MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
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Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
06 Jan 09. Porsche on Tuesday came closer to its goal of controlling a €130bn ($175bn) European car and truck empire as it increased its stake in Volkswagen to more than 50 per cent, sparking a mandatory takeover offer for the truckmaker Scania. Porsche, the financially nimble German sports carmaker that builds only a 60th of the cars of VW, reiterated that it had no strategic interest in Sweden’s Scania and was likely to make a low offer. VW owns 69 per cent of Scania, and Porsche is now required by Swedish law to make a mandatory offer for the truckmaker. (Source: FT.com)
05 Jan 09. General Dynamics completed the acquisition of AxleTech International from The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm, in late December. The companies announced plans for the acquisition in November 2008. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed; the acquisition is immediately accretive to General Dynamics. The company, which will be known as AxleTech International, A General Dynamics Company, is based in Troy, Mich., and is a global manufacturer and supplier of axles, axle components, planetary axles, independent suspensions, brakes and aftermarket parts for military vehicles, commercial specialty trucks, and off-highway machines used in the construction, material handling, forestry, mining and agricultural markets. It has become part of the General Dynamics Armaments and Technical Products business unit,nwhich is based in Charlotte, N.C.
07 Jan 09. North American truck orders plummeted by almost two-thirds in December on the year, with weakening US business reinforced by slowing exports and the abrupt reversal of Canada’s oil sands boom. The unexpectedly severe fall has further darkened prospects not only for truckmakers and their suppliers, but also the wider US economy. Trucking is widely viewed as a key leading indicator of broader economic activity. “The industry is going to be forced to slash build rates or to take significant downtime in the first quarter”, says Kenny Vieth, analyst at Indiana-based ACT Re-search. Analysts at UBS predicted in a report on Wednesday that Volvo, the world’s second-biggest truckmaker, would cut its dividend in response to disappointing orders, margin pressure and a worsening outlook. However, Tim Kraus, director of the US Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, which represents parts makers, said that his members were better equipped to weather the downturn than their counterparts in the car industry. According to Mr Kraus, the truck sector has grown accustomed to “spike-and-cliff” conditions, and can adjust to some extent by shedding temporary workers, cutting overtime and reducing shifts. Truck parts makers are also shielded by a big market in replacement components. ACT estimates heavy Class 8 orders at 9,000 units in December, down 59 per cent for a year earlier and more than a fifth lower than November. Orders for medium-duty Class 5-7 vehicles were 65 per cent lower. The 2009 forecast for Class 8 retail sales, including exports, has been scaled back to 170,000 units, down from 205,000 in 2