DETROIT -- American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. has come a long way since a bankrupt General Motors gave the supplier a financial lifeline in 2009. A year later, American Axle is predicting $850 million in new business over the next few years.
American Axle said today that its backlog of new and incremental business for 2011-13 will be more than 20 percent higher than the previous three-year backlog from 2010 to 2012.
The one-time GM unit, which makes driveline and drivetrain systems and other components, reported net income of $80.5 million on revenue of $1.70 billion during the first nine months of the year. Over the same period in 2009, the Detroit parts maker lost $301.7 million on revenue of $1.06 billion.
American Axle said the higher backlog is the result of a diversified portfolio of customers.
At the time of the GM bailout, the automaker accounted for about three-fourths of American Axle's revenue. In a release, the supplier said half of the new backlog comes from companies other than GM. These include orders from Audi AG, Chrysler Group, Daimler AG, Nissan Motor Co., Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and others.
The supplier also said it is expanding more business abroad. More than 60 percent of the $850 million backlog is coming from sources outside North America.
In fact, Swedish automaker Saab Automobile signed a joint venture agreement with American Axle to create a company called e-AAM Driveline Systems AB. The company will engineer, develop and sell electric all-wheel-drive and hybrid driveline systems. The e-AAM systems will be featured in Saab vehicles starting in 2012.
By collaborating, the two companies hope to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Saab vehicles.
Another component of the backlog: Customers that are already ordering American Axle's EcoTrac awd fuel economy optimization system. The company says this system will allow the vehicle to switch from front-wheel drive to awd when the vehicle senses it is necessary. The transition, which would not be noticeable to the driver, would reduce fuel consumption.
American Axle said EcoTrac will be “featured on a major global passenger-car and crossover vehicle program beginning in 2012,” but it is not saying which program that is.
American Axle stock closed today at $10.39 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, down 45 cents or 4.1 percent. The shares have traded between $6.03 and $12.12 over the past year.
American Axle ranks No. 77 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with 2009 sales to automakers totaling $1.52 billion and sales on the continent totaling $1.415 billion.