Mexican carrier’s Freightliner Cascadia acquisition bucks otherwise dismal domestic sales figures

Daimler Commercial Vehicles México delivered 10 new Freightliner Cascadia units to cross-border carrier Grupo HG Transportaciones on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old freight transport company based in Monterrey, Mexico, now has a fleet of around 460 vehicles, said company officials during a ceremony for the new trucks.

The acquisition was one of the few bright spots for Mexico’s domestic truck market, with truck sales declining as much as 38% over the last half of 2019.

The assembly of heavy-duty trucks and passenger buses totaled 9,005 units for December 2019, which represents a 37% decline compared to the same period in 2018, according to new data from Mexico’s Association of Bus and Truck Manufacturers (ANPACT).

The decline in December continued a downward trend in Mexico’s domestic truck sales since August, which counts companies such as Freightliner, Navistar, Kenworth, Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Volkswagen as members.

Exports also fell 27% in December, compared with the same month in 2018, hit by lower demand in the United States and Canada, ANPACT said.

Miguel Elizalde, president of ANPACT, said new laws forcing truck manufacturers in Mexico to assemble and market engines using only clean diesel have hurt domestic sales.

Despite the decline in December, exports of trucks manufactured in Mexico were up 14% for the year overall, according to ANPACT.

“It is time to replicate such growth in the domestic market, creating incentives for fleet replacement,” Elizalde said in a statement.

In January, Volvo Trucks Mexico delivered 76 new VNL 630 models to Transportes Monroy Schiavon (TMS), one of the leading asset-based carriers in Mexico.

While Daimler did not specify where the 10 Cascadia trucks were built, all Freightliners in Mexico are assembled at either its Saltillo or Santiago plants.

“These 10 Freightliner Cascadia 2020 tractors incorporate the Detroit DD13 [diesel] engines — which comply with the EURO V emission standards, supporting our commitment to reduce polluting emissions,” Gilberto Ochoa, deputy general manager of Grupo HG Transportaciones, said during the ceremony Wednesday.

Five of the trucks will have manual transmissions. The other five will have Detroit DT12 automated mechanical transmissions “to boost efficiency and safety in operation,” Ochoa said.

All 10 trucks will also be equipped with Detroit Assurance technology, which is designed to increase driving safety, and telematics software for tracking and diagnostic tools, according to Daimler Commercial Vehicles México.

“At Daimler Commercial Vehicles México, we are committed to the growth of our business partners — we hope it will allow [Grupo HG Transportaciones] to boost the more than 360,000 deliveries they make each year, as well as strategically face a constantly changing environment,” Claudio de la Peña, sales and marketing director of Daimler Commercial Vehicles México, said during the ceremony.

Grupo HG Transportaciones, one of the largest trucking companies in Mexico, serves as a carrier for shippers mainly in the automotive and manufacturing industries through cross-border deliveries between Mexico and the U.S., according to company officials.

It has more than 1,000 employees. Along with its headquarters and truck yard in Monterrey, the company has facilities in the cities of Saltillo, Escobedo, Nuevo Laredo and Mexico City.