It was a big year for the off-road industry as Tier 4 Final went into full effect for a broad output range from 190 to 675 hp (142 to 503 kW) on January 1, 2014. That, coupled with it being a CONEXPO year, started 2014 off to a fast start.
This year, what has surprised me the most is the noticible number of acquisitions OEM Off-Highway has reported on in the industry.
June saw Joy Global acquire substantially all of the assets associated with Mining Technology Inc.'s hard rock drilling, loaders, dump trucks, shaft sinking and raise bore product lines (full press release here.) Also, Volvo CE completed its acquisition of Terex's hauler business (full release here) and Grede Holdings LLC, a leading producer of cast, machined and assembled components for transportation and industrial markets, announced that the sale of its operations has been completed to American Securities LLC (full release here).
In July, Bonfiglioli Riduttori announced it would be acquiring Comer Industries' electrical wheel drive units and planetary wheel drive product lines officially on January 1, 2015. Read the full release here. TE Connectivity also announced its plans to acquire Measurement Specialties in July in order to expand its sensor product offering for harsh applications (click to read more.)
And that is really only a selection of the acquisitions announced in 2014. Even though the economy is on a steady and slow climb upward, consolidation is still occuring with frequency.
November we saw a shift in the political voice of the U.S. as the midterm election results revealed a strong desire for actual progress and a halt to gridlocked government. Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) made a statement shortly after the elections were final:
"Americans have grown tired of the gridlock and partisan bickering that has plagued Capitol Hill in recent years. With tonight's election, they have sent a clear signal that they want action on the problems facing this nation. It is far past time for our lawmakers to put aside partisan differences and work together toward crafting constructive solutions. The new leadership in the U.S. Senate must now demonstrate they can move America forward.
"Equipment manufacturers and the broader business community share voters' frustration. The good news is that there is ample opportunity for President Obama and Congress to work together on commonsense solutions. Those efforts should begin without delay; there’s no excuse for Congress to waste the next two months by failing to deal with issues that demand their attention now.
"An immediate order of business for Congress should be responsibly fixing the Highway Trust Fund by restoring the gas tax to its 1993 buying power while oil prices are at recent record lows. Congress can continue to boost access to affordable energy by approving construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline."
As with every year, taking just a brief look back can tell you quite a bit about what milestones were hit, and what lies ahead in the upcoming year.
What do you anticipate for the 2015 Year in Review?