American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings has reported record third quarter earnings of 70 cents per share for 2002, an increase of 37% compared to the 51 cents earned in the third quarter of 2001.


Sales in the third quarter hit a record level for the third straight quarter, up $85 million or 11.4% to $829 million for the third quarter of 2002 as compared to the $744 million in the year earlier period. North American vehicle builds were up approximately 11% by comparison.


Sales were positively impacted in the quarter by increased General Motors light truck production and the successful AAM launch of both the heavy-duty Dodge Ram programme and the Hummer H2 driveline system.  Sales to GM were up 4.3% in the third quarter.  Sales to non-GM customers were up 63% in the quarter and represented 18% of total sales in the quarter versus 12% in the third quarter of 2001.


Sales to GM were positively impacted by the launch of the Hummer H2 driveline system and negatively impacted by the axing of the Firebird/Camaro by GM.


Revenues from customers other than GM continue to increase with the successful launch of the new heavy-duty Dodge Ram.


For the nine months ended September 30, 2002, sales were $2.569 billion, representing an increase of $253 million, or 10.9%, from the $2.316 billion generated the first nine months of 2001.


Operating income was $68.7 million, or 8.3% of sales in the quarter, as compared to $54.1 million or 7.3% of sales for the third quarter of 2001.


For the nine months ended September 30, 2002, operating income was $228.2 million or 8.9% of sales, versus $178.4 million, or 7.7% of sales for the same period of 2001.


Earnings for the first nine months of 2002 were $2.39 per share, up 37% as compared to $1.74 per share earned in the first nine months of 2001.


“AAM’s 37% earnings per share growth versus the third quarter of 2001 is largely due to our ability to meet the demands for increased light truck builds at both GM, our largest customer, and DaimlerChrysler ,” said AAM chairman & CEO, Richard Dauch.


Capital spending in the first nine months of 2002 was $157.9 million, $148.9 million less than the $306.8 million spent in the first nine months of 2001.


This planned reduction in capital spending is in line with AAM’s previous guidance to achieve lower, sustainable levels of capital spending.