A telematics-based pay-as-you-drive program from Daimler Trucks Financial could help trucking firms on the financial brink because of high lease payments and insurance premiums.
“Sometimes it will make or break a medium-size fleet,” said Tobias Waldeck, Daimler Truck Financial head of brand.
The Dynamic Lease program revealed at the North American Commercial Vehicles Show in Atlanta on October 28 begins in March 2020. Leasees would pay a minimum monthly fee based on vehicle depreciation.
The Detroit Connect telematics platform tracks billable miles driven, allowing drivers to pay for what they use instead of a flat monthly lease price. That could ease cash-flow issues that have led to hundreds of small and medium-size fleets surrendering their U.S. Department of Transportation authority this year.
Initially, the program is available only on 48- to 60-month leases on Freightliner’s flagship Cascadia heavy-duty over-the-road truck in the United States. Medium-duty models could be added later, Waldeck said.
Daimler Financial tested the telematics-based program with C.R. England, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based refrigerated transportation company.
“Their reaction was that it led to operational improvement,” Waldeck said.
As long-haul miles driven annually continues to drop with a shift to more regional haul trips and hub-and-spoke operations, Waldeck said Daimler Financial will adjust the Dynamic Lease program.
Early discussions are underway with insurance companies to gauge their support. Access to the trove of driving data collected by the telematics system is appealing to insurers, Waldeck said.
“This won’t solve the multimillion-dollar settlements problem” from trucks involved in crashes, he said. “But there has been some receptiveness from insurers.”