Industry Focus – June 2008

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

  • ArvinMeritor appointed Larry Burgin to vice president and general manager, Trailer Products, under the Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit. The company also announced Jim Whirt is the new Southeast regional manager for the CVS unit.
  • Caterpillar Inc. appointed Bill Fulton to marketing manager for Global On-highway, replacing Steve Brown, who has retired.
  • Emma Thompson joins Fontaine International as vice president of finance. Additionally, Fontaine Parts Connection hired Paige Dahlke as controller.
  • Heil Environmental hired Steve Yolitz as director of marketing.
  • John Parr joins Hendrickson as vice president of international business development.
  • Horton, Inc. appointed Tom Hujik to director, aftermarket/field sales for North America.
  • Hunter Engineering promoted Dave Smith to senior vice president and Beau Brauer to vice president of marketing.
  • Industrial Parts Depot announced Michael Clogg returned this month as president and COO.
  • James Hebe joined Navistar International Corporation’s truck division as senior vice president, North American sales operations.
  • Mark Jurman joined Silver Eagle Manufacturing Company as its vice president of commercial sales, and Mike Dorman assumed the role of vice president, business development for the company.

Greatec Tires Earn EPA SmartWay Certification
Greatec wide-base drive and trailer radial tires have been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay-certified list of commercial tires, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire announced.

Besides meeting SmartWay’s fuel efficiency specifications, Greatec radials reduce weight versus dual-tire configurations, allowing for more payload.

Last summer, four Bridgestone-brand commercial truck tires were approved for EPA-certified SmartWay tractors and trailers. The R287 steer, R280 steer, M720 drive and R195F trailer radials – and now Greatec drive and Greatec trailer radials – have earned EPA SmartWay certification for helping fleets increase fuel economy.

Tires that earn EPA SmartWay certification must achieve at least three percent better fuel economy than the average new tire.


Bendix, Utility Trailer Enter Into Agreement
Citing a mutual commitment to advance tractor-trailer highway safety, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company entered into a multi-year agreement. Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Bendix products will be available through Utility’s aftermarket network;
  • Bendix SB-4 combination spring brakes and ASA-5 automatic slack adjusters are standard on all Utility trailer models;
  • Beginning in July, Utility will make standard on base model dual axle reefers and dry vans the Bendix SR-5 spring brake relay valve in combination with the Bendix TABS-6 antilock braking system; and
  • Utility will offer the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake as a databook option.

“Our relationship with Utility Trailer demonstrates our permanent commitment to the trailer market,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix president & CEO. “We’ve made an extensive investment in the manufacturing and testing of our trailer technology that will enable us to stay aligned with our long-term objective of becoming a provider of superior solutions for the trailer market. Our customers demand the best solutions and we are providing them.”


Webb Responds to Increased Raw Material Costs
Webb Wheel Products Inc. announced it is taking immediate actions to mitigate the risks associated with skyrocketing global metals prices, including moving to a monthly pricing schedule for all product lines, reflecting unprecedented increases imposed by the metals market in the purchase price of its products.

“Castings are a significant part of our total product costs,” says Pedro Ferro, president of Cullman, Ala.-based Webb Wheel Products. “Webb has been working closely with our casting suppliers to monitor the scrap market trends. In the first quarter of 2008, scrap prices have increased 88 percent, and we have experienced further alarming increases since the first of April.”

The costs for raw materials used in producing castings for the wheel-end industry have escalated at an unprecedented rate due to the increasing world demand for available scrap, according to Webb; rising prices for these commodities is fueled further by a weak U.S. dollar and limited supply. Webb says it will continue to monitor this situation closely to mitigate, wherever possible, the impact this pricing change will have on its customers.


Daimler: SCR in Exhaust Systems Effective and Safe
“No disaster is looming” with the introduction of SCR engine technology, said Mike Delaney, senior vice president of marketing for Daimler Trucks North America, during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March.

Delaney and other Daimler executives addressed skepticism raised by competitors over the company’s plans to use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet 2010 EPA emissions standards. The company’s brands include Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling and engine maker Detroit Diesel.

Emissions reduction addresses both human stewardship and business needs, Delaney said, and SCR is best suited for both goals. “It flat-out needs to be done,” he said.

Citing respiratory health problems linked to diesel exhaust, Delaney said Daimler’s road-proven BlueTec SCR system would deliver on the responsibility to reduce total emissions “to the lowest possible level … But we also have a goal to provide truckers sound business solutions and to produce the most fuel-efficient trucks on the road.” The BlueTec SCR system, he said, would allow both goals to be achieved.

Daimler President and CEO Chris Patterson said the more than 100,000 SCR-equipped trucks in the Europe-wide fleet are seeing a 3 percent to 5 percent improvement in fuel-efficiency relative to engines based on exhaust gas recirculation, and that truckers could expect much the same in the North American market for 2010.

