WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – If you want to order a new truck from Daimler Trucks North America, you’re going to have to wait awhile before it rolls down an assembly line.
“We’re effectively sold out for 2019,” says Richard Howard, senior vice-president – sales and marketing, referring to current orders on the books.
The company found itself in the same position early in 2018, a year in which it sold a record 175,950 units.
Of the 1,986 Class 8 trucks sold in Canada this January, 903 had Daimler nameplates – accounting for 45.5% of the market. Across NAFTA countries, it sold 11,520 of the 24,303 trucks overall, holding 47.4% of the business.
The strong market shares hold for Class 6 and 7 on a continental basis. Of the 12,941 units sold this January in NAFTA countries, the company secured 5,250 sales. But in this class, it holds 25.4% of the Canadian market, with 166 of 654 sales.
In the midst of it all, Daimler says it has taken several steps to ensure existing orders will translate into actual sales, purging orders that were simply reserving spots on assembly lines just in case they were needed.
A “deep review” of dealer orders last July led the manufacturer to cancel 45,000 orders, Howard says. That was followed by another review in October.
Typically about 3% of orders are canceled in a year, he said.
“We have a lower-than-normal cancellation rate on our backlog.”
Daimler also enters 2019 with a significant refresh of the new Cascadia, now the first production truck in North America to boast Level 2 automation – supporting drivers with a combination of automated braking and steering corrections.
“Accident-free driving is ultimately our vision,” Howard told journalists, referring to the automated controls anchored in a system known as Detroit Assurance 5.0.
About 95% of Daimler customers are also opting for vertically integrated Detroit powertrains. The new Cascadia itself comes standard with the DT12 automated manual transmission. But the vertical integration is not limited to the power alone.
“Seventy-five percent of our customers choose Detroit Assurance as the safety system of choice,” he said.
The new Cascadia will be launched in Australia in coming months, while the classic Cascadia will cease production at the end of this year.
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