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Volvo Adds Nightshift to Gent Plant

Despite the mooted downturn in the EU truck market this year, Volvo is to add a nightshift at its Gent plant, and, in the process, is looking for 400 additional staff, according to local radio reports.A Volvo spokesman confirmed the move, adding that the company is eliminating overtime and the use of the Time Bank process.Is this a case of under-capacity, or is it a case of manufacturing consolidation? Apparently, this is move is aimed at bumping up FH/FM production, so obviously Volvo is optimistic about the prospects for 07. Or so it would seem.

Iveco and .......

Good to see that Sergio Marchionne is getting with program and talking about Iveco and possible mergers, as per the FT this morning.

China in 2007: Be Afraid?

The future direction of the Chinese truck business is discussed in this article published by China Economic Net.It makes a number of seemingly valid points, which, when combined, suggest that 2006 was the year that the Chinese truck industry matured – from the perspectives both of the manufacturer and the buyer. Weights are increasing – witness the decline in quasi-heavy or medium duty products – and the corresponding rise in heavy duty.But the most interesting observation is, for us, that which concerns emissions.

Allison Up for Sale?

GM may be looking for a buyer for its Allison Transmission division, according to this statement, suggesting that the 07 slowdown is now really beginning to focus some minds.

Iveco Better, Future Still Cloudy

And so to Iveco, which has – through parent Fiat Group – made its statement for 2006.Not too shabby at first glance; revenues were up 7.7 per cent to €9.1 / $11.8 / £5.9 billion, and a trading profit of €546 / $708.74 / £359.57 million, up by 64 per cent on 2005, and suggesting a half decent margin of six per cent.Sales are worth a look. In 2006, Iveco delivered a total of 181,500 vehicles (including 17,600 units with buy back commitments), up 5.2 per cent from 2005.

Ford $12.7 Billion in the Hole

For a company to lose more in a year than the GDP of Jamaica is a rip-roaring achievement. A big hand, then to Ford, which has announced 2006 losses of $12.7 billion. Hello 2007, hello Chapter 7?There really is very little you can say about this, beyond wishing Ford employees well as they – one assumes – scan the sits vac column. Can you come back from a $12.7 billion loss? We think it is unlikely.Is there a potential buyer out there?

Scania, Wallenberg, Nonsense

What is wrong with these people?Having just seen £14.54 / €22 / £28.66 million spent on telling MAN to go breed, Investor AB – Scania’s second biggest shareholder – is now suggesting that everyone sits down again and agree a friendly merger.

Scania Up by 12 per cent in 2006

Scania chose to bring forward its 2006 numbers – as a result of its spat with MAN – and we’ve got our hands on them. Interesting to note how much fending off Munich has cost - £14.54 / €22 / £28.66 million.

GAZ and Renault

Renault’s foray into Russia has been consummated with the announcement of the adoption of its DCi11 for installation in GAZ’s Ural range. The engine will be made under licence via an agreement struck in June 2006.Just a thought, but not only is GAZ acquisitive; it’s the new owner of LDV, and the new employer of the litigious Martin Leach; it is also cash rich – which, given the last point may yet prove useful – and has made plain its aims for the CV market.