ArvinMeritor predicts no ‘gloom in doom’ in store for industry

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ArvinMeritor executives on Wednesday, March 26, 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.

At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., Reinhardt predicted that 2008 North American Class 8 truck sales likely will be between 220,000 and 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 uptick,” with sales totaling between 190,000 and 200,000 units, possibly even 210,000.

“There are some challenges in the industry right now,” said Chip McClure, chairman, chief executive officer and president. “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.