April 2018

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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Page 26 of 107

commercial carrier journal | april 2018 25 DTNA bullish on 2018 truck market, outlines future technology initiatives O n the heels of one of the best years in Daimler Trucks North Amer- ica's history, the company plans to continue efforts to diversify its North American parts distribution network and leverage global Daimler resources to develop and introduce new technol- ogies related to connectivity, electrified powertrains and automated driving. Driven largely by 46,000 orders for the new Cascadia in 2017, DTNA achieved a record 39.8 percent NAFTA Class 6-8 market share last year with 151,000 trucks, chassis and buses, including 127,000 total units in the United States. e company is off to a fast start in 2018, with January NAFTA Class 6-8 market share at 42.3 percent and February numbers projected to be "if not a record, then close to a record," said Roger Nielsen, DTNA president and chief executive officer, during a press teleconference. Nielsen predicts those early 2018 figures to continue well into the year. "In 2018, we expect the market to be in the range of what we experienced in 2015 when the NAFTA Class 6-8 market was 420,000 units across all the competition, but it could be higher if the market dynamic continues on and is sustainable for the months ahead." Nielsen said most truck sales to DTNA customers are attributable to equipment refreshment rather than fleet expansion. "It's a mixed bag right now, but for the most part, it has been replacement," he said. "In 2018, we are getting back to trade cycles from the peak years in 2014 and 2015 when volumes were high, but there are a few fleets that are actually adding capacity and have been successful in finding drivers." Exploring new technologies In its efforts to be a leader in the develop- ment of future technologies, Daimler an- nounced it will spend $620 billion in the next two years to develop new solutions for customers around the globe. In North America, "We want to put future technology out there that makes sense for our customers," said Nielsen. "Fleets and truck drivers don't want new technology for the sake of it — they want new technology because they believe it can give them a compet- itive advantage in the marketplace and reduce their real cost of ownership." As part of its North American strat- egy, DTNA has created new depart- ments for connectivity and electric mobility, led respectively by Sanjiv Khurana, formerly president of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing, and Andreas Juretzka, formerly Detroit's director of mechanical engineering. DTNA's connectivity program began seven years ago with the launch of its Virtual Technician remote diagnostics system, and in the last three years it has developed new connectivity solutions as part of the Detroit Connect platform. DTNA's current focus is to streamline how customers access and use the data coming from their trucks to improve business and reduce cost of ownership. Recognizing that many DTNA fleet customers use third-party telematics providers, the company soon will be announcing partnerships with those companies to offer their services through the Detroit Connect platform with the goal of reducing the number of onboard devices that require sepa- rate SIM cards and cellular accounts. "Our customers want flexibility in interacting with the data being captured from their fleet," said Nielsen. "ey have proprietary analysis they would like to perform, and we are de- veloping a mechanism to have the data pipelined directly into their back-office systems the way they want it to." With last year's launch of the Jouley Saf-T-Liner C2 electric school bus by DTNA's omas Built Buses division, electrification now is a "near-term proj- ect" for commercial trucking, said Niel- sen, citing the eCanter from Mitsubishi Daimler Trucks North America continues to invest in developing future vehicle technologies, including connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving.

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