With strong sales in North America for heavy-duty trucks equipped with ’06 engines carrying into the beginning of ’07, DaimlerChrysler’s truck unit, the world’s largest commercial truck maker, expects to eke out a profit this year.
Andreas Renschler, the head of Truck Group, said its U.S. Freightliner unit will remain profitable for the first time in a truck-cycle downturn, according a report in The Wall Street Journal. The industry consensus is that demand for heavy-duty trucks in North America is expected to tumble about 40% this year.
Freightliner said it could cut as many as 4,000 assembly jobs in North America, having already announced its plan to lay off 800 at its St. Thomas, Ontario assembly plant by March.
“They will see softness in truck orders in the first half of the year and maybe the first three quarters, but orders will resume because trucks are still running on the road and will need to be replaced,” Satish Jindel, president of S.J. Consulting told FleetOwner.
According to WardsAuto.com, January U.S. retail sales of Class 8 trucks fell only 3.5% compared to the same month last year. This is relatively flat compared to a 72% plummet in new orders reported by A.C.T. Research for the same month.
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