WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Accident-free driving and 100% uptime are the lofty goals of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), which is coming off its best sales year in history.
The company achieved retail sales of 175,950 units in 2018, according to Richard Howard, senior vice-president, sales and marketing. He was speaking to the trade press in advance of the first on-road test drives of Freightliner’s new Cascadia with SAE Level 2 autonomous driving capability.
Its market share for the year was: 48% of the U.S. Class 8 market; 45.5% of the Canadian Class 8 market; and 47.4% of the entire NAFTA Class 8 market. In the Classes 6/7 segments, DTNA commanded: 41.3% of the U.S. market; 25.4% in Canada; and 40.6% of the total NAFTA market.
Howard expects to see the market to remain strong in 2019, and the company has taken steps to safeguard itself against any mass cancellations.
“In July of last year, we had a deep review of all dealer orders, reaffirming orders to ensure the orders we have are based on customer demand and not speculative orders from our dealer network,” Howard explained. “We moved to an allocation system in 2018 to ensure all dealers get a fair approach to have product allocated. We reviewed the order intake again deeply in October-November, and again reviewed the kind of validation of order intake we have for 2019.”
In fact, DTNA’s cancellation rate is currently about half of its usual 3%.
“We are staying close to our customers to understand their real needs,” he said. “Even today, we have more order intake than we can handle in 2019.”
DTNA is already sold out for 2019. It is also seeing rising take rates of its proprietary components, with 95% of customers choosing Detroit power and 75% choosing Detroit Assurance collision mitigation.
“It’s a great position to be in,” said Howard.
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