Keate discusses post-buy lull

| 7/11/2002

International Truck and Engine Corp. said Tuesday the surge in orders the last three months will be followed by "a bit of a quiet period," or a post-October lull.

"We'll have to work our way through the pre-buy in the first quarter of next year," said Steve Keate, president, truck group, International. "But I'm confident because I believe the new engines will perform and there's evidence of a pickup in the economy."

Meanwhile, Keate said Caterpillar's action in June notifying International that it could not fill production needs through October will hurt sales. "We're getting Cat engines now," he said. "We're just not getting enough." To make up for an expected shortfall, Keate said the company is looking to other engine makers, especially Cummins.

Keate also said the Canadian Auto Workers "lack of participation in exploring other alternatives" has stalled strike negotiations affecting workers at the company's Chatham, Ontario plant. The goal was to reduce costs by $28 million, but so far, agreement has been reached to reduce cost by $14 million.

--Dick Larsen, senior editor