Eaton forecasts strong heavy truck market

On the heels of healthy sales and profits, Cleveland, OH-based manufacturer Eaton Corp. is projecting that robust sales of heavy trucks should continue through the rest of 2005.

“Our truck segment posted sales of $601 million in the third quarter, up 24% compared to the same period in 2004, and it recorded operating profits of $119 million – an increase of 29%,” said Alexander Cutler, Eaton’s chairman & CEO. He added however that restructuring charges of $120 million wiped out that profit and then some for the quarter.

He noted that NAFTA heavy-duty truck-related production jumped 14% compared to the same period in 2004, while medium-duty production slipped 11%, European truck production climbed just 4%, and Brazilian vehicle production rose 6%.

“Third quarter production of NAFTA heavy-duty trucks totaled 86,000 units, about the same as in the second quarter,” said Cutler. “We expect that for the full-year NAFTA heavy-duty production is likely to be about 325,000 units.”

Overall, Eaton posted healthy results for the third quarter despite restructuring charges. Net income increased 17% for the company as a whole to $199 million on 10% higher sales of $2.79 billion compared to the same period last year. “We expect our end markets to grow about 4% in the fourth quarter, with the truck markets in particular remaining very strong,” Cutler said.

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