At the recent Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week exhibition and conference, Accuride Corp. announced its renewed commitment to the aftermarket. The company cited specific examples of its commitment, including a 2012 investment of $75 million in its aluminum and steel wheel capacity and resources, a sole focus on North American markets and customers, an intensified regional sales approach of eight regional offices and 58 aftermarket professionals, the creation of a distributor advisory council, and regular customer visits by management team members every 90-120 days.
The statements were made by Accuride president and CEO Rick Dauch, who discussed the company’s strong brands of Accuride aluminum and steel wheels, Gunite wheel-end componentry like brake drums and hubs, and Imperial line, which makes other parts like fuel tanks.
"We will not short the aftermarket in lieu of the OE customers," emphasized Dauch. He also itemized changes and investments Accuride is making to expand capacity, enhance quality and meet customer needs.
"Accuride has a rich heritage in the aftermarket and we’re planning investments, including a broadened product portfolio, a strengthened management team, and a dedicated aftermarket team of John Younger and Tony Pape," said Dauch. He detailed the company’s plans to make significant investments to upgrade its manufacturing equipment and process technologies to better meet customer demands and "properly serve" the heavy-duty aftermarket.
Earlier this year, Accuride announced a major investment in its aluminum wheel production capacity during 2011 through a combination of strategic acquisitions, key process technology investments, and transfers of aluminum wheel machining lines within its operations. These steps were part of a $35 million strategic initiative to boost Accuride’s ability to serve the commercial vehicle industry’s increasing demand for high-quality aluminum wheels.
"Factors like fuel economy requirements, residual value and aesthetics are driving the growth in aluminum wheel demand in the North American commercial vehicle industry," Dauch said.
"Accuride is committed to being a reliable and dependable supplier of steel and aluminum wheels and wheel-end components for our OE and aftermarket customers," he added. "We made solid progress in boosting our production capacity last year, and are stepping up our investments to extend and accelerate that progress throughout 2012. These investment plans further demonstrate our continuing commitment to improve product quality and ensure availability to meet growing demand by our customers and the industry. We won’t be satisfied until Accuride becomes the premier supplier of wheel-end system solutions to the global commercial vehicle industry."
The first phase targets new machining lines and related equipment in the Wheels business and is already underway. A second phase involves improvements at Accuride’s Gunite operations.