Navistar calls first quarter "on target"

Navistar International Corp. today reported a first quarter loss and said it forecasts a small second quarter loss, but expects to be marginally profitable for the full year. The company said the loss from continuing operations for the quarter ended January 31 totaled $98 million, compared with a loss of $53 million in the same period last year. The net loss for the quarter, including discontinued

Navistar International Corp. today reported a first quarter loss and said it forecasts a small second quarter loss, but expects to be marginally profitable for the full year.

The company said the loss from continuing operations for the quarter ended January 31 totaled $98 million, compared with a loss of $53 million in the same period last year. The net loss for the quarter, including discontinued operations, amounted to $99 million.

Consolidated sales and revenues from the company's manufacturing and financial services operations for the first quarter totaled $1.6 billion, compared with $1.5 billion the first quarter of 2002.

According to Navistar chairman & CEO John R. Horne, the first-quarter results were on target with expectations. Income this year versus the first quarter a year ago was impacted by higher postretirement expenses, higher costs associated with the delay of its V-6 engine program, lower engine shipments to Ford and higher start-up costs associated with the ramp up of the new Ford Power Stroke V-8 engine.

Horne said that the Blue Diamond joint venture with Ford continues on track. Pilot production of Ford's new medium truck began in December and the first shipments from the company's plant in Escobedo, Mexico to Ford dealers in the United States began this week.

Turning to the 2003 outlook for new truck sales, Horne said that the company's forecast for industry demand was based on the assumption that orders for new medium- and heavy-duty trucks would improve significantly in the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year.

Horne noted that leading truck industry indicators such as pricing, used truck inventories and truck tonnage appear to have stabilized. Additionally, industry orders increased significantly in January for both medium and heavy trucks. Medium truck orders had been very weak prior to January.

Worldwide Class 8 shipments totaled 6,100 units, compared with 5,600 in 2002. Class 6-7 shipments totaled 7,700 units, compared with 6,800 in 2002.

Shipments of diesel engines to other original equipment manufacturers during the quarter totaled 63,400 units, down from 78,000 units in the first quarter of 2002. The company said the decline was the result of the anticipated ramp up for the new V-8 engine.

Because of the overwhelming success of the new engine, Horne said that the company is increasing its forecast for shipments to Ford from 275,000 in 2002 to 301,000 in 2003.

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