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Brake venture revved up

At a press briefing in Sandestin, Florida, yesterday, members of the top management team of Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC outlined the progress the joint venture has made since its formation last summer and detailed how the operation is bringing its brake and related products to OEMs and the trucking aftermarket.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, a unit of Knorr-Bremse Group, and Dana Corp. formed the North American joint venture to become more competitive supplying foundation brake components for commercial vehicles in North America. The combined operation’s three main areas of focus are 1) air disc brakes; 2) drum brakes; 3) specialty wheel-end solutions.

“Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB) resulted from off-and-on discussions between the two parent companies,” said BSFB president Kishor Pendse. “With the advent of stricter federal stopping-distance regulations [not yet released] it made sense for the parents to bring these two operations together last year.

“Our [immediate] goal is to double the size of the business over the next four to five years,” he continued, “due to our product improvements and [better] response to customers.”

Pendse stressed these key points about the joint venture:

· While the company name incorporates “Bendix” and Spicer,” most of its products will transition into carrying only the “Bendix” brand name

· Bendix Spicer will use the Eaton-Dana Roadranger organization “to reach fleets and dealers.”

· Bendix and Dana channels will be used to market to OEMs and the aftermarket

· All distribution consolidated into a Bendix facility in Huntington, IN

· Two engineering locations have been retained: Kalamazoo, MI and Elyria, OH

Pendse stated that Bendix Spicer sees air disc growth in the U.S. and Canada being driven by market conditions, not by government regulations. He noted the company will be able to meet the expected change in stopping distances with drums and disc brakes.

He pointed out that currently there is a “$200-per-wheel-end premium for air disc brakes and we would need to see that fall below $100” for the disc market to grow substantially. “Below $100,” Pendse added, “the life-cycle cost can be justified.”

A special toll-free customer-service number has been set up fro questions about the joint venture and its products: 866-610-9709.

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