Daimler Trucks North America’s Vocational Truck Sales Rise

Jonathan S. Reiskin for TT

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. — Daimler Trucks North America said it is reaping returns in sales of heavy- and medium-duty vocational trucks based on the investments and planning that started during the depths of the recession.

In a July 29 press event here, DTNA executives said sales of Freightliner SD and M2 vocational vehicles have grown more rapidly from 2009 through 2013 than U.S. and Canadian vocational sales industrywide. They also said they have seen the pattern continue during the first half of this year.

The original equipment manufacturer used registration data from the Polk division of IHS Automotive and sales figures from WardsAuto.com for analysis and found that annual vocational Class 8 registrations leapt by 151% for Freightliner Trucks from 2009 to 2013, whereas industrywide, heavy-duty vocational growth was 63% over the same time.

David Hames, a DTNA general manager, said characterizing vocational vehicles as dump trucks and concrete mixers is an oversimplification. The company slices vocational into six segments: specialized hauling, vehicles for utility companies, food-and-beverage distribution, government fleets (mainly states and municipalities), construction and refuse.

Vocational sales suffered disproportionately during the recession because of the collapse in buying in the construction and government segments.

In its vocational business, Freightliner does not sell directly to end users but rather to TEMs, or truck equipment manufacturers, that include a truck cab, engine and chassis as part of a larger machine.

Also during the event, Freightliner announced it will add the Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural-gas engine as an option for its 114SD truck starting next year. Freightliner has offered the ISL G as an option for 114SD, but ISL G has only 9 liters of displacement as a natural-gas power plant.

The 114SD has been available with natural gas with the 9-liter Cummins Westport ISL G engine since 2011. Freightliner says with the upcoming availability of the ISX12 G, fleets can get increased horsepower and torque ratings.

For more coverage, see the Aug. 4 issue of Transport Topics.