Industry Focus – November 2008

Following are personnel changes that recently occurred in the trucking industry:

  • Bridgestone Firestone Off Road Tire Company appointed Mike Poirer to general manager corporate accounts and original equipment and Wilhelm Brau to general manager Continuum Retread and Recycle Solutions.
  • Cummins Inc. announced that Robert J. Bernhard – vice president for research and an engineering professor at the University of Notre Dame – was elected to the company’s board of directors.
  • Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire announced Singh Ahluwalia will retire from its board of directors and as president of Truck and Bus Sales, Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions (BBTS). He will be succeeded by Kurt Danielson, who will be vice president, sales and marketing, BBTS, effective Nov. 1. Additionally, Doyle Bradford was promoted to vice president, sales for BBTS, and Tim Chen was named vice president, marketing for BBTS.
  • ArvinMeritor, Inc. named Terry Livingston general manager-North America for its Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket business unit.
  • Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, a division of Alcoa Inc., appointed Barbara Lampley to CVW director of marketing, Americas.
  • Eaton Corporation named John Sczesny business unit manager-North America for its Light- and Medium-duty Transmission Business unit.
  • Hendrickson Trailer Suspension Systems named Jon Jeffries director of sales
    and marketing.

Daimler to Discontinue Sterling Trucks Brand in March
Daimler Trucks North America on Oct. 14 announced that it will discontinue the Sterling Trucks brand in March 2009 as part of a response to continued low truck sales and structural changes in the market.

Other elements of the plan include closing the St. Thomas, Ontario, manufacturing plant – where Sterling trucks are built – in March when the existing agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers expires. And the 39-year-old Portland, Ore., plant will close in June 2010, sending Western Star production to Santiago, Mexico, and Freightliner military truck production to a plant in the Carolinas. A migrating supplier base and high logistics costs had resulted in higher production costs in Portland.

“Plans based on an expectation of brief, sharp market events driven by regulatory change, followed by periods of reasonable growth, are out of step with the emerging realities of the latter part of this decade,” said Chris Patterson, president and chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks North America. “We’ve examined every part of our organization in light of the changed economic environment.”

In announcing Sterling’s demise, Daimler noted that the brand’s models have substantial overlap with offerings in the Freightliner Trucks product line and have achieved only one-fourth the Freightliner market share. Daimler launched Sterling in 1998 as a replacement brand for the newly acquired Ford heavy-duty truck business. Daimler said it would be adding to the Freightliner and Western Star product ranges to address market segments that had been served exclusively by Sterling.

Daimler said it expects that the Sterling dealer network will continue to perform warranty repairs and maintenance services, supply replacement parts and provide technical support for Sterling truck owners. Dealers will continue to accept orders until Jan. 15, 2009, and new truck sales will continue until present dealer stocks are depleted.

Eaton: No Urea Needed in Aftertreatment System
An Eaton Corporation executive recently revealed the company is working on a selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment system that does not require a vehicle to have an onboard urea distribution infrastructure or storage tanks.

Jim Sweetnam, Eaton’s chief executive officer-Truck Group, said the system combines a fuel dosing unit, fuel reformer catalyst, NOx trap and an SCR catalyst in series to scrub NOx from the system. While most planned SCR systems need to convert urea into ammonia in order to catalyze NOx, Eaton’s system generates its own ammonia onboard, he says.

“We’ve seen lots of interest in off-highway applications where it’s difficult to get urea,” Sweetnam says. The system will not be ready in time to be used in conjunction with on-highway SCR engines being developed to meet the 2010 emissions regulations, he said. All engine makers except Navistar currently plan to use some form of SCR to meet the new regulations.

Eaton also has a new generation of automated transmissions in the works featuring electronically controlled actuation, which increases engage-disengage speed. Targeting the vocational markets, the transmissions will be released in limited quantities later this year. An on-highway version will follow next year.

Bridgestone Americas Restructures Tire Operations
Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. (BSAH) announced it is restructuring its Americas tire operations effective Jan.1. The new unit, called Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO), will be headed by Asahiko “Duke” Nishiyama. The new unit will include the company’s Latin American tire operations, the U.S. and Canadian consumer tire business and the U.S. and Canadian commercial tire business.

Nishiyama will continue to report to Mark A. Emkes, chairman, CEO and president, BSAH.
In discussing the new alignment of the Americas tire business, Emkes said, “This new structure will allow us to provide even greater focus on our overall tire business in the Americas, and it will align us more closely with the regional business model that Bridgestone Corporation is promoting for all of its global tire operations. The structure we are introducing today will also reflect the Bridgestone Group’s desire for global standardization in the way we go to market, providing our international customers a consistent business model that they can rely on regardless of their geographic region.”

Added Emkes, “We all know that we as an industry have a great deal of hard work ahead of us in the face of an extremely challenging financial environment. It is my belief that these changes will help Bridgestone Americas enhance its focus on our core business – tires – and assist us in weathering those challenges, allowing us to emerge even stronger whenever the global economy recovers.”

HDAW, Heavy Duty Aftermarket Forum Together Again
The 2009 Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) will again include the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Forum presented by MacKay & Co. The 90-minute program includes an economic overview with a review of 2008 and predictions for 2009, key distributor issues and trends and ways to improve and grow business.

HDAW ’09 will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel and the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Feb. 16 through Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009.

Back for 2009 is the “State of the Industry” presentation focusing on the heavy-duty market downturn of 2008 as well as the forecast for 2009 and beyond.

“We will introduce suggestions to distributors for repositioning their business strategies to accommodate the structural changes in the heavy-duty industry, as well as a ‘Back to the Basics’ discussion focusing on offering services that others cannot or will not do,” said Stu MacKay, president of MacKay & Co. “Every market has an opportunity and listening to the customers will tell you what they are.”

