the pace of recovery, but an aging field population will drive significant order activity when demand finally picks up.

A recent poll, although unscientific, on www.thetrucker.com supports Daum’s statement.

The poll asked truckers to list the year model of the tractor they currently were driving.

Almost 42 percent said 2002 or older.

Another 20 percent said they were driving 2003, 2004 or 2005 model year tractors.

Daum said that despite the downturn, Daimler had not been shy about spending for the future.

“Over the last decade, Daimler has invested more than $2 billion in research and development of clean trucks and engines to prepare for new emissions standards and meet environmental and social responsibility goals,” he said. “Daimler Trucks North America has been a beneficiary of this investment and a key contributor in this arena.”

Daum pointed to Daimler trucks’ vertical integration partners as one of the reasons the company feels it is positioned for the future.

“Through the contributions of Detroit Diesel (a Daimler company), Daimler is a global leader in heavy- and medium-duty diesel engines and emissions technology,” he said.

And Detroit Diesel’s primary heavy-duty engines, the DD15 and DD13 use Detroit Diesel’s proprietary BlueTec SCR technology.

“The 2010 Cascadia in combination with the DD15 or DD13 engine and our BlueTec SCR system is consistently delivering up to 5 percent gains in fuel efficiency over our 2007 vehicles, and, in some cases even more,” Daum said, adding that 2010-compliant products were fast becoming the “new normal” at DTNA.

“We have already received orders for more than 6,000 trucks, chassis and buses from more than 700 customers who are turning their focus from the cost of the new 2010 emissions technology to the monthly savings and long-term value of SCR and BlueTec’s innovative 1-Box system,” he said.

The future will bring new demands and opportunities as the company navigates its way through the economic recovery and an increasing competitive economy, Daum said.

“As always, we stand ready to offer the industry’s most reliable, innovative and efficient commercial vehicle solutions to our customers,” Daum said. “Trucking is not going away and neither is opportunity.”

 Lyndon Finney of The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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