Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has announced it is realigning its structure to move away from a brand-centered approach to focus instead on its two major areas of operation.
Instead of having a vice president in charge of the Freightliner brand and another vp for the Western Star brand, DTNA will now have an On Highway division and a Vocational division with Richard Howard moving from his role as senior vice president of DTNA sales and marketing to head up the On-Highway organisation and David Carson from Western Star to head the Vocational segment.
DTNA president and CEO, Roger Neilsen, said brand loyalty is becoming less significant in the market for trucks and that the life-cycle of a truck is far more important to a buyer.
“As we progress in this century, definitely the loyalty to a certain design or certain logo is no longer the deciding factor,” Nielsen said.
“Purchases now are “data-driven” and the buyers “pay attention to the total cost of ownership, it’s not so much driven by the initial purchase price but a look at the lifecycle cost of the truck,” he said,
Most DTNA dealers sell both Freightliner and Western Star brands, with Freightliner primarily aimed toward the on-road market and Western Star tending to focus on the vocational side of the business, however not exclusively, with the Western Star 5700 for instance targeted toward the on-road market while the Freightliner EconicSD is aimed at vocational customers.
“We are organising our business to bring equally strong focus to both our on-highway and vocational truck customers,” Neilsen said in Daimler’s prepared statement.
“This new strategy will ensure that we are delivering the best experience for customers, no matter the application or the industry,” he added.
The changes come with significant new roles for several individuals. Howard will have responsibility for what DTNA said is the “complete portfolio” of on-highway trucks and will have the title of senior vice president as he had been senior vice president of sales and marketing for all of DTNA.
Drew Backeberg will become vice president of On-Highway Sales bringing his 18-years of experience at DTNA to his new role in charge of some of the company’s largest selling on-highway products, including the Freightliner Cascadia.
Sales previously would have been handled under the individual Freightliner and Western Star brands. There also will be a new structure for vocational sales that will carve the U.S. up into three regions.
Marketing and product strategy for both on-highway and vocational trucks will be headed by Kary Schaefer who has been with the company for 21 years.
“The reach of the organisation is much deeper and broader with a dedicated vocational organization, we’ve never had that breadth and depth in the past,” Howard said.
Despite the fact that Daimler Trucks Australia answers directly to DTNA in Portand, Oregon, a local spokesperson told T&B News that there are no plans to change the structure of the local operation.