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Edited Transcript of CVGI earnings conference call or presentation 9-Aug-19 12:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 Commercial Vehicle Group Inc Earnings Call

New Albany Aug 15, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Commercial Vehicle Group Inc earnings conference call or presentation Friday, August 9, 2019 at 12:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* C. Timothy Trenary

Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO

* Kirk Feiler

Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - VP of Corporate Development & IR

* Patrick E. Miller

Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Barry George Haimes

Sage Asset Management, LLC - Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q2 2019 Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions)

As a reminder, this conference call may be recorded for replay purposes. It is now my pleasure to hand the conference over to Mr. Kirk Feiler, Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

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Kirk Feiler, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - VP of Corporate Development & IR [2]

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Thank you, Brian, and welcome to our conference call. Joining me on the call today are Patrick Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Vehicle Group; and Tim Trenary, Chief Financial Officer. They will provide a brief company update as well as commentary regarding our second quarter 2019 financial results. We will then open the call up for questions.

This conference call is being webcast, and a supplemental earnings presentation is available on our website. It may contain forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, expectations for future periods regarding market trends, cost-saving initiatives and new product initiatives among others. Actual results may differ from anticipated results because of certain risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties may include, but are not limited to, economic conditions in the markets in which CVG operates, fluctuations in production volumes of vehicles for which CVG is a supplier, financial covenant compliance and liquidity, risks associated with conducting business in foreign countries and currencies and other risks as detailed in our SEC filings.

And now Pat Miller with a brief company update.

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, Kirk. Good morning, everyone. Ongoing momentum in the North American heavy- and medium-duty truck markets drove year-over-year sales growth of 4% in the second quarter. The North America truck market continues to generate strong builds based on the backlog. Additionally, we are continuing to make strategic investments in the business, including our manufacturing capacity expansion in Electrical Systems as well as corporate development activities associated with the recent strategic reorganization of the business.

These investments coupled with cost challenges resulted in a decrease in operating income as compared to the second quarter of 2018. Some of the challenges are short term. For the more systemic issues, we've identified and implemented a number of cost control and recovery actions to potentially mitigate the impact going forward. Tim will provide the additional detail in his prepared remarks.

Turning to our segments. Revenue for the Electrical Systems segment was up $7.4 million or 5.5% versus the second quarter of 2018, due primarily to continued strength in the North American heavy- and medium-duty truck markets. However, operating income declined $2.1 million year-over-year, due primarily to the capacity investments and previously mentioned headwinds.

The cost challenges we experienced in the second quarter predominantly impacted the Electrical Systems segment. We have maintained our focus on positioning this segment for long-term growth. Our capacity expansion in our global wire harness business and North American trim business allows us to more efficiently meet increasing demand levels and diversify into new end markets and applications.

While these initial costs, including facilitation, training and other expenses, negatively impacted our operating income for the quarter, we expect these costs to moderate in the second half of the year.

We have 3 new expansions underway, including wire harness capacity in Mexico, wire harness capacity in Ukraine and a new dedicated facility for large trim molding, also in Mexico.

These investments for the most part are targeted to allow sharing of overhead cost structures in existing operations, while providing more efficient production and growth capacity for new and existing customers.

We currently have a level of production already underway in various stages at all 3 sites, and we'll be ramping up into mid-2020. The Mexico harness capacity also provides a hedge against some of the labor issues we experienced in recent years, as it is located in a different state than our other harness plants in Mexico.

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded the design and production of the total cab body structure solution for Autocar's new DC-64R, a new truck being introduced in the North American market, targeted for severe duty refuse applications. This project engaged multiple engineering teams across CVG to provide full cab design for the structure and other components.

Production is expected to begin late in 2019, with full ramp-up by mid-2020. In other new market share awards for the Electrical Segment, we've been awarded projects on 2 new North American truck platforms. The first project launches in 2020 and includes trim, seating, wipers and body structures.

The second project is trim-related and launches in 2023. Additional component opportunities are still in development on this second platform. Taken together, these 2 new projects totaled approximately $32 million per year in increased revenues for CVG. We plan to share more specific details as the projects mature.

Turning to the Global Seating segment. Revenue was up $3.1 million or 3%, and operating income was up 6% compared to the prior year. Strength in the North American heavy- and medium-duty truck market drove higher revenues, but was partially offset by softening in the Asia Pacific construction equipment markets.

In addition, we had other important new customer and product wins in the Global Seating segment during the quarter.

