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Daimler may miss truck sales target, facing labor strike

Jason Cannon July 2, 2013

Unless costs fall and deliveries rise, Daimler Trucks is likely to miss its earnings target Wolfgang Bernhard, head of the German company’s truck division, warned.

“We have a lot of catching up to do by the end of the year,” he said at a press briefing Monday.

The company set a target in 2013 of matching 2012 earnings, despite the expectation that heavy truck sales would dip slightly across the board.

Daimler Trucks’ worldwide deliveries year-to-date (through May) have fallen 3 percent to 180,119 vehicles when compared to last year. North American demand has slid 2.5 percent, the company said Tuesday. New orders rose 19 percent to 212,000 units worldwide.

“We can’t say when we’ll reach the 8 percent margin (target),” Bernhard told Bloomberg. “The environment has to be right,” and “we have no visibility on how the markets will develop beyond this year.”

Bernhard said Monday that he sees brighter days ahead, forecasting the European truck market has bottomed out and demand in North America is stabilizing.

Bernhard’s earnings revelation comes at a time where the world’s largets truck maker could struggle to simply get completed Western Star units down the assembly line.

Oregonlive.com reported Tuesday, workers at Daimler’s Swan Island truck plant went on strike Monday in a tug-of-war over an additional 65 cents per hour pay raise over the next three years.

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