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  1. #1
    ladderman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default alf is going out of business

    has anyone seen the article in the wall street journel (i have not) saying how the president and CEO of Fraightliner Jim Hebe had goten fired and Dimler Benz will be making changes to fraightliners subsidiaries
    i hope nothing is going to happen to ALF
    let me know what you think will

    [This message has been edited by ladderman (edited 06-05-2001).]

    [ 07-09-2001: Message edited by: ladderman ]


  2. #2
    daysleeper47
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I haven't seen the article, but I will definetly look it up. My city is looking at ALF as one of three companies to built a pair of engines for them.

    ------------------
    Joe
    Daysleeper47
    "When the bell goes ding-ding, its time to get on the woo-woo."
    "Dusting desire - starting to learn. Walking through fire with out a burn..."
    Youngstown Fire Department

  3. #3
    391HD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I myself haven't read any articles pertaining to that, but do know the Chrysler Corp. is having financial difficulties, which is also owned by Daimler Benz. This could be a re-structuring move by Daimler in an attempt to stay afloat during this period of economic slow down, shedding dead weight.

    It probably doesn't mean an end to ALF, unless one of the other large apparatus manufacturers decides to swallow it up. If this does happen, then ALF will once again be a memory.

  4. #4
    Chops
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I think ladderman is on to something (and more than likely right)...

    I know the Thomas Built Bus people are worried about this new CEO of Freightliner and they're doing a lot better than ALF. I didn't see the WSJ article yet but one I pulled off one of the stock report web sites say's Freightliner is going to drop the dead weight.

    FYI

  5. #5
    Ggg
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    Hey ladderman what issue of WSJ was that article in this could be very timely for me and other departments.

  6. #6
    firebuff
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    Yup, and E-One is up for sale too...

    I've been lurking for a while, but I thought I'd drop some sense into this thread.

    There was a WSJ article that stated something about DaimlerChrysler might be cutting more jobs and be seeking to sell off some parts of Freightliner. This was one of the first reports out after Mr. Hebe was removed. Following reports, based more on facts than quick rumors to get a story out actually talked to DC spokespeople to get the story right.

    I'm searching to find that particular article, but this late in the game, most archives are hidden behind "pay-for-retrieval" sections, and I can't locate. Instead of dishonoring that writer by attempting to remember quotes, I'll leave it up to other reader's further research to locate it.

    As a quick synopsis, FTL and ALF aren't going anywhere. I don't really know where that silly rumor got started. (The WSJ never said anything was happening to ALF, only that FTL would continue their already existing cost cutting plans under the new leadership)

    In addition, if you dig a little into ALF's recent history you can see things aren't as bad as they sound... in fact, quite the opposite.

    Marv Hoff retired (President of ALF, and head of specialty vehicles) In his place, they brought in two new people: Don Stewart (President of ALF) and Roger Nielson (Head of Specialty Vehicles, now FTL COO since Hebe is gone) I doubt they would be adding resources if they wanted to get rid of them. In addition, I believe the Germans (DC) would bring in their own people to run the place if there were any problems. Recent events show this is not the case.

    To try and wrap up an already terribly long message, below you will find quick references to articles about Hebe's departure, as well as a few excerpts from a memo Don Stewart sent out to all ALF Dealers regarding this rumor.

    - Ray

    http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/new...?news_id=43505
    http://www.ttnews.com/members/topNews/0007319.html
    http://www.daimlerchrysler.com/index...1/t10525_e.htm
    http://www.americanlafrance.com/Company/Press/

    From the memo: (Dated 6/1/01)
    "I have been made aware of just how rumor laden the Emergency Vehicle market can be as well as the degree of creativity practiced by whole organizations in spreading doubt to gain competitive advantage.

    Here are the Facts:

    ALF is not for sale, in whole or in part.

    ALF is a viable business and is not dependent on any one person for its direction, its successes of failures, its growth or its profitability. Leadership, entrepreneurial know-how and competitive spirit about across all ALF facilities.

    Freightliner and Daimler-Chrysler have pride of ownership in the American LaFrance nameplate, its history and tradition within the Fire Service.

    ALF is growing and becoming stronger as it does. As most of you know, ALF's growth is at the expense of our competitors, a fact which precipitates the rumors.

    ... [snip] ...

    There will always be rumors and doubts will always be caused by rumors. By working together to achieve our common business objectives and commitments to each other, we negate the effects of the rumors and discredit those that start and spread them.

    Let's just go to work...together and achieve our plans."
    ---

    As I've come to realize, if you have heard bad things about ALF, its probably from Pierce or E-One.


    [This message has been edited by firebuff (edited 06-05-2001).]

  7. #7
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    //As I've come to realize, if you have heard bad things about ALF, its probably from Pierce or E-One.

    Wow, another rumour? Pierce and E-One represent 54% of the US fire apparatus market. ALF is 7%. The Big Two could care less. ALF is barely in the big 5.

