In a seeming repeat of last year's performance, Daimler Trucks North America said it is effectively sold out for the remainder of the 2019 model year. The company sold a record 175,950 units in 2018. It was the largest year ever for retail sales in the history of the company, said Richard Howard, DTNA’s senior vice-president – sales and marketing.
"By March of last year, we were technically sold out for the whole of 2018," Howard told a press gathering in Palm Beach, Florida. "And in terms of business performance, today, we are effectively sold out for 2019. It's a great position to be in."
In terms of New Cascadia registrations and sales, DTNA was sitting at just under 90,000 units as of last month. Howard predicted DTNA would "punch through the 100,000 mark" during the first three months of 2019. "That is quite an amazing number for a truck that has been on the road for such a short period of time," he said.
The New Cascadia was first unveiled in 2016. Production ramped up to full capacity during the second quarter of last year and has been going full-bore ever since.
Daimler has taken steps to ensure that all those spots on the assembly line turn into actual sales.
"Back in July of last year, we conducted a deep review of dealer orders and purged 45,000 orders to ensure those we had were based on actual customer demand not just speculative orders from the dealer network," Howard said.
As well, Daimler moved to a dealer allocation system in 2018 to ensure a fairer approach. The company reviewed order intake again in the fall and concluded it had lower than normal cancellation rates, which historically run at about 3%. "Today, we are at about half that cancellation rate on our backlog, and we still have more order intake than we can handle in 2019," noted Howard.
Howard attributed the high market acceptance of the New Cascadia to the integrated Detroit powertrain and the advanced safety systems. He said 95% of all DTNA customers choose Detroit power and the DT12 automated transmission, while 75% of the customer base choose Detroit Assurance as their safety system of choice.
"Customers have told us that prior to the introduction of Detroit Assurance, their incident rate was as high as 1 in 5 in any given year. They now claim it has dropped to 1 in 20," said Howard.
The New Cascadia will launch later this year in Australia, while the classic Cascadia will see the end of its run by the end of 2019.