Diversified suppliers cite trucking gains

Early 2004 demand for new trucks has given truck OEMs a boost to their bottom line -- and suppliers are reaping the benefits.

Dana Corp., a supplier of axles, brakes, and engine parts, has reported stronger 1Q net income of $63 million -- a 54% leap over the same period last year. The North American heavy-truck sector was cited as the lion's share of the company's 17% increase in sales over 1Q 2003.

Although the report did not divulge any specifics on its heavy-truck sales, the increase in sales is in step with industry-wide buzz of growing demand for new heavy-duty trucks. Suppliers for commercial vehicles are benefiting as a result.

For example, yesterday Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., a diversified industrial manufacturer, noted its North American revenues for its climate control sector increased 12%. The gains are "driven primarily by strong volume improvements in Thermo King's truck and trailer business."

"The economy is picking up -- the customers that haven't bought our products in a while are now spending more," said Kim Thorsen, Thermo King spokeswoman said.

Neither Dana Corp. nor Ingersoll-Rand cater exclusively to the commercial trucking industry, but both noted their holdings in the sector are reporting strong gains in 1Q over the year-earlier period.

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