Ask me which I prefer? It's a difficult decision. The beauty of
's Denali Wilderness and its trees
totally enveloped in snow and its roads pure sheets of ice is not to be
dismissed. But the balmy breezes and whale sightings make Los Cabos would have
to be my first choice. Alaska
The first event was to demonstrate how well Sprinter vans cope with the coldest extremes on the planet. Quite well, I can report. The second event was to talk about Freightliner’s success at home and abroad – like overtaking International in its previously unassailable position as medium-duty market leader and the drive for more exports. The Class 6/7 win is quite the accomplishment for Freightliner – never a player in medium-duty until it launched the Business Class in 1991.
Freightliner is after a much bigger share overseas, too. With its Vision 15, the company plans to go from a fairly small 4,000 units in export markets in 2010 to 15,000 in 2015. Its big successes to date are
where the cabover Argosy has become a firm fixture. In South Africa Australia, the recently launched 114 has made a
big hit, according to Mark Lampert, sales senior vice president. Coronado Latin America, too, has strong potential, he says.
Down in Los Cabos at the very end of the
Baja Peninsula, the Mexican market was obviously a topic
for discussion and it was interesting to hear that Daimler Trucks regards as a
major market comparable to the Brazilian juggernaut. Mexico Brazil,
said Freightliner Mexico President and CEO Gerhardt Gross, is undoubtedly a
huge target, but
has a far greater potential with a faster economic growth and an average age
for the truck population of 21 years. Mexico
My comment was that there must be an almost limitless market for duct tape and bailing wire in
So the potential replacement truck market is enormous as the Mexican economy
gains momentum. Gross says Mexico Mexico
is seeking to shake its dependence on the economy, diversifying into
other Latin American markets. But the reality is that it will be tied to the U.S.
economy for at least two decades more and so it's important to Freightliner. U.S.
And Freightliner is important to
producing Class 8 Cascadia trucks in Saltillo,
near Monterrey, and mediums alongside other
Freightliner heavies in Santiago Tianguistenco, near . Mexico City
Closer to home, Freightliner’s 2014 Cascadia Evolution is seeing strong representation in the product mix, says Lampert. This is the spec that debuted mid-2013 and by careful matching of components, it offers better than 5% fuel efficiency gains. The DT 12 automated
transmission will add to these fuel savings through optimization of the
Yes, there is an upcharge for the automated transmission, but it’s one that has a realistic payback in fuel savings. In fact, the purchase price of the vehicle these days represents only 15% of the total cost of ownership so the premium is relatively small.
Because of this, Daimler is anticipating a major swing to the Detroit DT 12, going from zero in 2012 with about 75% of Cascadia production currently Eaton manuals with a smattering of Eaton automateds to a position where Eaton manuals and Detroit DT 12s are running about the same with about 42% each. Allison will make up the rest. That may take something of a hit with the Eaton announcement of the Advantage Series, an overhaul for the old manuals
So what about those Sprinter vans in
Post to follow… Alaska