David A. Kolman, editor, Fleet Maintenance

Kolman’s Korner: Daimler Trucks holds a pep rally of sorts

Nov. 30, 2015
The company announces its next milestone in its platform strategy.

I was at Daimler Trucks’ Detroit brand headquarters in Redford, Detroit, Mich., in mid-November for three major announcements.

The event, held in its 3.2 million sq ft manufacturing facility under the theme Built in Detroit, had the feel of a major league sports rally. Daimler officials announced:

- A $375 million investment to build the company’s new DD5 and DD8 medium duty diesel engines at the plant in 2018.

The engines, currently built in Germany, will be available in Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) vehicles next year.

DTNA is the leading heavy duty truck manufacturer in North America. It produces and markets commercial vehicles under the FreightlinerWestern Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates.

- The start of production of the DT12 automated manual transmission (AMT).

The Detroit Powertrain integrates Detroit engines, axles and the DT12 for enhanced fuel economy, vehicle performance and safety.

- Major investments in its powertrain components manufacturing facility.


The master of ceremonies for the event was Mickey Redmond, former forward for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team and now the team’s announcer. He referred to the announcements as a hat trick – a term that refers to when a player scores three goals in a single game.

Speaking at the event, which included high-production videos, lights shows and cheering workers, were:

- Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the board of management of Daimler AG responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses.

- Martin Daum, DTNA president and CEO.

- Dr. Frank Reintjes, Daimler’s head of global powertrain and manufacturing.

- Jeff Allen, vice president of operations for operations Detroit Diesel Corp.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder also made remarks to the assembled gathering, as did racing legend and business entrepreneur Roger Penske. He was part of a joint venture with General Motors that created Detroit Diesel plant in 1988 and then sold it to Daimler in 2000.

- Jeff Allen, vice president of Operations for Detroit Diesel.

Platform strategy

Dr. Bernhard said the expansion of production of powertrain components in the U.S. is “a major step” in executing Daimler Trucks’ global platform strategy.

“One of Daimler Trucks' three strategic pillars is the use of intelligent platforms,” he explained. “This means proven platforms and modules like engines or transmissions are used in many different markets with vehicle-specific adaptations – across all commercial vehicle brands.”

The Daimler Trucks & Buses portfolio includes Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses, Setra, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, Fuso and Thomas Built Buses.


Daimler Trucks’ investment of $100 million in the new production of the DT12 automated manual transmission in Detroit is creating around 170 new jobs in the local area, making a major contribution to the revitalization of Detroit.

For the development and production of the new DD5 and DD8 medium duty engines, Daimler Trucks is additionally investing more than $375 million, creating approximately 160 more jobs locally.

For additional photos from the event, click here.

Videos on the Detroit DT12 AMT can be found here, the Detroit DD13 engine here and the Detroit DD16 engine here.