SCR technology treats exhaust with urea, also called diesel exhaust fluid, downstream of EGR treatment to reduce NOx emissions. Delaney responded to recent erroneous reports of the “toxic” nature of the fluid or its ammonia byproduct. He said that urea is totally nontoxic and noncombustible. “Urea is widely used as fertilizer for food crops, and in chewing gum, and in skin cream, and in many, many other applications that you touch or consume every day.”

Addressing the largest criticism against SCR – the current lack of a distribution system for urea in North America – Delaney presented a map showing the quick roll-out of urea pumps at fueling stations and other spots in Europe between January 2006 and today. The number of European distribution spots in that time jumped from 200 to more than 1600.


Karmak Offers Online Software Demo
Karmak Inc. is offering a free online demonstration of its heavy-duty truck industry products at www.karmak.com. The demo includes an overview of Karmak’s business management systems that include modules for parts inventory, accounting, service, sales and lease and rental operations.


ArvinMeritor Offers Market Outlook
During a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, ArvinMeritor executives predicted lower truck sales and a more challenging trucking industry in 2008, but “there is not all that much reason for gloom and doom,” said Carsten Reinhardt, senior vice president and president of commercial vehicle systems.

Reinhardt predicted that 2008 North American Class 8 truck sales will likely be between 220,000-240,000 units, with the first quarter under 50,000, the second in the range of 55,000, and the third and fourth quarters at 60,000 plus each. He believes medium trucks won’t be “quite as close to normal levels,” selling in the range of 165,000 units. Trailers may show a “slight up tick,” with sales totaling between 190,000 to 200,000 units, possibly even 210,000.

“There are some challenges in the industry right now,” said Chairman, CEO and President Chip McClure. “But we’re pleased with what we have done over the past few years. Changes we have made have allowed us to clearly move toward an extremely diverse product line. Two thirds of our business is commercial vehicle systems, but, fortunately, we have seen our business from a global perspective, with 50 percent of our business outside North America.

“We have the ultimate goal of having one third of our business in North America, one third in Europe, and one third in Asia and India.”

Over the past three years, ArvinMeritor has met or exceeded its goals to be more cost competitive and develop more new products, McClure said.


NTEA Installs its 44th President
Dennis Jones, vice president of sales and marketing for Auto Truck Group, Bensenville, Ill., was named the 44th president of the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA). Jones accepted the gavel from Tom Rawson, CEO of RKI Inc. at the President’s Breakfast and NTEA meeting in February in Atlanta.

Auto Truck Group has been a distributor member of NTEA since 1973. Jones has served on the Board of Trustees since 2003.


Bendix Battles Second Sweepstakes Scam
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake are warning the public of a second fraudulent sweepstakes that has appropriated the companies’ identities. Working with law enforcement officials, the companies have uncovered the second scam in less than a month to distribute prize letters and fake checks to consumers across the country.

The companies – which first warned its employees, customers, and other consumers about an initial fraudulent sweepstakes scam on March 24 – now has been alerted to a second round of similar fraudulent activity. The parties responsible for the second scam distributed award letters and fake checks to consumers through the U.S. Mail, claiming that recipients were winners of a global monthly sweepstakes. The letter provides a phony reference number relating to the claim and urges recipients to cash the enclosed checks and call a non-Bendix number to find out how to claim the remainder of their monetary prize.

“The illegal and inappropriate use of our corporate identity is very unfortunate,” says Anthony LaPlaca, Bendix’s general counsel. “Bendix and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake are in no way responsible for, or associated with, this activity. Although these documents may appear to be authentic, it is vital for the public to know that the award letters and the checks used in these activities are fraudulent.”

Bendix is working closely with the appropriate federal, state, and local legal authorities in their ongoing investigation of this matter. The company continues to respond to calls to its facilities throughout North America from recipients of the letters. The number of consumers who have received the letters is unknown, but Bendix confirms that individuals from across the United States have reported receiving the fraudulent sweepstakes mailing. Recipients are not limited to those in the commercial vehicle industry in which the companies do business.

The latest fraudulent checks include both the Bendix and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake logos and display the “Mellon Bank” name. The checks accompany letters printed on fake letterhead for “Asus Financial Inc.,” a company that does not exist. An example of the new round of the fraudulent sweepstakes award letter – along with copies of the initial scam materials – is posted on the Bendix Web site at www.bendix.com.

Bendix advises recipients of the fraudulent mailing to follow these guidelines:

  • Do not call the numbers provided in the letter.
  • Do not attempt to cash the fraudulent check.
  • Alert your local authorities that you have received the fraudulent mailing.
  • If available, send copies of the fraudulent documents to Bendix for use in the investigation. Documents can be sent to the companies’ headquarters, c/o the Bendix Legal Department, at Bendix Commercial Vehicles Systems LLC, 901 Cleveland St., Elyria, OH 44035.

VIPAR Heavy Duty Adds New Stockholder
VIPAR Heavy Duty announced that Perfection Truck Parts & Equipment is the newest stockholder to join the VIPAR Heavy Duty network of distributors. Based in Oklahoma City, Okla., Perfection Truck Parts & Equipment is led by Chris Simpson and Pete Voogt.

