American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. reported record sales and earnings in the first quarter, thanks to healthy General Motors truck sales and content on the Dodge Ram pickup.
Detroit-based American Axle reported net income of $54 million or $1.02 a share on sales of $975.3 million for the quarter that ended March 31. That compares with net income of $38.8 million or 75 cents on sales of $859.2 million in the first quarter last year.
The earnings per share beat analysts' expectations by 2 cents. Most of American Axle's products are on trucks and sport-utility vehicles, which sell at higher rates than passenger cars.
Chairman and CEO Richard Dauch said American Axle is bidding on $1 billion worth of contracts, 70 percent of which are for companies other than General Motors. The company has booked net new business of $425 million through 2006.
Dauch also said he expects American Axle's credit rating to hit investment grade this year. It's one grade away from that now.
The company said it's keeping its estimate of $200 million to $250 million in net income, or about $3.65 a share, for 2003.
American Axle is 10th on the Automotive News ranking of top suppliers to North American automakers in 2002 with $3.34 billion in sales.