  8. #8
    firebuff
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    Wow, another rumour? Pierce and E-One represent 54% of the US fire apparatus market. ALF is 7%. The Big Two could care less. ALF is barely in the big 5.
    How is that rumor? That's a statement of opinion. Besides, if a majority of the market belongs to Pierce or E-One, then it seems your statistics could be used to back my opinion up. *shrug*

    Aside from what Don's memo stated, the only thing up there is my observations and opinions of ALF's activities and public statements.

    The whole ALF deal is about as silly as people who say Pierce is going out of business because Oshkosh's stock has been dropping. Or E-One is going out of business because of all the turnover in leadership they have had in the last five years. Not much behind any of them.

    - Ray

    [as an aside: where are you getting your market numbers from? just curious.]

  9. #9
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

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    I have no clue about the market numbers, but thumbing through Fire Apparatus Journal it seems like ALF are building plenty of units.

    I just hope they don't fold, our new ALF should be arriving soon.

  10. #10
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    It's my OPINION...but I don't think ALF is going to fold. Here in PA. they are selling a lot of units. My company just bought a rescue and are currently spec'ing a pumper with ALF.

  11. #11
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    There is talk around my dept. of AFL merging with another manufacturer has any one else herd this?
    cp

  12. #12
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    Wow, really? Football _and_ firetrucks? I wonder how that will work.

    Seriously, rumors are just that--rumors. When you see the press release you can start to worry, till then, ignore 'em.

    American LaFrance as well as the other big guys aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

    - Ray

  13. #13
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    Mr. Ladderman...you are begining to be a pain in the neck. You have been written directly from officials of American LaFrance who have told you that the rumors that you are spreading are false.

    If the folks at the top have told you personally that they are not aware of any sale or merger of ALF with anyone else, then what exactly are you looking for.

    You have personally written to me and apologized for spreading bad information about our company. Why do you persist?

    We would know what is happening here before anyone else.

    Believe me, if and when there are any changes here at ALF, you'll know about it real quick. Until that point, we're going about doing the best we can to serve our customers, the same way we have for over 170 years.

    Anyone else got any questions about this, please take a moment and write me personally before you spread any false information.

    Thanks!

    Glenn Usdin, President
    American LaFrance Used Fire Apparatus
    Glenn Usdin, Fire Chief
    Lancaster Township FD, PA

  14. #14
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    I am sorry but i dont want to buy an alf if there not going to be around in a year
    lets say you are going to buy a $650,000 car wound'nt you want to make sure that the company would be around after the sale and even if some one at alf knew some thing thay would not say so they dont hurt sales.
    we all have seen big manufactures come and go
    MACK
    SIMON-DUPLEX
    and theres more so dont tell me that the germans would not think of getting rid of alf
    cp

  15. #15
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    Your question has been asked and answered a number of times, in public forums and private email directly to you.

    As far as companies going out of business, there is never any guarantee that ANY company will stay in business. Companies merge, buy, sell, change, all the time. You want guarantees, you are in the wrong business. Firefighting (and life)is filled with uncertainty.

    The important thing is that a lot of people at Daimler Chrysler and Freightliner have invested a whole bunch of money in American LaFrance and there is no incentive for anyone to close it down. Sales are moving ahead, our dealer network is in place and getting stronger, new products are on the drawing board and production, and we have brought back America's most trusted name in fire apparatus.

    I know that you were sent a letter from the President of ALF explaining all of this. How many times do we need to say the same thing?

    Industry rumors are a way of life in this business. We could spread a bunch of dirt that we constantly hear about our competitors. We choose not to, and instead, promote the people, the products and the services that we offer. We sell our products to the fantastic customers who risk there lives everyday to protect their communities.

    As other posters have noted in this thread, there are hundreds of new ALF's going out to customers in every part of the US and Canada. We're working to get the word out about our safe modern fire apparatus, and we won't let the rumors stop us in our dealings with the fire service.

    Thanks for taking the time to learn the truth about ALF!
    Glenn Usdin, Fire Chief
    Lancaster Township FD, PA

