Industry Focus – January 2008

People In The News
Following are personnel changes that recently occurred in the trucking industry:

  • David Adams was appointed president and chief executive officer of Horton Holding, Inc. and all its subsidiary companies.
  • Tina Alread joins Axletech International as senior sales manager of its Commercial Aftermarket, North America, division.
  • Fontaine International-North America named Henry Bell president and Terry Mennen has joined the company as vice president of business development.
  • Sean Coleman assumed duties as director of marketing in addition to overseeing program management for Hendrickson Truck Systems Group.
  • Gene Damron was named general manager of Global Parts Network, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of VIPAR Heavy Duty.
  • Champion Laboratories, Inc. named Stephen Horn vice president of sales.
  • Bayne Premium Lift Systems hired Doug Pheffer as general manager.
  • Frank Yankello joined Firefly Energy, Inc. as vice president of manufacturing.
  • Jeff Zawacki assumed duties as general manager of the Hendrickson Bumper and Trim business unit.

Navistar to Buy GM’s Medium-duty Truck Business
General Motors Corp. and International Truck and Engine Corp., the principal operating subsidiary of Navistar International Corp., have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding under which Navistar would purchase certain assets, intellectual property and distribution rights for GM’s medium-duty truck business, the two companies announced.

As proposed, Navistar would acquire GM’s medium-duty truck business, which includes assets and intellectual property rights to manufacture GMC and Chevrolet brand vehicles in the Class 4-8 gross vehicle weight range. It also includes purchase of the related service parts business. Navistar would sell a competitive line of Chevrolet and GMC vehicles and service parts through GM’s proprietary dealer network in the United States and Canada.

Navistar would add the GMC TopKick and Chevrolet Kodiak truck brands to its portfolio of brands, which currently includes International brand trucks and tractors, IC brand buses, Workhorse brand chassis for motorhomes and step vans, and MaxxForce brand engines.

When a deal is definitively concluded, production of the vehicles will move from GM’s plant in Flint, Mich., to a Navistar facility to be named. GM would retain ownership of its Flint plant and continue to build other products at the facility. GM will continue its medium-duty truck relationship with Isuzu to market W-Series trucks through GM’s medium-duty dealer network.

Remy International, Inc. Emerges from Chapter 11
Remy International, Inc. successfully emerged from Chapter 11 protections less than 59 days after filing its pre-packaged plan of reorganization and petitions, which was confirmed by the Court on November 20, 2007.

In conjunction with its emergence from Chapter 11, Remy also announced that the company has access to its exit financing facility of up to $330 million, including a $120 million revolving credit facility and term loans of $210 million.

The company emphasized that this will provide Remy with the liquidity required to continue to meet its financial needs and operate its business in the coming years. In addition, the sale of Remy’s M&M Knopf Auto Parts subsidiary was completed on December 4, 2007.

“Today marks the start of a new chapter in Remy’s history,” said John Weber, president and chief executive officer of Remy. “In reaching this milestone Remy has effectively restructured its debt and its commercial arrangements with General Motors and as a result, strengthened its competitive position. We are excited to move forward as a revitalized and reenergized company.”

Luber-Finer Launches Customer Promotion
Luber-Finer announced a customer appreciation promotion active through 2008. The company says anyone placing orders online or through the Transnet integrated business-to-business service will automatically be entered in a quarterly drawing for $500 in free merchandise.

CVSN Signs New Members
The Board of Directors of the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) approved six new distributor members at a recent board meeting in Phoenix.

The new distributor members are: Armond Sikes, AA Wheel & Truck Supply, North Kansas City, Mo.; Jay Boggeman, Plaza Fleet Parts, St. Louis; Steven Prigal, Brake Service, Inc., Garden City Park, N.Y.; Dick Van Eck Jr., Fleet Services Inc., Anaheim, Calif.; Greg Woods, TNT Parts Inc., Atlanta; Jim Sauerwine, Truck Parts Plus Inc., Mechanicsburg, Pa.

HD America Grows Network
HD America announced two new distributors in its network: Chuck Krasko, Independent Fleet Service, Modesto, Calif., and Anthony Stegall, Valley Truck Parts, Fresno, Calif.

Affinia Acquires Brake Pro Assets
Affinia Group Inc., announced it acquired certain assets of Brake Pro, Ltd., of Ontario, under the Companies’ Creditors Agreement Act of Canada. The purchase includes manufacturing equipment, friction formulations and unrestricted rights to the brand name.

Affinia says it is in the process of relocating the acquired physical assets to its own North American manufacturing facilities and will resume production of the Brake Pro product line.

“The Brake Pro line will enhance our existing brake block and medium-duty product offerings. More importantly, it will put us back into the heavy-duty segment and give us a great product offering for severe-duty applications,” says John Washbish, president of Affinia’s under vehicle group. “The market can expect to see Brake Pro product from us as quickly as we can reset the equipment.”

Webb Aftermarket, TMD Friction Form Alliance
The aftermarket business unit of Webb Wheel Products, Inc. has formed a strategic alliance with TMD Friction to couple brake drums and friction linings to better serve the commercial vehicle aftermarket parts industry.

Wolfgang Winzer, president, aftermarket business unit, Webb Wheel Products, says, “Webb has always had a reputation for supplying quality brake drums to the industry. Being able to couple our products with linings from a global friction manufacturer with TMD’s experience will allow us to offer the end user the combination most likely to give him the best performance.”

