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Accuride rolls deeper into the red

Keywords: Tags  Accuride, aluminum wheels, steel wheels, earnings report, Rick Dauch, commercial vehicle demand slump

CHICAGO — Wheel manufacturer Accuride Corp. posted a first-quarter net loss of more than $15.9 million, up sharply from a $2.9-million loss in the same period last year on sales that fell 28.6 percent to $192.5 million.

The bigger loss and lower sales reflected the impact of macroeconomic and industry conditions on its businesses, said the Evansville, Ind.-based producer of aluminum and steel wheels and hubs for commercial vehicles.

"We continued to experience softness in our two primary market segments—North American commercial vehicles and global mining/construction—which led to significantly reduced revenue during the first quarter," president and chief executive officer Rick Dauch said in an April 23 statement.

"We are focusing on what is in our control by taking targeted actions to reduce our overall cost structure, and have substantially completed our manufacturing footprint consolidation efforts," he said. "We believe that the first quarter represents the bottom of the North American commercial vehicle cycle. We are prepared for, and look forward to, the pending market upturn."

North American commercial vehicle manufacturers continued to adjust their build schedules downward during the first quarter in order to better align their operations with demand, the company said. Class 8 vehicle production declined by 29.2 percent vs. the first three months of 2012, while the Class 5-7 and U.S. trailer segments declined 6.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Industry forecasts continue to project a significant ramp-up in production during the second half of this year and into 2014, however.

Fleets continue to cautiously replace aging equipment, and freight tonnage is projected to steadily increase over the next several years, which will continue to drive increased demand for trucks and trailers going forward, Dauch said.

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