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November 24, 2014 2:15 AM, EST

Class 8 Sales to Yield Record For Daimler Financial Unit

By Daniel P. Bearth, Staff Writer

This story appears in the Nov. 24 print edition of Transport Topics.

Executives at Daimler Financial Services said they expect the company to report record results in 2014 on surging sales of commercial trucks in the United States.

“We’re experiencing one of the best years in our company’s history,” said Klaus Entenmann, chairman of the board of management for the financing arm of Daimler AG, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany.

In the first 10 months of the year, Daimler Financial Services signed 1.1 million contracts to finance or lease cars and trucks worldwide. About 237,000 of them were new contracts for trucks, vans and buses, amounting to an increase of 11% from the same period in 2013.

Demand for commercial vehicles is a “significant factor” in the growth of financing activity over the past year, said Juergen Rochert, vice president of Daimler Truck Financial in Dallas.

The dollar value of contracts to buy new and used trucks, cargo vans and school buses in the United States this year is projected to reach $4 billion and set an all-time record, Rochert said in an interview with Transport Topics on Nov. 13.

The value of Daimler’s truck-finance portfolio in the United States has more than doubled to $10.3 billion as of Oct. 31, compared with $5 billion at the end of 2010.

Rochert said the company is seeing a “massive improvement” Scott Kuebler, Detroit’s general manager of component sales, said active brake assist is constantly active in the truck, offering audible and visual signals to warn a driver of a potential collision. It is able to bring the vehicle to a stop if proper action is not taken by the driver.

The adaptive cruise control feature allows drivers to set a speed and then desired distance between 2.3 seconds and 3.5 seconds from the next vehicle.

From there, the radar system automatically slows down as needed due to congestion or a slow-moving vehicle and then accelerates to the original speed when conditions allow.

Detroit Assurance will be available in the first quarter of 2015 on new Freightliner Cascadia and Cascadia Evolution models with Detroit-brand engines and the DT12 automated transmission.

The system also will be available in these trucks spec’d with Eaton manual transmissions. Additionally, company officials said the Meritor Wabco lane-departure system still will be offered.

The technology, as well as the lane-departure warning system, was demonstrated for journalists on the Florida Turnpike with the aid of several passenger cars.

DTNA executives first announced Detroit Assurance at a press briefing last month.

“Detroit Assurance not only benefits driver performance but also directly impacts the vehicle’s overall operation through automatic transitions,” Richard Howard, DTNA vice president of sales and marketing, said at the briefing.