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Truck Dealers Urged to Embrace Change to Vanquish Challenges

 Martin Daum

Martin Daum

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 4) — Industry analysts expect that by 2013 heavy truck sales will rocket to a level 113 percent higher than during the depths of the recession.

Such a prediction is modest, said Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, during his keynote address at the ATD Opening Session. The European economic crisis and the rocketing growth in China are just two uncertainties that may affect the U.S. trucking industry's growth.

"We are not alone," said Daum. "We face supply shortages because we are not on an island. [Trucking] is part of a global economy.”

Worldwide demand for trucks often results in shortages in the U.S. That's truer now than ever because emerging markets, such as India, have grown so rapidly in the past decade, he said.

Other challenges the industry faces include:

•    Enhanced customer demand that requires continuous improvement of vehicles
•    Regulations, especially those regarding environmental concerns;
•    Increased awareness of sustainability
•    Taxes that dull the drive for innovation

Rather than turn a blind eye to the challenges, Daum said, dealers and the industry must embrace the change. That means investing in everything from technology that will lessen trucking's impact on the environment to education so those who work in dealerships will be better able to address the high-tech issues in sophisticated trucks.

"We can fear or embrace change," he said. "Evolution will follow its own course.”



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