CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico -- Looking for better ways to deal with the cyclicality of the NAFTA market, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), has launched an international market growth strategy that calls for significant increases in sales and market share gains in overseas markets.
The new strategy, dubbed Vision 15,000, calls for sales outside of DTNA's NAFTA territory of 15,000 units. The approach brings recently launched internationally-focused DTNA products to new markets in the Middle East and Africa, and extends existing regional programs in Australia, Latin America and South Africa. DTNA already exports approximately 10,000 vehicles annually, and is the industry leader in the export of heavy-duty trucks from North America.
"With a robust international business, we can help mitigate the inevitable cycles of the North American commercial vehicle market. This initiative to manage cyclicality is also a primary strategic goal of Daimler Trucks globally under the Global Excellence initiative," explained Mark Lampert, senior Vice President, sales and marketing for DTNA during a press conference here in Cabo San Lucas.
DTNA’s largest current international markets include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Peru and Colombia. Freightliner- and Western Star-brand trucks are also sold in numerous countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific regions. In each of these areas, DTNA is enhancing its distribution network and brands to prepare for further growth.
In addition, the company is eyeing further market entries in Asia and Africa where Freightliner and Western Star vehicles fit local operating requirements.
Vision 15,000 is deriving significant momentum from new vehicle launches. The company is now launching the Freightliner Coronado® 114 for the Australia market. A set back front axle, 114-inch BBC heavy-duty conventional truck and tractor, the Coronado 114 features the Detroit® DD15, 14.8 liter engine. The truck opens up new segments for Freightliner in Australia, and is expected to significantly expand the brand’s customer base there.
DTNA has also introduced a new version of its flagship international truck, the Freightliner Argosy, in key international markets. The new Argosy, a heavy-duty cabover truck and tractor, is now being sold in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
To support its global strategies, DTNA is also building up its international organization. The company has invested in an internal resource increase and has closely aligned engineering, product development, training, quality and product planning to leverage the company’s global optimization strategy.
Meanwhile, the NAFTA market actually shrank in 2012 in comparison to 2011 when considering orders for Class 8 trucks. In 2011 there were 305,759 orders placed whereas orders came in at 229,427 in 2012, a 25% drop. The start of 2013 is continuing the downward trend with 22,191 orders placed.
Still Lampert remains cautiously optimistic about 2013 which he calls "far from dead."
"The first quarter is going to be the hardest quarter and it will be up from there to about 10% up or down from 2012," he said.
In addition to relying more on international sales to ride out the cyclicality of the NAFTA truck market, Lampert said DTNA is looking to increase its already market-leading share of the NAFTA market. Its share of Class 8 sales was up 1.9% last year in NAFTA, 2.5% in the US and 0.3% in Mexico.
"And we hit it out of the park in January in the US with 44.6% share, an all time high," Lampert added, although he acknowledged a market share lead of such magnitude is not likely to be retained.