CHICAGO A lack of
visibility has left suppliers to the heavy truck manufacturing
industry scrambling amid a downturn in demand, according to
Dana Holding Corp. and Allison Transmission Inc., although data
from market researchers suggest a recovery could be in the
"We saw some pretty rapid
changes in the third quarter ... and we would probably have
expected to have a bit more foresight on those changes than we
did," Roger Wood, president and chief executive officer of
Maumee, Ohio-based Dana, told investors.
"The way they (original
equipment manufacturers) came to us were through taking out
specific (unplanned) days of production as opposed to lowering
overall volumes," which is why "we had to scramble a bit to
catch up. Because of that shortness of visibility, we think the
overall marketplace is going to show us, on aggregate, slightly
lower volumes in the fourth quarter than we saw in the third
quarter," he said.
The decline in commercial
vehicle productionespecially in Class 8 truckscould
be seen year over year and sequentially quarter over quarter,
in North and South America and Europe. The heavy truck sector
in the Asia Pacific region "remains depressed, especially in
China," Wood said. "In light of this ... were not rushing
into putting capacity in for the high growth that we thought
once might be there."
Transmission saw third-quarter sales fall 14 percent from a
year earlier, "principally driven by decreased demand for North
America off-highway products relative to the elevated demand we
experienced in the prior-year period," the company said in its
third-quarter earnings results.
on-highway, military, and service parts and support equipment
units also experienced declines in North America. Higher sales
in China offset lower sales in Europe, the company said.
Allison Transmission chairman,
president and chief executive officer Lawrence E. Dewey
attributed the companys lower performance to a decline in
the hydraulic fracturing market, as well as diminished
production schedules for North American commercial vehicles.
The markets Allison serves are plagued by heightened
uncertainty, he said.
The Heavy Duty Manufacturers
Association said preliminary orders for October reached their
highest level since January, citing research from FTR
Associates Inc. and ACT Research Co. LLC, which both cautioned
against reading a trend into the numbers.