The trucking industry will enjoy strong orders through the end of the year and into 2016, according to Brian Cota, vice president of sales, national accounts for Daimler Trucks North America. Speaking at the recent ACT Research Seminar, Cota touched on a number of factors during his presentation.
He is optimistic about the truck market for 2016 “because of the quality and fuel efficiency of the trucks.” He said model year 2013 Cascadias with Detroit engines had average fuel economy of 6.5 mpg. Model year 2017 Cascadia Evolution trucks will achieve 6.82 mpg, he said, and those same trucks spec’d with DT12 automated transmissions will see 7.15 mpg.
“We do not think economic conditions have to be amazing to have a good trucking industry," he said. The growth in truck sales has been driven by the increased fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance needs of today’s trucks, Cota believes.
Freight is still strong, Cota said, but added that some shippers are concerned about capacity. He thinks contract rates will come down, but some shippers will be looking to lock down capacity early.
He believes phase two of the greenhouse gas regulations could have a substantial impact on the industry, but, “I am optimistic the government will listen to us,” he said. “All truck OEs are aligned about what the testing standards should be. And the timing of the new regulations should give us time to build more reliable trucks [that meet the standards.]”
In spec’ing trends, he said, Daimler has seen a great deal of interest in its integrated drivetrain. In addition, 66% of the trucks the company sells have high aerodynamic content, 11% of its sleepers are being spec’d with auxiliary power units, 13% with battery HVAC systems, 10.5% with wide base single tires, 40% with direct drive transmissions and 40% with collision mitigation systems. The company is also seeing an increase in the take rate for 6x2 axles, which are being ordered on 2.5% of Daimler’s trucks.