  16. #16
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    Well Ladderman, this one has gotten so interesting that I just had to get my to sence in. (I'm sure Glenn will find this one interesting as well.)
    Alot has happened with the whole ALF thing and there are always rumors flying in the fire truck market. You can't believe any of them anymore. I always call them as I see them and if you can't handle my responce then don't ask me. Freightliner bought ALF to throw their hat in the ring and compete with the big boys. (Pierce, E-One, KME) They started building their own custom chassis. Next they bought several companies alreayd involved the in fire apparatus market. These were LTI, AI, and last Tele-Squirt to build ladders, towers, and squirts. Becker Fire Apparatus, 3D Fire Apparatus, Southern Coach Fire Apparatus, R.D. Murry Fire Apparatus, and JB RESQ.
    When ALF first started building their Eagle custom chassis they were marketing it to any body builder who wanted it. Then two years later when they had all of the above listed companies bought or partnershiped they cut off the custom chassis to all the outsiders. (This was a great way to get a bunch of the chassis out in the field, to work out all the bugs and problems that they occured with this new product, and to get the ALF name re-established.) Several of the small fire apparatus manufactures were using ALOT of these chassis. Some were using more Eagle chassis than all the other makes of custom chassis put together. When they cut these companies off, they made alot of bad feelings in the industry. At the same time they must have figured they were now big enough that they didn't need these other folks. If someone wanted their chassis they had to buy the whole works from them. Good in a business sence but still a ****ty thing to do to the people who got you there. (Here sell this new product and get some people to like it. Make people wanna come back and buy another one. Oh and buy the way, the next time they will have to buy it from us. You can't sell it to them any more.)
    They also eliminated any Freightliner dealers who weren't merged with a fire apparatus dealer from selling these chassis. Next they limited their fire apparatus sales division to only offering Freightliner commercial chassis.
    They had the total ball of wax!
    Or so it seemed anyway.
    They must have hoped this would work alot better than it did in the first two years. Without all those extra Eagle chassis rolling off the line this cut into some of the profits. Next alot of smaller builders who could no longer allowed to buy/use the Eagle chassis were now pushing othe commercial chassis instead - International, Peterbuilt, and Kenworth. I guess this would be considered retaliation by some and maybe for a good reason. Alot of other mergers of smaller companies took place in the fire appartus industry. You would only think that this was done to protect themselves in this new whole ball of wax and highly competetive market.
    Then even KME, E-One, and Pierce made some other partnetships or relations with other specialty builders or companies.
    Sometime last fall ALF started to become very price competitive and was real close in several apparatus bids put out in my area. The rumor then got out that sales were down for ALF. (Some customers weren't compairing apples to apples and were just compairing price tag to price tag. Hey guys sorry about your dumb luck.) ALF customs chassis weren't moving like they were at first. The new Peterbuilt and Kenworth comercial chassis were giving Freightliner a run for the money. LTI/ALF and AI/ALF built alot of somewhat similar products so they now decided they didn't need both lines and put AI up for sale. Minor changes in the LTI product incorperated some of the different AI technology before this took place.
    No one has yet to buy AI but a rumor had it that E.V. Team (Spartan, Quality, Luvern, bunch) wanted it but AI. This never happened and I heard that the price tag was really high. They even bought Glenn's company to market the used apparatus people trade in on new ALF stuff. This was a smart move and all of Glenn's hard work must have paid off too.
    Then the beginning of this year the new rumor surfaced that the new Freightliner/Bentz CEO gave the fire apparatus division 1 year to get things turned around. Freightliner's overall sales figures were down a great bit compaired to last year for the first quarter of the year.
    What does this all mean? Who the hell really knows. Rumors are just that Rumors. When you ask the company if a rumor about them is true they all say "Oh no, that's just a rumor."
    The ALF group is trying to sell trucks like there is no tomorrow. They appear to be selling some. You figure it out. I just attended the Pittsburg Fire-Rescue Expo. and FYDA had a respectable showing there.
    Anyone who has been in the fire service 15+ years has seen alot of them come and go. Some great ones and some who built the low bid junk. Anyone can have troubles, be bought out, or close. Some of the smaller manufactures build just as good a truck and the big boys. There are some nice used trucks out there from time to time so look around.

    1. Always compare things equally and fairly reguardless of what you are buying.
    2. Never buy a fire truck just for a name tag on the front.
    3. If you didn't get three competetive prices you paid too much.
    4. The only truely fair bid spec in a generic one you made up.
    5. Buy what you need to do the job and what is best suited for your department and community.
    Don't be a Jack-*** like so many others who have bought something just because your neighboring department has one or because it is bigger, faster, cooler, or more expensive than your neightboring departments.

    An old fireman I use to know use to always say "Give me 4 good firemen, a good operator, and the old Mack CF pumper and we'll kick any fire in the ***, any day of the week, just as good as those boys who own that new big fancy pumper".

    Take care, be safe, God bless.

    Neil Gunnet-Paid FF/EMT - Lifetime Volunteer
    Firefighter II
    Fire Officer II
    Fire Instructor III
    Fire Inspector II
    Hazmat Technician
    Rescue Technician
    PA-EMT-B

  17. #17
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    There is a letter from Roger Nielsen COC of Freightliner LLC on page 14 of the July issue of Firehouse.

    We already own one of the hunks of junk and don't care if they are around or not....you won't see another piece bearing the ALF name in our house!!

    Just my opinion and experience.
    Begin with the end in mind.

    Be safe out there!!

  18. #18
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    I doubt ALF is going anywhere. Now it wouldn't shock me if they didn't decide that they didn't need to building firetrucks in quite so many locations and dropped one or two of the body manufacturing shops they have scattered around the country.

    I recall reading several years ago that Seagrave was almost forced to decalre bankruptcy due to Canadian competition in the aerial ladder business. Seagrave is still here. Fire Apparatus is a tough business and there seem to usually be a couple more outfits running at a given time than the market can support but being a "major brand" and having a corporate war chest can't hurt.

  19. #19
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    Let's see what happens Feb 2002....

    [ 08-01-2001: Message edited by: ccfire ]

  20. #20
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    Which letter are you talking about? The letter on page 14 of the July "Firehouse" is co-signed by both, Raine E. Schmueckle, President and CEO of Freightliner LLC and Roger Nielsen COO of Freightliner LLC. The President of American LaFrance is Don Smith.

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