WABCO expanding North American CV role


LOUISVILLE, KY. WABCO Holdings Inc., (NYSE: WBC) a Tier-One supplier to the global commercial vehicle industry, explained its expanding presence in the North American commercial-vehicle (CV) market at a news conference held here Friday at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS). The company also detailed products it regards as “technology breakthroughs” that it said will help truck, bus and trailer makers increase vehicle safety and efficiency as well as improve driver effectiveness and environmental sustainability.

WABCO is a U.S. public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: WBC) and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. WABCO operates in North America through wholly owned subsidiaries WABCO North America and WABCO Reman Solutions; WABCO Compressor Manufacturing, its joint venture with Cummins, Inc., and its Meritor WABCOjoint venture.

While its brand name is best known in the North American CV market through its joint venture with Meritor, Nikhil Varty, WABCO’s newly named vice president, Americas, and Mergers & Acquisitions, told FleetOwnerthat WABCO’s own name and branded products will soon become more visible to North American trucking.

He said that’s because the company has determined it needs a “presence here to speed solutions for customers” and because “so many [of our] technologies are gaining strength in this market, that we need to be on the ground here, too, as we are in other markets around the world.”

To that end, WABCO recently opened a new North American headquarters in Rochester Hills, MI. What’s more, Varty said WABCO-branded products will now augment those marketed by the Meritor WABCO joint-venture operation. He also pointed out that existing “Meritor WABCO products are WABCO products in the rest of the world.” Another upshot of the expanded WABCO presence here, noted Varty, is that the aftermarket will be served with both Meritor WABCO- and WABCO-branded products.

Asked by FleetOwner if one should read anything into the M&A portion of his new title, Varty responded that WABCO “can’t depend only on organic growth” and added that “acquisitions can complement what we do today.”

As for new products, according to Varty, the WABCO Maxxus air disc brake that the company announced at MATS will compete here with the Meritor WABCO air disc brake, which is of a different design. Varty called the Maxxus the lightest and highest performing single-piston air disc brake available for trucks. He noted that the new brake is being field-tested at this point and production is slated to begin in July.

Other key products discussed by Varty at the news conference included:

· Availability of the new IVTM electronic tire-pressure monitoring system, which he said will help save up to 2% on fuel and increase tire life up to 20%

· OnGuardPLUS, the latest version of WABCO’s advanced emergency braking system for trucks

· OptiDrive, which he described as a breakthrough in automated manual transmission technology for boosting fuel economy up to 5%

· Intelligent Trailer Program, which he called a modular solution to address trailer safety and efficiency as well as increase driver effectiveness to help reduce the total cost of transportation

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