YOUNTVILLE, Calif. – A cooling Class 8 truck market is marking a healthy return to more normal levels.
That’s the assessment of Richard Howard, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), who gave a market update to the truck press here Aug. 20.
“Truck sales the last two years have been at stellar levels,” he said. While orders are slowing, he compared it to losing altitude but continuing to fly well above the mountains. He predicted a 2020 market range of between 380,000 and 400,000 Classes 6-8 units, down from about 460,000 to 480,000 this year.
“I think we’re seeing the industry going back to normal cycles, which I think is a good thing,” Howard said. “We struggled with some demands from customers the last 12 months.”
DTNA continues to hold top spot in market share, with 37.6% of the Class 8 market. Freightliner itself controls 31.4%.
Howard said DTNA sees a strong close to 2019 before market conditions normalize in 2020.
Having enjoyed considerable success with its new Cascadia in North America, DTNA is now looking to bring that truck to new markets, including Australia and New Zealand.
“We are taking our number one platform and bringing it to international markets in a very strategic way,” Howard explained.
There are now 170,000 new Cascadias prowling North American highways.
“It’s the most successful product launch we’ve had,” said Howard.
DTNA is also enjoying higher uptake of its integrated systems. Nineteen out of 20 buyers are choosing Detroit power, while 70% are spec’ing the Detroit Assurance active safety system. The company is now rolling out Assurance 5.0, which features Level 2 autonomy with lateral control of the vehicle.
“Active safety systems are absolutely changing the world in which we operate for our customers and our dealers,” Howard said. “The technological revolution never stops.”
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