HANOVER, Germany. Martin Daum, head of Daimler’s global truck and bus division, said customer sentiment remains high and new truck orders remain elevated.
As a result, the company is practically sold out through the first half of 2019. Yet Daum said he is “not fully rejoicing.”
“When we have years when the market is too high above the long-term average it foreshadows a valley,” he said.
During a media briefing at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show, Daum also said he is a proponent of open trade, and that trade wars result in “no winner, just losers.”
"Whoever separates himself from the global markets suffers,” Daum said. “You get a bigger share of your cake, but the cake shrinks.”
He noted prices for alumni and steel have increased from tariffs, making trucks costlier for buyers. The trickles down to “consumers because ultimately transportation might become more expensive,” Daum said.
He also announced at IAA that Daimler was leading a $155 million investment in Calif.-based Proterra Inc., a manufacturer of electric charging systems.
Daum said this was a strategic step for both companies to expand their footprints into more markets and to develop additional products. Among the first ventures will be incorporating Proterra’s technologies into school buses under Daimler’s Thomas Built Buses brand.
Besides electric vehicles like the Fuso eCanter, Daimler also showed on the exhibit floor Daimler a full electric eCitaro bus, using fuel cell technology as a range extender. Known as FCell, it was also part of a concept Sprinter van on display.
During June, Daimler Trucks North America unveiled its Freightliner eCascadia heavy-duty truck and Freightliner eM2 medium-duty models.
Editor's note: Check back later this week for a closer look at Daimler's technology demonstrations and conceptual van of the future from IAA.