ArvinMeritor and Randon to offer components in South America

ArvinMeritor Inc of Troy, Michigan, has announced a joint venture agreement with Randon Participacoes of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, to develop, manufacture, and sell truck and trailer components to be marketed in South America.

Under the agreement, Suspensys, previously a division of Randon, will become a 50/50 partnership between ArvinMeritor and Randon.

Randon, a large conglomerate of companies specializing in numerous markets in Latin America, holds core competencies in the manufacturing of road equipment and specialty vehicles, as well as automotive systems and components.

Since 1986, ArvinMeritor and Randon have been joint venture partners in Master Sistemas Automotivos Limitada. Master, also based in Caxias do Sul, is chartered to manufacture, assemble, and market on-highway heavy vehicle brakes.

The new joint venture, Suspensys, will focus on truck suspensions, trailer axles and suspensions, and related wheel-end equipment. The joint venture will combine ArvinMeritor product technology with Randon manufacturing and operations expertise. Suspensys will have its own sales and marketing organization to interface with OEM customers and provide service and aftermarket support.

Currently, a 174,000 sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Caxias do Sul is under construction specifically for the Suspensys products, and will be completed November 2002.

The joint venture's board of directors is being established. Serving on the board for ArvinMeritor will be Thomas Gosnell, senior vice-president and president, Commercial Vehicle Systems and Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket; Sergio Carvalho, vice president and general manager, Suspension Systems, Trailer Products, and Ride Control, and Rakesh Sachdev, vice-president and general manager, Worldwide Braking Systems. Randon board members will include David Abramo Randon, vice-president of the board, Randon Participacoes, SA; Alexandre Randon, vice-president director, Randon Participacoes, SA and Astor Milton Schmitt, investor relations director, Randon Participacoes, SA.

"This venture links ArvinMeritor's established knowledge of the commercial vehicle industry and our existing customer relationships with Randon's proficiency in the South American market," Gosnell said. "With our combined expertise, we anticipate having a significant positive impact for both our customers and the overall marketplace."

Initially the joint venture will produce truck suspensions, trailer suspensions and trailer axles for two vehicle OEMs and a variety of trailer OEMs, as well as hubs and drums for one vehicle maker. Plans are already in place for additional business in South America, with growth strategies under development to expand the business.

"This joint venture means growth for our customers and for our company. Suspensys will significantly enhance our component and system penetration in South America, and strengthen our position as the world's largest manufacturer of trailer axles and related components. In addition, we intend to use Suspensys components to broaden our product portfolio outside of South America," said Sergio Carvalho, vice-president and general manager, Suspension Systems, Trailer Products, and Ride Control. "Our strategy is global growth in trailer components, as well as in truck and trailer suspension systems.”

For more information, visit the company's Web site at: www.arvinmeritor.com.

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