After a record-breaking year for truck manufacturing in 2018, global truck maker Daimler Trucks expects to see some moderation in overall economic growth in the U.S. through the second half of the year, along with a corresponding normalization in commercial vehicle sales figures.
“We had record sales in 2018, with more than half a million trucks sold,” said Daimler Trucks chief Martin Daum at a press event ahead of the CES electronics show in Las Vegas. “Sales were particularly strong in the United States and very strong in Asia, Europe and other markets around the world.”
Daimler Trucks North America had its most successful business year ever, with Class 6-8 sales in the U.S. and Canada topping 165,000 vehicles. That represents an increase of 18% over 2017.
Class 8 trucks alone represented 110,000 of the U.S. and Canadian units sold in 2018, up 26% over 2017. Half of these trucks were new Freightliner Cascadias. Daimler said it has sold or booked orders for 145,000 of the revamped on-highway tractor since it was introduced in 2017. The Western Star brand also saw sales increases of more than 18% over 2017.
“Including sales in Mexico and overseas, our sales were up 16% in 2018,” said DTNA CEO Roger Nielsen. “Incoming orders and the backlog we have for 2019 reflect customer reception of the new Cascadia. Along with that, the take rate of our proprietary technology – Detroit engines, transmissions, axles, and Assurance safety systems – shows an unprecedented level of customer acceptance.”
Nielson said North America in 2018 saw the highest new truck sales volumes since 2006.
“The industry has seen extremely high demand for trucks that has led to full order boards, strong backlogs, and the highest new truck production levels in over a decade,” he said.
Daimler was in Las Vegas to announce some significant developments to the Cascadia's suite of advanced driver assistance systems that will bring the truck to Level 2 autonomy, and to demonstrate its fleet of battery-electric vehicles.