LOUISVILLE, KY. As top executives of Cummins Inc. see it, the road ahead for the world’s largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines will be paved by its continuing investments in technology to advance product platforms, manufacturing capacity and customer support.
Leading off a news conference held here Tuesday evening ahead of the Mid-America Trucking Show Rich Freeland, president—Engine Business, pointed out that Cummins is now a highly diversified manufacturer in terms of both product categories and the geographic markets in which it participates.
While Freeland characterized 2013—during which he said Cummins scored $17.3 billion in sales-- as “virtually flat from the year before, “ he advised that last year the engine segment accounted for just 47% of Cummins sales and the U.S./Canada market was responsible for only 52% of worldwide sales.
He added that new products were introduced in 2013 across the company’s global markets.
Freeland said Cummins fully grasps that “gaining customers’ business starts with our technology” for engine platforms that cover applications requiring 49 to 4200 hp and that include fueling by natural gas as well as by diesel.
He observed that the over 950,000 engines Cummins produced last year (including some 360,000 in North America) are “indicative of our global presence and the [manufacturing] scale we can leverage.
“Our strategy is simple,” Freeland continued. “It is to continue to bring out the best technology for customer requirements on a scale that enables cost-effective manufacturing and with a focus on leading [the industry] with fuel economy and unmatched customer support.”
Freeland also asserted that “we will be bringing out new products to improve fuel economy faster than anyone.”
Dave Crompton, vice president & general manager—Engine Business, related that Cummins launched initiatives last year to better “face the industry as it is-- by market segment rather than [approaching it] by product lines” -- and to “become better students of the markets and our customers within them. In addition, we established a business unit to focus in on our North American business.”
As a result of those efforts, he said Cummins now has “a very impressive and diversified product portfolio” and will “invest further—even in this flat market-- in product development and capacity expansion.”
Crompton stated that Cummins has forged “a more solid foundation” for its on-highway business and has with its ISV5.0 V8 “expanded the [diesel] lineup into pickup and medium-duty trucks as an alternative to gasoline power.
“What we’ve done just over the past 12 months,” he added, “has prepared us for future growth.”
More specifically on product, Compton also advised that Cummins has “paused” its program to develop a 15-liter natural-gas engine “as we await stronger market pull [via truck OEMs] for this product.
On the other hand, he said the Cummins Westport 12G 12-liter natural-gas engine is “off to a great start” with 3,000 units sold in 2013— and Cummins expects it to “double production this year.”