American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., a heavy
consumer of special bar quality (SBQ) products, is altering its
production mix and cadence in response to hiccups with major
new vehicle launches by General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group
"To keep up with the
red-hot sales pace and address unanticipated powertrain mix
shifts, daily production schedules have been running
significantly higher. This strain on active capacity is
expected to be short term as additional installed capacity will
come online ... in the first quarter of 2014," American Axle
chairman, president and chief executive officer David C. Dauch
said during the Detroit-based manufacturers Nov. 1
Detroit-based GM had
"some short-term issues with American Axle around specific
components," Chuck Stevens, chief financial officer of General
Motors North America, said during a recent earnings call. "It
had a small impact on full-sized pickup truck and (sports
utility vehicle) production in October, but we expect to make
that up in the fourth quarter. (It will) have no impact on the
full-size SUV launch."
Among its 28 global
product and facility launches this year, American Axle is
managing the supply of axles and components to GMs
next-generation pickups and SUVs, Dauch said.
American Axle is
working with GM to make appropriate capacity adjustments, in
terms of volume and mix, to support future production
If GM produces more
trucks with V8 engines and fewer V6 models, it would mean the
automaker needs more large axles9.5-inch vs. 8.6-inch
diameters, an equities analyst suggested.
"This is a great
problem to have. The truck is red hot (and) we have to deal
with some adjustments ... with regard to product sizes.
(Eventually) this will be a win-win for both General Motors and
(American Axle)," Dauch replied.
Mich.-based Chrysler was supposed to start shipping the 2014
Jeep Cherokee this summer, but dealers didnt start
getting deliveries until October, chairman and chief executive
officer Sergio Marchionne said during an earnings call last
EcoTrac Disconnecting All-Wheel-Drive system is featured on the
2014 Jeep Cherokee, but Dauch said Chryslers problems
with that transmission had less to do with the part and more to
do with related software.