Daimer Trucks North America feeling bullish about the move to automated manual transmissions.
Whether it’s due to the need for better fuel efficiency or the dearth of younger drivers with experience driving a vehicle with manual transmission, the shift to automatic and automated manual transmissions (AMTs) is growing rapidly. As proof that this is the wave of the future, Truckinginfo.com recently ran an article Automated Manuals: A Success Story that detailed the progress being made.
In 2012, Martin Daum, head of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced that the company would spend $120 million in facilities to build the Detroit DT12 AMTs in the U.S. That was the first time the company would build transmissions anywhere outside of Germany. That plant is scheduled to up and running next year with the capacity to build 30,000 units.
Back then, in 2012, Daum talked about the reasons for this move away from the traditional fully manual transmission. Along with an average 1.5% improvement in fuel economy, he also noted that an AMT would be easier for younger, less experienced drivers who lacked the skill set required to driver a fully manual, heavy-duty truck.
At this month’s America Trucking Associations Management Conference in San Diego, Daum said that it was likely that the plant would sell the full capacity of 30,000 of the plant in 2015. In fact, he stated, “We invest in Detroit for 57,000 automated transmissions in 2017, and that may not be enough.”