Yet DTNA39s CEO thinks stronger Class 8 sales volumes will return in 2018 Photo by Sean KilcarrFleet Owner

DTNA chief sees slow U.S. truck sales through mid 2017

Oct. 3, 2016
Overall U.S. retail Class 8 sales will end the year 26% below 2015.

LAS VEGAS.  Calling the current downturn in U.S. Class 8 truck sales “a bit unexpected,” Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, now expects those slow sales to continue through the first half of 2017. And while he believes sales will pick up in the second half, “they won’t be enough to offset the first half, so we’re seeing 2017 as off slightly from this year,” he said at a press conference during the American Trucking Assns.’ annual management conference.

Overall Class 6 to 8 retail sales in the U.S. will end the year down 16% from 2015, with almost all of the loss coming in Class 8, according to Daum. Heavy truck sales will be off 26% from 2015 levels, he said.

With expectations that interest rates will remain relatively low and the economy will continue to register growth, Daum now sees a return to stronger Class 8 sales finally coming in 2018. Those sales will be driven by fleets beginning to refresh aging equipment, he said.

ACT Research forecasts U.S. retail Class 8 sales ending the year at 210,000 trucks, down from 253,000 in 2015.  ACT chief economist Kenny Veith told Fleet Owner that his most recent calculations put 2017 sales in the range of 150,000 to 154,000 units, with a fairly strong resurgence following in 2018.

“We might have forgotten a bit about [cyclical truck-sales downturns] during the strong markets the last two years,” Daum said.  One of his goals for DTNA in the coming year is to successfully manage the market cycles no matter where the final numbers end up.

Turning to other topics, Daum called the recently release Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Phase 2 reduction proposal “challenging but achievable” by fine-tuning existing technology. He praised federal regulators for working with industry to develop a plan that gives truck manufacturers “flexibility, lead time and certainty… without surprises or disruptions.” 

While Daum doesn’t rule out any new technologies, “we definitely won’t need waste heat recovery, battery power or natural gas” to reach the 2020 to 2027 Phase 2 requirements. The required reductions in GHG emissions “are huge steps, but I’m confident we can reach them,” he said.

By comparison, the future of autonomous driving technologies is “still too blurry” for any type of definitive government regulation. “We don’t even know yet what is possible, and we have to work our way though exploring those possibilities,” Daum said.

About the Author

Jim Mele

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...