ArvinMeritor took advantage of the Mid-America Trucking Show last week in Louisville, KY to update customers and members of the press on its reorganization initiative and to introduce new products and partnerships. The briefing took place at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum. It was an apt venue for a discussion about vision and innovation.
“I really do represent a different ArvinMeritor than even a year ago,” company chairman, CEO & president, Chip McClure, told the audience. “We looked at how the company was run and then looked for opportunities to restructure, to realize our global plans.” As part of this initiative, ArvinMeritor did a complete portfolio evaluation, according to McClure, to “transform the company -- to reorganize, refocus, restructure and align costs with revenue projections.”
This included divesting ArvinMeritor of non-core businesses, such as the emission business. “We determined that the emissions business did not meet our stringent cost and revenue requirements,” McClure said. “We expect the sale to wrap up by the end of this year.”
Going forward, the company will be focusing on chassis, suspensions, drivetrains, advanced axles, alternative drivetrains and vehicle safety and security, he noted, with the goal of “delivering on our promise to be the innovation leader.”
Carsten Reinhardt, president of ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems, also offered his perspectives on the three-year restructuring initiative, dubbed Performance Plus. “Beginning on September 1 of last year, I traveled to over 30 locations. It seems like I was on every continent,” he said. “I’ve seen a company with tremendous potential, an extremely valuable group of brands, valuable partners and lots of opportunity for improvement. That is what gets me up in the morning. We are working very hard on making plans for the future.”
Customers will not have to wait for the future, however, to see new things from ArvinMeritor. Reinhardt went on to announce several immediate changes, beginning with a stronger focus on its “22-year-young” Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket (CVA) remanufacturing business, with the goal of enlarging its portfolio of OEM-specification remanufactured components for its North American customers.
“One of the key benefits to customers of remanufactured components versus rebuilt is their quality,” explained Doug Wolma, general manager for the company’s CVA business. According to Wolma, all remanufactured components are brought back to engineering-approved specifications and have the full resources of ArvinMeritor behind them, yet are available at a lower cost. Components such as brake shoes, axle carriers, manual transmissions, wedge brake actuators, hydraulic brake cylinders, transfer cases and trailer axles are remanufactured at the company’s facility in Plainfield, IN.
The CVA business also announced the addition of Meritor-Wabco-branded products to its Meritor all-makes air systems program, which was launched earlier this year. The new offering includes air valves and an AD-9 style air dryer cartridge. The company’s Web-based “Literature on Demand” resource is also now available on DVD for customers who find it easier to work with an off-line versus Internet-delivered tool.
ArvinMeritor also announced that the Meritor RideSentry trailer suspension system will be in production starting in June. The suspension system features a PinLoc slider locking mechanism designed to reduce the potential for incidents by using an angled pin design and an air assist with a parking brake interlock to securely engage the slider before the trailer moves out onto the highway behind the tractor.
In early summer, North American customers will also have access to the company’s new global hub reduction axle family of single and tandem rear axles for on/off-highway vocational applications, such as construction, concrete and logging. The axles, in ratios ranging from 3.61: 1 to 7.21:1, are already in use in the Asian market, and are rated at 26,000-35,000 lbs. GAWR for the single axle and 52,000-70,000 lbs. GAWR for the tandem.
Meritor Wabco Vehicle Control Systems announced that it has entered into an agreement with Heil Trailer International to supply its Roll Stability Support (RSS) as standard equipment on select Heil and J&L brand products. (J&L Tank is a subsidiary of Heil Trailer International.) The system is available immediately on three Heil models according to the company, Petroleum, Super Jet and Super Flo (domestic and export). It can also be specified on J&L Low Cube and High Cube (domestic) tank models.
Perhaps the most important message from ArvinMeritor was not about the new programs and products recently revealed, however, but about what is yet to come. This is only the beginning, according to Reinhardt. “Five priorities have emerged,” he said. “Cost reduction; focusing on manufacturing; focusing on strengthening our talent base; focusing on innovative new products, including hybrids, and achieving profitable growth. Performance Plus is about functional excellence. It with put us in the very top tier.”
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