At a presentation for analysts in Manhattan last month, Chip McClure, chairman, CEO & president of ArvinMeritor Inc., pointed out that “the North American economy is really a challenge for everybody…The original expectation was the Class 8 market was actually going to be coming back this quarter. And in spite of the fact that we have seen two good months in October and November as far as orders, when you look at it, we do still see that being kind of pushed out to probably the second half of '08.”

McClure stated that a key growth initiative in the manufacturer's commercial-vehicle business is the expansion of remanufacturing via its acquisition of Canadian component remanufacturer Mascot Truck Parts.

Carsten Reinhardt, president of ArvinMeritor's Commercial Vehicle Systems, said the market “isn't quite as far down as people have said it to be. While we see some weakness in freight, we also have some indications that at least in some areas shipments are up a little bit.”

As for ArvinMeritor's estimate for 2008 truck sales, Reinhardt said the company is forecasting that number to be “around 220,000 for the year…this is our fiscal year and a little bit higher than that for the calendar year. Notwithstanding any major catastrophes to occur, I would say we have seen the bottom in the order intake and we are on our way up.” As for 2009, Reinhardt said it is being anticipated as a very strong year, “fueled and driven by replacement [demand] and by the recognition [that] the trucks aren't going to get any cheaper in 2010.”

Reinhardt said a key factor to bear in mind about 2010 EPA-compliant engines is that engine makers have embarked on two paths — some will use selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology requiring urea, some will not.

“The biggest impact [in terms of 2010] will be the technology question,” he told FleetOwner. “Announcements by engine makers, which started with Cummins, that they will not use SCR may make it more difficult to implement that technology — to have the urea infrastructure in place for those who would need it.” According to Reinhardt, SCR will be “less of a technology landslide. “There is good reason to think people will head into 2010 with less anxiety,” he added. “So we expect less of a spike in buying and not the ‘cliff event’ we saw” ahead of the 2007 engines.

Reinhardt also told Fleet Owner that ArvinMeritor is committed to “providing a deeper level of support for its customers” and is fully cognizant of the importance to fleet owners of product reliability. “We fully understand what fleet expectations are [regarding reliability] and we are putting in place processes and systems going forward that will pay greater attention [to these concerns],” he stated.