One of the most exciting things about this job, is getting to sit down in the presence of the leaders who oversee the major, multi-billion dollar companies that literally drive the industry. At ATA, a small group of trucking journalists,...
One of the most exciting things about this job, is getting to sit down in the presence of the leaders who oversee the major, multi-billion dollar companies that literally drive the industry. At ATA, a small group of trucking journalists, including Lou and me, had to chance to get to know Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the new head of Daimler Trucks, who took over that role in April. It became clear, very early, in listening to Dr. Bernhard, that he’s a product-focused executive. He already has obtained his European CDL and said he’ll repeat the process in the US, so that he can drive not only Daimler’s own trucks, but competitive models as well. “It’s very important to know what your customers are sitting in,” he said.
Here are just a couple interesting tidbits that came out of his remarks. One is that 60% of Daimler’s sales in North America come from its top 30 customers. I know the big fleets buy a lot of Freightliner trucks, but I had no idea they accounted for that much of the company’s sales. Also, 60% of the trucks on the road in the US are of an EPA04 or older vintage. That means, the enormous reductions in NOx and PM emissions that the industry has achieved haven’t yet been fully realized. Not even close. Not as long as the majority of trucks on the highway are still using old engines.
Dr. Bernhard said the best way to further reduce emissions from heavy trucks is not to place more restrictions on new models, but to try to eliminate old, dirty trucks from the roads. This can be achieved without penalizing operators. Wolfgang suggested things like tax incentives on the purchase of newer vehicles; in other words, a carrot – rather than stick – approach, which rewards fleet owners for replacing older vehicles. And he also implored Washington to get its house in order, noting that the entire world relies on the US to be a picture of economic stability, not a nuthouse (my word, not his). Here’s my report from our meeting at ATA.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News