HDMA Board of Directors Elected
Joe McAleese, president and CEO, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, has been elected 2008 chairman of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association’s (HDMA) board of directors.

Other HDMA board officers elected include:

  • Vice chairman – Dennis Michels, president and CEO, Link Manufacturing
  • Vice chairman – Terry Keating, chairman, Accuride Corp.
  • Dennis Kline, vice president worldwide truck sales and marketing, ArvinMeritor, will remain on the board as immediate past chairman.

New members of the board are:

  • John Coll, vice president and general manager, Eaton Aftermarket and Vorad
  • Ed Oeltjen, president, Consolidated Metco

ConocoPhillips Enhances Lubricants Academy
ConocoPhillips Company announced it has updated and expanded content for its Lubricants Academy – online and hands-on training offered by the company to help market its products.

“We developed each course so marketers can improve their knowledge of lubrication applications from beginner to intermediate,” says Harold Tucker, director of technical information and training for ConocoPhillips Commercial Lubricants. “Taking advantage of ConocoPhillips Lubricants Academy programs helps to ensure marketers make the best product and service recommendations possible to both their current and prospective customers.”

Lubricants Academy includes computer-based training modules, an industrial lubrication training series and a heavy-duty diesel course.

ArvinMeritor Expands Reman Operations
ArvinMeritor, Inc. announced it will expand its remanufacturing operations through the acquisition of Mascot Truck Parts Ltd., which is based in Mississauga, Ontario, and remanufactures transmissions, drive-axle carriers, steering gears and drivelines. According to the announcement, Mascot’s 170 full-time employees and six remanufacturing facilities will become part of ArvinMeritor.

“This expansion of our remanufacturing business makes sense for our customers and aligns with our business strategy to grow the aftermarket business,” says Carsten Reinhardt, president of ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business. “Mascot has a similar passion for providing its customers with high-quality, dependable, remanufactured components – all of which complement the ArvinMeritor remanufacturing model.”

Boler Acquires Watson and Chalin
The Boler Company announced it acquired McKinney, Texas-based Watson and Chalin Manufacturing, Inc., a manufacturer of truck drive axle, auxiliary and trailer suspensions. Watson and Chalin will operate as a standalone company with its current top management.

“With this acquisition, Boler will be in a stronger position to support advanced enhancements in both truck and trailer technologies around the world,” says Matthew Boler, Boler’s president and CEO.

Watson and Chalin will continue to compete against Hendrickson, which is also owned by Boler.

Paccar Engine Production
When the inaugural Paccar engines roll off the assembly line at the company’s Columbus, Miss., plant in 2009, they will be the first engines ever built stateside by the parent company of Kenworth and Peterbilt.

The 12.9-liter MX and 9.2-liter PR diesel engines, new to the U.S. market, will be based on European platforms of the same displacement built at Paccar’s DAF engine facility in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. That plant has built more than 50,000 engines for the European market.

While Peterbilt and Kenworth will continue to offer Cummins and Caterpillar engines in their Class 8 trucks, Paccar’s DAF engines, which meet and exceed North American legal and regulatory standards, offer customers another strong option, executives say. The engines “have established a powerful reputation in the field in terms of fuel efficiency, reliability, durability and high performance,” says David Giroux, Peterbilt director of marketing communications.

Paccar’s 9.2-liter engine, targeted at vocational or less-than-truckload applications in North America, weighs 1860 lbs. and offers 250 to 360 horsepower and peak torque of 775 to 1060 lb.-ft. The over-the-road 12.9-liter model weighs 2510 lbs. and offers 360 to 510 horsepower and 1310 to 1850 lb.-ft. of peak torque.

To date, Paccar has not decided on the technology it will use to meet 2010 standards, says Alan Treasure, Paccar director of marketing. “We’re testing [SCR], but we’re also testing every other technology.” Of Paccar’s North American competitors who have announced 2010 plans, the choices fall to either SCR or EGR.

HDX Releases Updated Standard
HDeXchange, Inc. (HDX) announced an official release date of January 1 for its Product Communication File Specification (PCFS) Standard update, version 5.2. The PCFS file is the heavy-duty industry standard for pricing and product information. This is the first significant update to the PCFS file since 2004.

The revised standard has added fields to accommodate links to images, MSDS sheets and VMI-related information. These additions were established and voted on by a committee of industry volunteers representing manufacturers, distributors and business system providers.

The PCFS standard is a file format that helps manufacturers organize data in a basic order so the customer’s business computer system can identify the contents of each field, without human intervention. Without a standard, automation of the price update process would not be possible.

The new PCFS 5.2 standard can be downloaded from

VIPAR Heavy Duty Adds New Members
VIPAR Heavy Duty announced the following new distributor/stockholders joined its North American Network: Terry Hearron, president, Advanced Distribution Company, Bakersfield, Calif.; Roger Charlebois, president, Charlebois Truck Parts, Inc., Burlington, Vt.; and Fred Ross, owner, Custom Truck & Equipment, LLC, Kansas City, Mo.

Nine new companies have joined VIPAR Heavy Duty’s network of parts and service providers in 2007. These nine new distributor/stockholders add 27 additional parts and service sites.

Eaton Ranks Top Corporate Citizen
Eaton Corporation announced it ranked first in the auto and vehicles sector of Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine’s “10 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2007.” It bested 54 other ranked companies for the top honor.

Ranking criteria came from eight categories: environment, climate change, human rights, employee relations, corporate governance, lobbying, philanthropy and financial.

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