CVSN Installs New Directors
The Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network announced the appointment of four new directors.

The distributor-member directors are:

  • Armond Sikes, AA Wheel and Truck Supply, N. Kansas City, Mo.;
  • Jim Pascale, Pascale Service Corporation, Pawtucket, R.I.; and
  • Dave Willis, CRW Parts Inc., Baltimore.

The supplier-member director is:

  • Dominic Grote, Grote Industries, Madison, Ind.

Wal-Mart Technician Defends Title at TMCSuperTech2008
David Bryan Lewis of Wal-Mart Transportation in Sutherland, Va., successfully defended his 2007 title as the nation’s top heavy-truck technician as he again was named grand champion of TMCSuperTech2008 during the Technology & Maintenance Council’s 2008 fall meeting, held Sept. 15-18 in Nashville, Tenn.

Scott Bennett, Tacoma, Wash., and Michael Bogard, Neenah, Wis. – both with Ryder System – placed second and third in the competition conducted by TMC’s Professional Technician Development Committee. Bogard had received the top score on the written portion of the competition the three previous years.

With six other contestants from Wal-Mart competing in TMCSuperTech2008, a number of Wal-Mart supervisors and observers, and a room full of well-wishers, Lewis, 45, of Amelia Court House, Va., had plenty of supporters to cheer him on as he took the stage to receive his grand champion award that included a Nexiq Technologies’ Snap-On Elite Series tool chest valued at about $10,000, an all-expense-paid trip for two to the Daytona 500, a Panasonic Toughbook 19 laptop loaded with Noregon Systems’ JPRO Fleet Service Kit and a custom-made championship leather jacket, along with other items.

The remainder of the top 10 scoring contestants include: (4) Daniel Myers, Roberts Truck Center, Albuquerque, N.M.; (5) Randy Qualls, Wal-Mart Transportation, Waterloo, S.C.; (6) Timothy Peters, Ryder Systems, Newton, N.C.; (7) Christopher Barnett, Ryder System, Alpharetta, Ga.; (8) Bailey Johnson, McKee Foods, Stuarts Draft, Va.; (9) Thomas Pianalto, Diamond International Trucks, Lowell, Ark; and (10) Christopher Tate, Mohawk Truck, West Seneca, N.Y.

TMC also announced it is accepting nominations for its 2009 Maintenance Supervision Award, an annual recognition of maintenance supervisors or foremen of TMC American Trucking Associations member companies. The deadline for entry is January 9. For more information, contact TMC at 703/838-1763.

VIPAR Heavy Duty Adds PDCs
VIPAR Heavy Duty announced at its annual business conference in Las Vegas last month that it is opening two parts distribution centers – one in the eastern and one in the western regions of the U.S. – in the fourth quarter of this year. The facilities will include warehousing, cross-docking opportunities and brake shoe remanufacturing.

“We are excited to make this strategic announcement today to our distributor/shareholders,” said Steve Crowley, VIPAR president and CEO. “These new operations will enable our distributors to remain competitive with a consistent supply line. With the support of key suppliers, we believe this new initiative will be well received in the marketplace and allow us to best serve the needs of our distributors and their customers.”

The new business initiative, according to VIPAR, will fall under the Global Parts Network, an independent company that exclusively served VIPAR distributors and suppliers.
According to the marketing group, a specialty of the new operation will be the assembly of new and remanufactured brake shoes and related products.

Northwood University Offers Aftermarket MBA
Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School of Management announced it is offering a “first-of-its-kind” Master of Business Administration program for aftermarket industry executives. The accredited program is scheduled to begin in 2009 at the university’s Midland, Mich. campus.

According to Northwood, the new MBA program will serve in-store executives of dealerships and distributorships which serve the light- and heavy-duty vehicle aftermarket, as well as executives of captive and institutional lenders and aftermarket product vendors.

The accelerated 30-month program will use both classroom and online education. Northwood said the program includes five intensive week-long classroom modules in conjunction with the online coursework, and will use the interactive discussion-based model utilizing the DeVos Case Study method.

According to Keith Pretty, president, Northwood University, “The Aftermarket Executive MBA program builds on our tradition of educating thousands of managers and owners that are in leadership positions across the United States and around the world.”

Pretty added that an academic advisory committee comprised of leaders from every facet of the industry has been formed to ensure that the course material is in sync with the real-world needs of in-store aftermarket executives. He also noted that an effort is underway to develop scholarship programs for qualified candidates.

The new program encompasses core management topics, including financial valuation, line of business and corporate strategy, economics, marketing and organizational behavior and leadership specific to the aftermarket.

“The Aftermarket Executive MBA will feature world-class academics and be complemented and supplemented by industry-specific case studies, as well as guest lecturers from industry leaders,” said Dr. Timothy Nash, vice president of Graduate and Specialty Programs and dean of the DeVos Graduate School of Management.

Other Northwood news includes:

  • Leadership 2.0, the University of the Aftermarket’s cornerstone educational program, had its largest class to date and sold out two months early. This annual two-week executive development program, according to Northwood, “brought a broad spectrum of aftermarket professionals from every level of the aftermarket.”
  • During the school’s Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week held this month, the University of the Aftermarket announced its new “On Demand” initiative. “On Demand” is an Internet-based webcast educational program that will allow access to courses for credit toward the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) and Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designations, with future expansion planned.
  • The University of the Aftermarket is finalizing a long-term plan with a major aftermarket distributor to develop a series of five-day business seminars.
  • Northwood and the University of the Aftermarket will launch a University of the Aftermarket Alumni Association to facilitate networking among students and alumni.
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