Industry Focus – August 20071

People In The News
Following are some personnel changes that recently occurred in the heavy-duty trucking industry.

  • Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC promoted Bob Johnson to aftermarket sales regional director for the Southern region.
  • MacKay & Company announced the addition of Mark Linton as manager, single client services. Prior to coming to MacKay & Company, Mark was with BorgWarner as director, fleet and aftermarket sales, thermal systems.
  • Al Miller will be working in the newly-created position of national sales manager for Johnson Truck Bodies. Additional new hires for the company include: Donald Breault and Donna Cherry, buyers in the purchasing department; James Wallin, safety specialist; and Shanna Smith, human resource generalist.
  • Truck Bodies and Equipment International, Inc. (TBEI) announced the realignment of its sales management team to reflect evolving needs of the market and its customers. Joe Paulson will assume the new position of vice president of distributor sales; Doug Hauck will assume the position of vice president of national accounts; Bob Miller will assume the new position of vice president of business development and sales administration; and Casey Hardee will lead the new TBEI Parts And Accessories group as vice president.
  • Joe Panella has been appointed vice president, North American sales, for Haldex Commercial Vehicle Systems Division.

Northwood Gift
Affinia Group, Inc. has provided a major gift in support of the new Sloan Family Building for Aftermarket Studies at Northwood University, Midland, MI.

In recognition of the gift, the building’s 3600 sq.-ft. atrium lobby, which includes large and small group meeting space and an interactive kiosk, will be named in Affinia’s honor.


Eaton Showcases Hybrid Technology Expertise
Eaton demonstrated its hybrid power technology within the commercial truck industry by hosting a seven-vehicle ride-and-drive event at the National Truck Equipment Association Convention and Work Truck Show.

The demonstration vehicles included chassis from International Truck And Engine Corporation, Peterbilt and Freightliner, each equipped with an Eaton hybrid electric system.

At the event, Eaton announced that its hybrid systems will be commercially available this year on the assembly lines of most North American OEMs.

Eaton employs a parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid system with the company’s Fuller UltraShift automated transmission. It incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the transmission. The system recovers the energy normally lost during braking and stores it in batteries.

When electric torque is blended with engine torque, the stored energy is used to improve fuel economy and vehicle performance for a given speed, or to operate with electric power only. The system also provides energy for use during engine-off worksite operations.


Michelin Updates Web Site
An updated version of the Michelin Americas’ Truck Tires web site, www.michelintruck.com, is now online. The site features information on each of the 65 tire treads available, including the company’s X One wide-based single tires.

In addition to complete product information, the web site includes a tire selector, which helps customers determine the tire tread best suited for their application. News, event schedules, service manuals and technical documents are available, as well as Michelin’s OnCall emergency road service.

A video library contains video clips on topics from maintenance and training to the retread inspection process to X One tires, said the company.


Merger Agreement Reached
Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. and Bandag, Inc., jointly announced that they have entered into a merger agreement pursuant to which Bridgestone Americas will acquire the outstanding shares of each class of stock of Bandag.

The two companies have a multi-decade business relationship. Bandag’s board of directors unanimously approved the agreement, which will close in the first or second quarter of the year.


Training Clinic
The American Council Of Frame And Alignment Specialists will be holding training at the Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems training facility in Huntington, IN on May 2nd and 3rd.

The focus of the clinic will be the antilock braking system (ABS), ABS 6 driver assist module and the electronic stability programming. To register log on to www.acofas.com.


Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake Engineer Honored By TMC
John Hawker, a service engineer with Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC, was honored as a recognized associate of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations, Inc.

Hawker was one of three individuals honored with the title given to those who have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of equipment, its maintenance and maintenance management, said TMC.

Hawker has contributed to the development of numerous brake-related TMC recommended practices. He joined Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake as a service engineer when the company was formed in 2004.


Redesigned Web Site
VIPAR Heavy Duty has redesigned its web site, www.vipar.com, to allow users to access information more quickly.

The site features a distributor locator, which will search up to a 250-mile radius of the zip code or postal code that was entered in the search field.


Freightliner Announces New Manufacturing Plant
Freightliner LLC plans to construct a new $300 million truck manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Coahuila, in northern Mexico.

The company plans to produce up to 30,000 Freightliner and Sterling trucks annually and employ 1600 people in this new facility. Production is scheduled to start in 2009.


Modine To Open New Facility In China
Modine Manufacturing Company’s board of directors approved funding for a new manufacturing facility in China. The company will invest more than $16 million in the facility, which is expected to be operational early in 2008 and will service its global customers in the region.

The board also voted to fully fund $20 million for the company’s new facility in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to be completed in April 2008.


PACCAR Contributes To Global Education Funding
PACCAR is donating $2 million to Gonzaga University for the construction of the new PACCAR Center for Applied Science. Gonzaga University President Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., commented, “PACCAR’s leadership in supporting academic excellence, through its generous donation to Gonzaga, will have an immediate, positive impact on the technology capability of the region.

“Our students will be better prepared for today’s fast-paced world and will enhance the future growth of the organizations they join globally.”

During the past three years, PACCAR has provided more than $14 million in educational grants and donations. PACCAR was honored by the Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) for being a leading contributor for 50 years.


Anthony Liftgates Offers Lifetime Bushings Warranty
Anthony Liftgates Inc. now is including a lifetime warranty on all bushings used in the company’s Tuckunder series liftgates.

The pivot point bushings are warranted against wear failure for the life of the liftgate to the original purchaser, including parts and labor, which will be based upon the company’s flat rate schedule.


Predicted Economic Growth
For the work truck and trailer industry, there will be a short recession this year with an upturn in 2008, said Stephen Latin-Kasper, National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) market data and research director at NTEA’s 2007 Business And Market Planning Summit.

Other forecasts made at the summit included that U.S. retail sales of Class 8 trucks and tractors will range between 187,000 to 205,000 for 2007.

Also predicted is that state and local government end-use markets will do well because of increased tax revenues and funds for internal service that will lead to more truck purchases from state fleets and that truck and truck equipment companies that sell to highway and street contractors should have a good year, while demand for trucks from most other end-use markets will be down next year.


Supplier Of The Year Honor Awarded
The Automotive Distribution Federation (ADF) honored WABCO as the Commercial Vehicle Supplier Of The Year for 2006 to 2007.

The decision to choose WABCO as the recipient of the award followed intensive tests of the service quality provided by its distributors, sales desks and technical desks conducted through mystery shoppers, said ADF.


Acquisition Announced
SuperFlow Technologies Group has acquired the assets of Schaffer Test Products, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, SuperFlow assumes the manufacturing, marketing and sales operations of all Schaffer products and will relocate its Lakeland, FL, operation to SuperFlow’s Des Moines, IA, facility.

Larry Schaffer, president, Schaffer Test Products, continues to serve his company’s existing customer base and develop new transmission testing products for SuperFlow.


Study Reveals Trucking Concerns
A study by GE Capital Solutions showed that fuel costs, driver shortages and excessive regulation are the top concerns of transportation executives in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France.

The international survey of 1200 industry leaders showed that almost 70% of trucking business leaders believe that fuel prices are putting business at risk. The study also showed that 69% of participants believe that driver shortages are a top threat and 40% cited excessive regulation as a business performance deterrent.

According to the survey, the concerns are compelling the vast majority of fleet managers to explore new methods for achieving efficiencies and additional cost savings for their companies.

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