Perfection carries more than 120 lines of truck and industrial parts and more than 100 lines of equipment. The company operates from a five acre, 40,000 sq.-ft. facility serving the oil, gas, construction, working fleet and government sectors. The company’s 14-bay service department offers equipment installation and repair, parts installation and paint and body repair.


Westpac Heavy Duty Announces Winners of PAC Awards
Westpac Heavy Duty announced the recipients of it annual PAC awards, which are given to vendors who have received high marks on Westpac’s supplier scorecard in such categories as total gross sales, fill rate, marketing/promotional assistance and training.

The 2008 PAC Awards were presented to Baldwin Filters Inc., Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Gates Corp., Grote Industries, Sloan Transportation Products and Wix Filtration Products. Baldwin Filters Inc. also was presented the Vendor of the Year Award, while John Misken of Affinia (Wix Filters and Raybestos Brakes) was presented Westpac’s Vendor Rep of the Year Award.

Westpac Heavy Duty is a full-line bumper-to-bumper distributor of heavy-duty truck parts and services headquartered in Phoenix and servicing the Arizona, California and Nevada markets.


Students Graduate from University of the Aftermarket Program
A graduation ceremony was held last month for 19 students who completed Leadership 2.0 – the University of the Aftermarket’s Executive Development Program – in Troy, Mich.

The graduating class included: Ian Anderson, Smothers Parts International; Nataki Barnes, Federal-Mogul Corp.; JR Bishop, Federated Auto Parts; Arlene Davis, AAIA; Jim Dykstra, Dykstra’s Auto Service; Thomas Fontana, Tenneco; Michael Harvey, Affinia; Wendell Hays, Federal-Mogul Corp.; Dave Illes, Tenneco; David Leonhart, O’Reilly Auto Parts; Fletcher Lord, Crow Burlingame; Mark Mojica, Tenneco; Ken Myers, Affinia; Mike Peace, The Timken Co.; Robert Richmond, Parts Warehouse Inc.; Scott Richmond, SAE Warehouse/Sturdevant’s; Dedra Selby, AAIA; Mark Sprague, NGK Spark Plugs; and George Tersteeg, Automotive Parts Headquarters.

“It was a great week of interactive programs designed to engage and challenge the aftermarket leaders of tomorrow,” said University of the Aftermarket Director Brian Cruickshank. “Participant evaluations were consistently high, and everyone left the program with takeaways that they can use in their businesses on Monday. There is already quite a bit of interest in the next Leadership 2.0 class, which will begin in September at the new Sloan Building for Aftermarket Studies.”

According to the University of the Aftermarket, “Leadership 2.0 is an intense and intellectually challenging two-week executive development and learning experience, deeply rooted in the theoretical and practical application of leadership principles in the automotive aftermarket.”


SAF-Holland Acquires Austin-Westran Product Line
SAF-Holland S.A., a global producer and supplier of systems and components for the truck and trailer industries, announced the acquisition of the landing leg (trailer support) product line from Austin-Westran.

The acquisition, terms of which were not announced, includes Austin-Westran’s China-based production operation, which SAF-Holland says significantly expands its presence in the world’s third-largest and fastest-growing market for commercial vehicles. SAF-Holland says that, combined with its technology, the local knowledge and manufacturing base of the Austin-Westran unit will allow it to deliver larger volumes of truck and trailer components into the booming markets of Asia and beyond.

“This acquisition represents a significant strengthening of our China strategy,” says Rudi Ludwig, chief executive officer of SAF-Holland S.A. “Based on discussions with existing and future customers, we are increasing our presence in the Chinese market with a wholly-owned manufacturing footprint to deliver our broad range of market-leading technology. We aim to be the first-choice partner of major truck and trailer manufacturers in China, and we are already in discussions with major OEMs to this effect.”


Chevron Grows Delo Family
Chevron Products Co. introduced a new member to its Delo family of engine oils, lubricants and coolants – 400 LE SAE 10W-30. The new Delo 400 LE multigrade diesel oil is formulated specifically for new low-emissions engines running on ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Chevron says this is the second member of the Delo family to meet the API CJ-4 engine oil specification; Delo 400 LE SAE 15W-40, which also meets API CJ-4, was introduced in October 2006.

“As adoption of CJ-4 engine oils increased, our research indicated a demand for a 10W-30 viscosity of our Delo LE product,” says Nicole Fujishige, indirect channel marketing manager for Chevron. “Like our flagship Delo 400 LE 15W-40, this new 10W-30 is fully backwards-compatible with previous API categories. Fleets wanting to standardize on a single oil now can pick between two excellent Delo 400 offerings. Both products offer our customers improved performance compared with CI-4 Plus.”

Chevron says Delo 400 LE SAE 10W-30 – which is available in gallon jugs, five-gallon pails, 55-gallon drums and in bulk – has completed and exceeded all the requirements for API CJ-4, CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4 SM and SL; Caterpillar ECF-2 and ECF-3; Cummins CES 20081; Volvo VDS-4; and Renault RLD 3.

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