DaimlerChysler's efforts to restructure its Freightliner division is ahead of schedule, according to Eckhard Cordes, head of the German firm's Commercial Vehicles Div. Speaking at the Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA) show in Hannover, Germany, last month, Cordes said Freightliner reached the break-even point in this year's second quarter. The original goal had been to hit that mark in the fourth quarter.
While DaimlerChrysler commercial vehicle sales worldwide are down compared to last year, market share remains steady. Cordes expects '02 Class 8 sales in North America to be on par with '01. He added that while there are no clear forecasts yet for 2003, overall he expects the same levels of commercial vehicle sales as in 2002.
Cordes called the rollout of the Sprinter van one of the highlights of this year's U.S. market. The U.S. version of the Sprinter, marketed under Dodge and Freightliner nameplates, is built in Europe and assembled in the U.S. However, when the Sprinter receives a facelift in 2005, production of U.S. units will shift stateside.
DaimlerChrysler may eventually have its own heavy-duty family of 6-cyl. engines in the 9.5-liter range, Cordes noted. Versions for Freightliner trucks would be built in the U.S. and for Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe and Brazil.
Should DaimlerChrysler expand its relationship with Mitsubishi Fuso, it would possibly build engines for those trucks in Japan.