kscarbel2 Posted January 19, 2017 Share Posted January 19, 2017 Big Rigs / January 18, 2017 Early in 2016, Daimler Truck & Bus Australia/ Pacific lifted the skirts for a little for a peek at new models and new direction under new management. At the time Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus general manager Michael May talked about improved Australianisation of Benz product and told me "we know we can do better”. Since then Benz's curtains of secrecy were ripped apart to expose the full line-up of Actros models in late October 2016. So just how have those plans for Daimler Truck eventuated? In the middle of the silly season, Big Rigs had the opportunity to interrupt play at the Australia versus Pakistan test at the MCG and ask the director of Daimler Truck & Bus, Daniel Whitehead, exactly that question. He told Big Rigs that the company certainly had set high expectations. "I can cautiously say those expectations have been far exceeded and as more customers get (Actros) vehicles on the road I think we are looking forward to having our truck in the market as mainstream product,” he said. Earlier in the year, Mercedes-Benz product boss, Mike May, told me that there was now a corporate realisation that the Aussie market is different to Europe, saying Mercedes- Benz product must adapt to Australian conditions. He said with the development of the new Actros line-up it was necessary to change the corporate mindset. "Rather than being an engineering company driving our products down into the market, it is now about making the application and the customer as starting points,” May said. He said his people need to spend more time in the customers' shoes, trying to understand the needs of an operator running up and down the West Coast, or wherever. Beside Mercedes-Benz, Whitehead's purview covers, among other product lines, Freightliner and Fuso products and even with the receding viability of the resources sector and the impact that has had on US sourced trucks, he is upbeat about Freightliner's performance. "Freightliner was the only American truck that grew market share in 2016. With the dollar and everything it has been a tough market but you can only compete against your competitors and as I said Freightliner was the only brand that grew market share in 2016 and we are very pleased with that.” And with the Japanese wing of the global truck builder, Whitehead said he was pleased with the 2016 performance. "Fuso had 10% growth, over 4000 units for the first time in a long time. Our Fuso dealers are very enthusiastic and a lot of them showed good growth this year and we've got new product coming later in 2017,” he said. But it is the Actros that has the Daimler Benz marketers excited. "I don't want to over promise and under deliver but so far everything we have seen and what we have done has over exceeded our expectations.” He reckons customers are "over the moon” with the truck's performance. "Our customers are seeing some amazing fuel figures. We can always tell you that but when our customers are telling us how good the truck is and how it has exceeded what we told them, that's what we want to hear,” he said. While Whitehead agreed there was a lot of hard work to be done to get the Mercedes-Benz product into the market as a mainstream competitor, he said: "We will get Mercedes-Benz to where it should be.” Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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