DTNA’s Roger Nielsen on dynamic leasing, Detroit Assurance 5.0 and where its customer focus is being felt

DTNA’s Roger Nielsen on dynamic leasing, Detroit Assurance 5.0 and where its customer focus is being felt

DTNA’s President and CEO Roger Nielsen dives into the company's Dynamic Leasing announcement, Detroit Assurance 5.0 adoption rates and the real-world benefits of DTNA’s customer-focused market approach.

The Daimler Trucks North America booth at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show (NACV) stretched on for what seemed like a city block. It was host to everything from hard-working Western Stars to the latest SAE Level 2 automated Freightliner Cascadia with Detroit Assurance 5.0 to the embodiment of tomorrow’s electrification potential with the Freightliner eCascadia next to a lineup of charging stations. In the middle of it all was a virtual Elite Uptime dealer service area complete with demo bays and plenty of coffee to keep attendees rolling through the booth.

Fleet Equipment was able to snag a couple of minutes with DTNA’s President and CEO Roger Nielsen to dive into its Dynamic Leasing announcement, get a bead on Detroit Assurance 5.0 adoption rates and talk about the real-world benefits of DTNA’s customer-focused market approach.

FE: Hi Roger, thanks for taking the time.

Nielsen: No problem, good to see you.

FE: Before we dive into the NACV announcements, one thing we did want to catch up on was DTNA’s customer focus. When you took over the role of president and CEO, you were very transparent about improving DTNA’s customer experience. Where are you at with that today and how are the customer experiences improving?

Nielsen: The big thing is that we’ve moved away from a 72-hour service turnaround. Instead of saying, “We turned around a truck inside of 72 hours, you all should be happy,” we heard our customers say that they’d really be happy if we could do it inside their drivers’ 10-hour break time. We’re still shooting for that, but we’ve brought it down to 24 hours or less for 60% of our service orders.

And then we hear feedback from a customer who says, “When we call, someone cares. It doesn’t take six phone calls to get the job done anymore.” We’re seeing it inside our organization too. All I ask is that everybody that serves the customers takes on the urgency of the customer as their own, and we’re having success with it.

FE: Switching gears to Dynamic Leasing—where did that start? How much of it was technology and how much of it was customer demand?

Nielsen: First of all, we’ve had the technology do it for a while, but it came along when customers started describing their problems to us. They are seeing changing business models. They have some trucks running more dedicated [routes] and other trucks in over-the-highway operations with irregular routes. They found that the dedicated-route trucks had less miles on them the irregular routes; so they were switching trucks out due to mileage on the vehicles.

Dynamic Leasing now lets them pay at basically the same rate at which the truck depreciates. You’re putting more miles on it? It depreciates faster, and so you pay more. And if it’s running less miles, it doesn’t depreciate as fast. Dynamic Leasing offers a base payment with some variability.

FE: Ah, that makes sense. Kind of like your cell phone and data used.

Nielsen: Right. I have a family of five cell phones with a base of 30 GB and the most it ever goes over is 8 GB.

FE: Is there a certain fleet size, application or equipment life-cycle this fits best?

Nielsen: I’d say it really fits those 36- to 60-month trade cycles.

FE: What’s interesting to me is that you’re now bringing telematics into the back office financial department. How does it work in regard to information privacy?

Nielsen: For customers who believe their truck routing is proprietary, for example, we don’t see the GPS routes. All we get is a once-a-month mileage update. We’re very careful about data privacy needs.

FE: Detroit Assurance 5.0 is finally hitting the road. Unveiled at CES earlier this year, it’s available for order and rolling off the line. Do you have an idea of the take rate for the entire suite that makes up Level 2 automated driving?

Nielsen: Not yet.

FE: Right, well Detroit Assurance 2.0, the previous iteration, had an adoption rate around 70% when we last talked in January.

Nielsen: It still is. With Detroit Assurance 5.0 and the lane keeping technology it might take some time to hit that take rate, but we anticipate a ramp up with it.

FE: Alright, last question. Lots of cool truck equipment and technology at this year’s NACV. Everyone gets to kick the tires on all the competitors and suppliers offerings. What do you like to get out of the show?

Nielsen: The big thing is: I love talking to customers. I want to know what are they thinking, I want to hear about their challenges. It always starts with: How’s your business? That’s when we at DTNA learn the most.

You May Also Like

Trailer orders remain strong in October, ACT reports

October net orders, at 35,300 units, were 26% higher year-over-year, and 4,000 units more than were booked in September.


Peak order season opened in September, and October net orders continued to show strong bookings, according to the latest reports from ACT Research. However, cancellations in some segments remain elevated, despite healthy backlogs.

October net orders, at 35,300 units, were 26% higher year-over-year, and 4,000 units more than were booked in September.

Freightliner M2, SD Plus Series launch updates its medium-duty truck offering

Freightliner introduced the new Plus Series–enhanced versions of its M2 and SD models, including the M2 106 Plus, M2 112 Plus, 108SD Plus, and 114SD Plus. The enhanced models provide a major update to the interior and electrical systems of the M2 and SD models. The OEM noted that the Plus Series is designed to

Truck cruise control technology that looks at the road ahead

If you’ve ever visited the Northeast region of the country, you’ve most likely encountered intimidating terrain. The winding roads. The steep hills. The intricate routes that challenge any seasoned driver, and, most recently, advanced cruise control systems that aim to improve fuel efficiency and driver comfort.   Related Articles – Four ways A.I. can help cut

Four ways A.I. can help cut diesel fuel costs

The fluctuation of fuel prices has made it more challenging to operate day-to-day. Drivers get paid by the mile, and, when fuel costs go up, margins shrink, impacting how fleets profit and pay their employees. Intelligent technology can lessen the impact of high prices by improving overall fuel efficiency. Related Articles – New ways to

Peterbilt GM Jason Skoog charts today’s truck support, tomorrow’s truck solutions

Peterbilt made headlines recently when it became the first major North American OEM to open orders for an electric truck, the Peterbilt 220EV. In this exclusive interview, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President Jason Skoog details the technology investments that are keeping fleets productive during this year’s trying pandemic and laying the groundwork for

Peterbilt General Manager PACCAR Technology Electric Truck

Other Posts

ChargePoint launches large-scale deployment of new fast charging platform with Mercedes-Benz

The charging stations can simultaneously charge two vehicles at one time, at sustained high speeds of up to 500kW.

FTR Trucking Conditions Index improves, but market remains tough for carriers

The outlook is for consistently negative readings for the TCI in 2024.

The fuel efficiency faceoff begins!

The battle to earn the CDL is over, but the fight to crown a fuel efficiency champion is just getting started.

Mercedes-Benz delivers first eActros 300 semitrailer tractor in Germany

Logistik Schmitt will add a total of six eActros 300 semitrailer tractors to its fleet.