LOS CABOS, MEXICO. One month does not make a trend, but exceptionally strong new truck orders in January are "very encouraging," according to David Hames, GM of marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America. Preliminary Class 6 through 8 order numbers for the first month were the highest recorded since 2006, not just for DTNA, but across the board, he said at a press briefing.
"Some of the things that need to happen [in the economy] are starting to line up for the first time and we're very optimistic, though we know how fragile the recovery has been," Hames said.
A return to huge sales peaks like those seen in 2006 aren't likely as fleets are exhibiting prudent discipline with capacity expansion, according to Hames. "We're seeing more purchases based on business requirements. not the speculative truck purchases of past."
While the sales recovery is welcome, "if this [January order] trend continues, it could present capacity issues [for suppliers] going forward," Hames said.
Asked about the source of the orders, Hames characterized them as "broad based and strong."
The January orders were not coming from DTNA's top 25 accounts, but rather were dealer based, representing a return to the market for smaller fleets, according to Mark Lampert, Sr. VP of marketing and sales.
"The mega fleets already have the newest equipment out on the road," Lampert said. "Smaller fleets and vocational operations have been out of the market for a while. But those who made it through the downturn are now coming back to the market."