Navistar boosts profits on the back of medium-duty sales

CHICAGO (Aug. 18, 2003) — Navistar International, parent company of International Truck and Engine, is attributing a boost in profitability for its third quarter to a recent strong pickup in new medium- duty truck orders.

Navistar, the North American market share leader for medium-duty trucks, reported net income from continuing operations for the three months ending July 31, totaled $19 million, compared with a loss of $16 million a year ago.

While acknowledging a continued softness in medium-truck shipments, Navistar president and CEO Daniel C. Ustian, said in a press release that preliminary July industry class 6-7 medium-truck orders totaled 7,700 units — up 37 per cent over a year ago and the highest monthly total since August 2002.

However, despite the July increase in orders, Ustian said the company has lowered its forecast for North American industry retail sales for Class 6-7 trucks to 72,700 units for the year ending October 31, 2003, down from the previous forecast of 77,300 units. The company has also reduced the estimate of mid-range diesel engines it will produce for its own use and for sale to other OEMs from 417,000 to 400,000 units for the year ending October 31.

Industry heavy truck orders in July totaled 17,200 units, the third consecutive month of solid order rates Ustian said, noting that heavy truck orders are generally considered an early-cycle barometer of overall economic momentum.

Commenting on the future, Ustian said the company looks for “solid profitability in 2004 as overall economic momentum improves.”

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