As the world’s largest truck manufacturer, Daimler is going to have a major influence on the future of truck development and when looking at the big picture for Freightliner, Diesel News got a chance to question some of its global leadership team to find out their thoughts.
There can be no doubt that the future of truck design and manufacture is in a state of flux at the moment. The days when diesel power was the only way to go have now passed. We have electric, hydrogen, natural gas, bio-gas and much more. Similarly, the spectre of autonomous trucks hangs over the head of the truck manufacturers, with no clear timeline.
For the launch of the new Freightliner Cascadia, recently, some of the top executives in the Daimler Truck organisation were in town and sat down with the Australian truck media to discuss all things truck and trucking.
In terms of scale the Daimler Trucks organisation is a major player in global trucks, probably the biggest in the world. In the North American market it sold 190,000 trucks last year, including 40 per cent of all sales of heavy duty trucks. the number in Europe was around 80,000. Overall, globally, the business sold over 450,000 trucks and buses through all of its brands.
In comparison to these massive numbers, Australia managed to buy 1624 Mercedes Benz, 3382 Fuso and 280 Freightliner trucks, to give them a grand total of 5,286 for the year in 2019. Recent years have seen the Mercedes Benz brand bounce with strong sales on the back of the introduction of the new heavy duty range in 2016. Fuso have always been a strong player, especially in light and medium duty and Freightliner have been struggling since the discontinuation of the Argosy model.
The organisation expects to reinvigorate the Freightliner brand with serious intent and an investment of $100 million in configuring the Cascadia for the Australian market. Early signs show a lot of interest in the Australian truck market for a conventional which comes bundled with a fuel efficient driveline and all of the latest electronic and safety features available off the shelf.
Martin Daum as the Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler Truck is the global chief when it comes to Daimler Trucks and he spoke to a selection of journalists in the run up to the pizazz of the Cascadia’s launch in Sydney at the end of 2019.
“Buying a truck is the most important decision in the life of a transport company,” says Martin. “If we fail, we let them down. We want to give them them the best available product. We are just about everywhere in the world, there are very few countries where we are not currently present. North Korea won’t let us in and Venezuela don’t have any money.
“We have all of our brands in Australia and it makes it an interesting market for us, it’s really a lab where all of the different technologies and brands come together. The market can pick and choose what the best is. Funnily enough, everyone has their niche. It also shows our global brands have a right to be there.
“We had one big failure here, when the initial Cascadia was launched in 2008 in the US, it was a left hand drive truck. We made a mistake, that we weren’t able to make that truck in a right hand drive. It was only developed in left hand drive and it was impossible to make it into a righthand drive.”