Former Ford Motor Co. executive Dee Kapur has been named president of International Truck and Engine Corp.'s truck group at a time when International is pushing hard to return to dominance in the commercial vehicle market.
Kapur comes from the light-duty truck side of Ford's business — spending nearly 27 years at the company's North American truck operations He helped develop several new products, including the F-150 Super Crew cab pickup and the launch of the new 2004 F-150 model line.
Kapur replaces Steve Keate, who was ousted in April following a year of rising red ink and a strike at its Chatham, Ont., truck plant.
International has seen its truck sales rise significantly following a $1-billion six-year redesign effort in part handled by Keate. However, a rise in Class 6 and 8 sales units did not translate into profits. International lost $536 million on $6.8 billion in revenues in 2002, largely from restructuring efforts and plant closings.
Yet International has turned a corner of sorts since this spring. At the end of its third fiscal quarter in July, International posted net income of $19 million on revenue of $1.9 billion, compared to a loss of $16 million on revenue of $1.6 billion in the same quarter last year. However, the company has still lost $91 million through the first nine months of 2003, though those losses have decreased from last year's levels.
Both medium- and heavy-duty truck orders were up in July, according to the company. Class 6-7 medium truck orders totaled 3,400 units in July and worldwide shipments of International brand heavy and medium trucks and school buses during the third quarter totaled 21,200 units, up from the 19,800 units in the third quarter of 2002. Shipments of mid-range diesel engines to other original equipment manufacturers during the quarter totaled 82,200, compared with 73,400 units in the third quarter last year.