Navistar: 30 Minutes Better Spent Elsewhere.

In a fit of enthusiasm, we head off to the Navistar press conference, it offering - to our way of thinking - a bit of potential for some larks. Here after all is a company that has - in the last few weeks - been hoofed off the NYSE as a result of not being able to employ an accountant capable of counting to three, and has managed to get a judge to find against it in terms of a non-paying customer - namely Ford. A class act all round.So we were rather looking forwards to the any questions bit with Dan Utsian. But he's not here - he's in Chicago - apparently delayed by strong winds. Must remember to check the O'Hare delay website.So instead, we get a load of hot air about Maxxforce - very good, and, intriguingly, and engine developed 'jointly' with MAN. We remember things a bit differently, and so ask Dee Kapur, boss of the Navistar Truck Group what he makes of the whole MAN-Scania-VW thing: after all, Navistar could be regarded as an interested party. But Kapur's having none of it. "I'm too far away from the deal", he says. An odd place to be, you might think. So we try another tack - does MAN's Indian JV with Force Motors clash with Navistar's similar deal with Mahindra International. No is the answer to that one. In sum, thirty wasted minutes.

ArvinMeritor: Global Ambition, Confusing Pens

We had a bit of a chat with Chip McClure last night - he being the CEO of ArvinMeritor, a company that has been the recipient of some causticity from this direction in the past.So Chip, we says to he. Now that you've sold off the Emissions Technology business, will you not simply revert to being an old fashioned metal basher, knocking out springs for the masses at an acceptable price?Not a bit of it, says he. ArvinMeritor has big ambitions - big global ambitions, and sees future revenues coming one third from the US, one third from Europe and one third from Asia. And the bald truth is, in order to pursue those ambitions, it needed to scrape together some cash. Hence the sale of what might be viewed as the family silver to One Capital Partners.Fair enough - but what, we respond, does he do about the fact that his two key target markets - China and India - are increasingly turning to the verticalised European OEMs for partnerships. Verticalised companies are not happy places for Tier 1 suppliers. Simple, says he. ArvinMeritor is returning to the idea of systems assembly - and so the return of the Tier 0.5 supplier looks to be upon us.In other news, remanufacturing is now a key part of ArvinMeritor's route ahead. Carsten Reinhardt, ex of DDC and now man in charge of AM's CV business sees remanufacturing - of items including transmissions - as playing a major part in the company's future. We wonder where this will end - engines perhaps?But one thing does confuse us. All around are signs saying ArvinMeritor. And yet our new pen, supplied by the same company, reads only Meritor. Whither Arvin?