Daimler looks to build off historical lessons learned to dominate OEM market

By Suzanne Stempinski, Land Line contributing field editor | Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A recent meeting of Daimler Trucks North America key executives and the trucking press in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, focused on a bit of history and a glimpse into the future of DTNA’s Freightliner truck.

Mark Lampert, senior vice president, sales and marketing kicked off the session with a look back at how things have evolved from the early days of deregulation in the 1980s – a time that heralded transformation in every element of the trucking industry.

Cabovers ruled the road, fleets were small and in 1981 Daimler acquired Freightliner.

As the needs and demands of the trucking industry changed, trucks changed with them; cabovers giving way to longer hoods; fuel economy not just impacting the bottom line but being closely monitored; engines going from totally mechanical to electronic.

Emission regulation changed everybody’s outlook and Lampert said the reality was, no manufacturer was really prepared for EPA 2007. But Lampert said today, every i is dotted, every t is crossed and every technological advancement prepares them for the next phase in regulatory requirements. They’re all moving ahead of the curve, he said, in order to be compliant with what’s coming next.

David Hames, general manager of Daimler Trucks North America marketing and strategy, discussed growth and market share; and how Freightliner has performed in terms of increasing market penetration. They ended 2013 with 37.9 percent of the market share in Class 6-8 trucks; an increase of 4.2 percent.

Hames said the Cascadia Evolution with the Detroit Diesel DD15 engine and asymmetric turbo has surpassed their expectations as far as adoption by the marketplace. Even with a premium price, Hames said the fuel savings of 5-7 percent per year has made this truck a favorite of owner-operators and fleets.

Stefan Kurschner, president and CEO, Daimler Trucks Mexico spoke about the long history of Daimler Trucks in Mexico. At this time, more than one third of the trucks currently on the road in Mexico are more than 21 years old. Kurschner said that makes them energy inefficient and  he pointed out that’s something that needs to change.

And what is DTNA’s goal for the future? Undisputed market leadership, said Lampert, who clarified that’s not “arrogance or bragging.”

“We say that every day, we want every decision made to be the right decision from the perspective that we want to be the undisputed market leader in every facet of the business,” Lambert said.

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