NAPA, Calif. – Freightliner’s Cascadia Evolution and the M2 chassis have pushed Daimler Trucks North America’s market share to 39% year-to-date. Mark Lampert, senior vice-president of sales and marketing, says he expects to finish 2013 calendar with record share levels.

At a press gathering in Napa, Freightliner announced that orders for the 2014 Cascadia Evolution has surpassed 15,000 since the model's start of production in March 2013. Additionally, sales of the M2 product line in Class 6, 7 and 8 segments totaled 19,472 units. 

“We’ll see some decline from the 39%, but in total, it will be our best year ever,” Lampert says.

Lampert forecasts total NAFTA Class 8 sales for 2013 will probably down by 5% to 7%, while Class 6 and 7 sales will be up 7% to 8% in total.

“We’re expecting combined Class 6 through 8 to be about 330,000 units, down from 344,227 in 2012,” he said. “We’ll see a slight contraction in Class 8 sales while Class 6 and 7 will see slight growth.”

While 2013 won’t be a spectacular year for the Class 8 NAFTA market, it’s on track to be a good one, and Freightliner is sitting comfortably at the top of the heap. Wards Auto figures show Freightliner rising through 2011, 2012, and 2013 from 30.5% market share in the U.S. to 39% 2013 year-to-date.

“What pleases us most is that we’re taking share from everyone,” Lampert says. “We’re up a total of 6.6 market share points, while all other Class 8 manufacturers are down. Our growth is coming at the expense of everybody year-to-date.”

Lampert attributes Freightliner’s market-leading position with a product lineup that is address customers key concerns: fuel economy and the cost of operation.

Lampert says customer have come to a point where they have allowed their truck to run longer than 500,000 miles and they are seeing operating and maintenance costs skyrocket. When some of today’s six- or seven-year-old trucks were new, they were seeing maintenance costs of around 2.5 cent-per-mile. “Those cost have ballooned now to 16 or 18 cents per mile,” Lampert notes. “On top of that, many of those trucks are EPA ’07 generation technology, which is some of the worst we’ve had in terms of fuel economy.”

Freightliner says the 2014 Cascadia Evolution features aerodynamic and efficiency improvements that deliver up to an additional 7% improvement in fuel economy over an EPA 2010-compliant Cascadia, and up to 5% improvement in fuel efficiency over the 2013 Cascadia with first-generation aerodynamic enhancements. They didn’t speculate what the incremental improvement might be between an EPA ’07 engine and the current generation DD15, but as Lampert points out, cost reduction in a sluggish freight market is paramount.

“The value proposition the customers have recognized is taking maintenance costs down from 16 to 18 cents back to 2 cents and improving fuel economy by about a mile per gallon,” says Lampert. “That’s obviously driving a lot of what we’re seeing in the market place.

Meduim Duty Market Share

Lampert emphasized the importance of the medium-duty Class 6 and 7 market place to Freightliner, saying since 2011, market share has grown to 45.4% of North American retail sales – including the M2 product line, the Custom Chassis business and the bus business, a total of everything register as Class 6 or 7.

“Year-to-date, ’13 versus ’12, we’re up 7.7 market share points, Paccar is down 1.8, Ford is up 4.8, Hino is down 1 and Navistar is down 9.3 market share point” Lampert says. “When you look at order intake for NAFTA, our M2 business alone is bigger than a lot of out competitors’ total class 6 through 8 business.”

In the vocational segment, Freightliner has more than doubled its market share from just under 16% in 2008 to 33.9% as of March 2013.

On a larger scale, Lampert says the global market for commercial vehicles should be up slightly from calendar 2012, but in the key markets for Daimler Trucks -- NAFTA, Japan and the Eurozone -- sales will be down from last year.