Daimler Truck Holding AG
Board Chairman Martin Daum

Daimler Truck chair: North American demand helping set up a good 2023

June 23, 2022
Supply chain and costs pressures remain problems, Martin Daum said, but customers are still looking for vehicles. He also reiterated Daimler Truck's belief in the benefits autonomous trucks would bring to fleets.

Daimler Truck Holding AG Board Chairman Martin Daum said June 22 that his team continues to face “enormous” supply chain headwinds and cost pressures but added that he remains “pretty confident” for 2022 because of underlying demand and the company’s ongoing ability to pass along price increases.

“It’s one of the worst years ever in my long career in trucking where we sometimes have to touch a truck three, four times to add the missing parts,” Daum said on CNBC, elaborating on a theme he discussed in March, when he said Daimler Truck had 10,000 nearly finished trucks waiting for key parts and that executives had enlisted helicopters to fly components to some of its plants.

See also: Fleets and their customers are driving decarbonization

Such investments are still paying off, though: Daum said he’s not seeing demand fall off for Daimler Truck’s lineup. In North America, where the company sells Freightliner and Western Star trucks, he added that demand is being supported by the need to replace about 200,000 older trucks. (By way of comparison, Daimler Truck last year sold 162,000 trucks in North America and expect to grow that number to between 175,000 and 195,000 this year.)

“That, in my opinion, makes me optimistic that we will see a not-too-bad 2023,” Daum said on the day Daimler Truck held its first annual shareholders’ meeting since being listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. “And ‘not too bad’ is a German expression for, ‘It could be a good 2023.’”

In additional comments to Daimler Truck’s shareholders, Daum also reiterated his team’s belief in the promise—in terms of safety and sustainability but also commercially—of autonomous trucks. The company has been working with Waymo on a series of trials and its Torc Robotics subsidiary is testing out an autonomous driving software system.

See also: Fleets could soon have autonomous driving products to choose from

“They have very significant economic potential for us as a company and also for our customers,” he said. “We are making important progress.”

The goal, Daum added, is to have Daimler Truck—which employs more than 100,000 people globally—begin large-scale production of long-distance autonomous trucks by the end of this decade. North America will again play a key role on that front: Daum said the company’s first target market for such vehicles will be the connections between the region’s logistics hubs.

Shares of Daimler Truck (Ticker: DTG) fell nearly 4% in Frankfurt trading June 22. Year to date, they have lost nearly 20% of their value, shrinking the company’s market capitalization to about $21.5 billion.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has more than two decades of business journalism experience and writes about markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications FleetOwner, Healthcare InnovationIndustryWeek, Oil & Gas Journal and T&D World. With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati and later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal. Most recently, he oversaw the online and print products of the Nashville Post and reported primarily on Middle Tennessee’s finance sector as well as many of its publicly traded companies.

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