CHICAGO When General
Motors Co. spun off its axle/powertrain business to American
Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. in 1994, the
Detroit-based automaker accounted for 97 to 98 percent of the
Today, GM accounts for roughly
70 percent of American Axles sales, and that needle will
move down to 60 percent this year and to 50 percent by 2015,
president and chief executive officer David C. Dauch said at
Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.s 2013 New York Auto Summit.
He said his company had diversified by geography, product and
American Axle, which executed 34
vehicle program launches last year and has 27 scheduled this
year, expects revenue to increase to $3.25 billion this year
from $2.93 billion in 2012, and reach $4 billion in 2015.
The Detroit-based manufacturer
boasts a $1.25-billion backlog of new business through 2015.
About 60 percent of American Axles backlog is in North
America, with 30 percent in Asia, 7 percent in South America
and 3 percent in Europe. "Fifty percent of this backlog is
non-GM business, and were quoting over $500 million of
business right now, of which 95 percent is non-GM business,"
Dauch told analysts at the summit.
Newer global customers include
Jaguar Land Rover Plc in Britain, Volkswagen AG in Brazil and
Daimler AGs Mercedes-Benz unit in China. Opportunities on
the European continent are somewhat limited because automakers
there have in-house capacity and union workers who make the
components American Axle manufactures, but European automakers
do want to localize their sourcing abroad, Dauch said.
Arguably the biggest launch for
American Axle in North America is GMs K2XX pickup
platform, which will replace the GMT900 and make its debut in
the Chevrolet Silverado.
"Were very excited about
the K2XX. GM has put a lot of investment into (the new
platform)," Dauch said. "Were involved on the powertrain
side. We have had to upgrade our axle and driveline systems to
support the greater horsepower, plus the torque and
load-carrying capabilities that go with that."
Production on the K2XX is set to
begin during the second quarter, starting with light-duty
pickups produced at GMs Fort Wayne, Ind., and Silao,
Mexico, assembly plants. "The balance of the launch will happen
with the heavy-duty and the utilities later this year, into
next year," Dauch said.
American Axle has prepared its
supply chain for 1 million units but could flex its capacity
higher as needed, Dauch said. "We see success with the K2XX
being very beneficial for (the company)."