Recently, Accuride Corporation reported a series of capital investments over the past two years have been rewarded by new, long-term contracts to supply steel and aluminum wheels to OEMs. The company indicated it has logged orders totaling $30 million for aluminum commercial vehicle wheels. Details of the contracts were not released, but Accuride said new long-term agreements with several customers represent over 70% of core wheel business.
Accuride manufactures commercial vehicle wheels, wheel-end components and assemblies, truck body and chassis parts, and other components for North American commercial vehicle manufacturers.
The new business is a positive development after a slowdown in commercial vehicle demand during the fourth-quarter of 2012. Now, Accuride reports its operations are demonstrating improved competitiveness and dependability, including in product quality and delivery and lead-time performance.
“The majority of our program to restore dependable operational performance across Accuride is now complete and already yielding gains in product quality, delivery, lead-times, pricing and competitiveness,” stated Accuride president and CEO Rick Dauch.
Restructuring and expansion
In 2011, Accuride initiated a $150-million program to restructure and expand its wheel and wheel-end component operations. According to a company representative, a critical element of the overall project was establishing more automated and productive finish machining capability for its commercial vehicle wheels.
The program included plans to improve the production capabilities for each of its four business units: Accuride Wheels and Gunite (now combined as Accuride Wheel End Solutions); Imperial Group; and Brillion Iron Works. The group reported its expansion of aluminum wheel capacity totaled $55 million, and included acquisition of a rotary forging operation and doubling its forged wheel production capacity.
For its Gunite wheel-end operations, Accuride noted its installation of advanced machining and assembly equipment, casting process updates, and consolidation of operations, is nearly completed. Those projects are valued at $35 million, and Accuride stated Gunite’s casting and machining upgrades are generating opportunities for the business to regain share.
Other investments over the past two years involved environmental and safety programs, and amounted to $21 million.
Over the coming two years, Accuride expects to invest over $30 million to update its steel wheel operations during 2013-15. Details of the 2013 capital investment plan will be announced at a later date.
“Thanks to the investments we have made in our core business, we are quickly regaining customers’ faith in our ability to support their needs while positioning ourselves for the projected market recovery to come,” according to Dauch.