Daimler focuses on powertrain integration

Global cross-brand platforms for powertrain components support the high levels of investment needed to develop world-class technology while preserving economies of scale and optimizing worldwide production operations, according to the Daimler Trucks executive charged with overseeing those operations.  

The Detroit DD 13 engine, which was developed in North America and first deployed here in Freightliner and Western Star trucks, was the first success for this “modular strategy,” said Stefan Buchner, head of the new Daimler Truck business unit, global powertrain, procurement and manufacturing engineering trucks.  Since its launch in the NAFTA markets, this new “heavy duty engine platform” has also moved to Fuso heavy-duty trucks in Japan and now the new Actros tractor in Europe. Other variations of the engine platform will also eventually find their way into Daimler trucks in Russia, India and China, he said, “proving the success of this concept.”

A medium-duty engine platform, introduced last week at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, is the company’s second global engine platform.  It’s expansion to North America and other global brands will “depend on local market requirements, but there are no technical barriers” to that expansion, Buchner said in a recent press conference held at Daimler Truck’s Kassel, Germany, axle plant.

Daimler is following a similar strategy with its PowerShift automated mechanical transmission, which is the dominant gearbox in its European Actros heavy-duty truck.  Recently introduced in North America as the Detroit DT12, it will first be offered next May in the Cascadia Evolution with the Detroit DD15 engine, Buchner said. In Nov. 2013, it will be added as an option with the DD13 and then the DD16 in the first quarter of 2014, he said.

Detroit brand axles complete the global Diamler powertrain strategy here in North America.

 Acknowledging that the NAFTA region is the only developed market where customers select components when they buy trucks, Buchner said Daimler’s goal for penetration of its proprietary platform power train components here is 85% for engines, 60% for front axles, 40% for rear axles and 15% for transmissions.

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