Growth, expansion talk highlight Heavy Duty Dialogue

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A full slate of presenters highlighted the Heavy Duty Manufacturer’s Association’s Heavy Duty Dialogue before the opening of Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Heavy Duty Dialogue 2010 had a somber tone last January after the economic failures of 2009, but growth and expansion were among the hot topics during this year’s dialogue.

The day’s dialogue opened with presentation from Sandeep Kar and Ryan Carmichael of Frost & Sullivan. The main themes of Kar’s discussion were the burgeoning OEM businesses growing in China and India, and the effects these new companies can have on North American and worldwide market share. Kar felt OEM competition in China is some of the most rapidly growing in the world, and said the Chinese’s ability to create a low-cost truck is growing their global market share quickly.

Elmar Kades and Hans Lehmann of Alix Partners followed, and also discussed the strengths of the OEM markets in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Lehmann says 60 percent of all trucks now are manufactured in BRIC countries, and while North American numbers are sustaining, they are not expanding. The duo expects worldwide truck production to double from 2009 to 2014, but said North American market share may not increase.

Roland-Berger consultant Juergen Reers spoke of the importance CO2 emissions and industry regulation had in BRIC countries. Those areas of the world are subject to lower emissions standards, and therefore can produce a lower-quality truck at a faster rate than North American distributors.

Gary Gerstenslager (Hendrickson), Ken Davis (Eaton Vehicle Group) and Pat Cavanagh (Williams Controls) detailed the growth of their businesses into China, India and other parts of the world. They addressed the problems and solutions they discovered when moving portions of their businesses and gave advice to other companies currently attempting similar moves.

Chicago Federal Reserve Economist Bill Strauss and Avondale Partners’ Donald Broughton followed with presentations on the U.S. economy, its current outlook and the struggles of 2008-2010. Both anticipated slight growth for the overall economy in 2011 and beyond. Strauss quoted Blue Chip Forecast’s projected economic growth for 2011 at 3.3 percent and 2012 at 3.2 percent. Broughton added the trucking industry should benefit from that growth, and said the rise could create a driver shortage due to more freight being shipped.

The day’s keynote address was given by former U.S. Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who talked about the state of U.S. politics. Rove detailed the economy, the recent 2010 election, what he saw looking forward to 2012, his thoughts on President Obama and his time in the Bush White House.

The day finished with a pair of presentations by Eric Starks of FTR Associates and Stu MacKay of MacKay and Co. Both Starks and MacKay detailed the rise in freight and shipping in 2010 as a precursor to the economic upturn, and the duo expects freight to continue to rise and stabilize in 2011. Starks expects fleets to expand and OEM orders to trend higher. MacKay noted an 11.5 percent increase in aftermarket demand in 2010 after a 9.3 percent drop in 2009.