First CVG was awarded the seat business for a major truck OEM's next-generation truck business, launching in 2023. At full volume, this business represents approximately $30 million of revenue annually. This was predominantly replacement volume for existing business and solidifies our core business out into the future. The award also represents the opportunity to bring our new common seat architecture to the North American truck market.

This architecture derives from efforts to standardize technology globally across the new seating organization and is evidence of our enhanced strategy. Additionally, CVG India was awarded multiple projects, with 2 domestic OEMs for bus and truck applications. These seating programs begin ramping in 2019 and reach mature volumes in 2022. These wins demonstrate continued traction in the APAC region and growing partnerships with domestic market leaders.

Overall, our growth actions and product investments in Asia Pacific are paying off as demand for competitively priced higher performance seats is increasing. We believe we remain well positioned to capture continued growth in this region, in spite of some market uncertainties.

Turning to our industry and market discussion. Class 8 truck production was up 17% in Q2 2019 versus Q2 2018. Total builds for the quarter were 92,000 units. The June ACT Research report continues to estimate the 2019 Class 8 production rate at approximately 342,000 units, an increase of 5% over the 2018 build rate. Class 8 order backlog decreased in July to just under 200,000 units. The backlog remains approximately 6 months, still in the healthy range, but the retail order rate has been lower, signaling a potential return to more replacement levels over the next 6 to 18 months.

We are being diligent to keep the potential market cycles in our forward planning efforts. The full year 2019 Class 5-7 production rate is expected to total 286,000 units, substantially flat versus full year 2018 builds. The medium-duty rate is projected to remain at these stable levels for the near term, benefiting from the macro trends with medium-duty freight growing, but at a moderate pace.

Overall, the global construction in off-road markets remain mixed. North America continues with robust builds. However, we are seeing softening in Asia Pacific, which mostly impacts our Global Seating segment.

Lastly, Europe construction has moderated with the economic and trade uncertainties seeming to have an effect. Based on current visibility, we've upgraded our 2019 Class 8 production outlook slightly to be in the range of 345,000 to 355,000 units. We expect 2019 full year revenues to be slightly above 2018.

Looking ahead, our strategy is to position CVG as a more focused and increasingly valued supplier in growing markets with differentiated offerings, which we expect will accelerate long-term profitable growth.

As we've discussed, secular growth themes point to the proliferation of electrical components, electronics, connectivity and power in both current and adjacent markets. With this in mind, we are investing both organically and through M&A in our core capabilities and our next-generation products to improve our ability to compete and target margins.

We believe these investments will not only diversify our customers and geographic footprint, but also drive more consistent performance through the cycle. From an inorganic perspective, these investments could take the form of acquisitions or joint ventures, but would focus on applying our current capabilities into faster-growing adjacent segments or new regions, mainly with our electrical and trim products.

Additionally, we are looking to extend our electrical product offerings to align better with the megatrends in our industry by increasing our participation related to electronic components and controls in and around the vehicle architecture.

We are being thoughtful and disciplined in our pursuit of any external investments to ensure we are allocating capital to the highest return opportunities for the business.

Despite some of the headwinds we faced during the quarter, we are committed to effectively managing the business and profitability, while we better position the business to deliver long-term performance for CVG. We look forward to updating you as we execute on our strategic initiatives.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Tim, who is going to go through the financials in more detail.

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C. Timothy Trenary, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Pat, and good morning. Second quarter 2019 consolidated revenues were $243.2 million compared to $233.4 million in the prior year period, an increase of 4%.

As Pat mentioned, this increase reflects the continued strength in the medium- and heavy-duty truck markets we serve in North America. Foreign currency translation adversely impacted second quarter consolidated revenues by $3.5 million. Consolidated operating income for the second quarter of 2019 was $17.2 million or 7.1% of sales compared to $20.9 million or 8.9% of sales in the prior year period.

The new Border Minimum Wage in Mexico, costs associated with a troubled supplier and costs associated with establishing additional manufacturing capacity are largely responsible for a decrease in operating income and more specifically, the operating performance of the Electrical Segment. More on this in a moment.

Cost control and cost recovery actions reduced the impact of these cost pressures on gross profit. Costs associated with the strategic reorganization of the company to, among other things, develop a platform from which to pursue business and corporate development activities amounted to approximately $1 million in the quarter. We fully expect this investment of corporate resources to pay dividends in the future.

Interest and other expense increased $4.3 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the second quarter of 2018. The increase reflects the impact of marking-to-market interest rate swap agreements, which resulted in a $1.1 million noncash charge in the 3 months ended June 30, 2019, as compared to a $0.5 million gain in the prior year period.

In addition, the second quarter results include a $2.5 million noncash charge associated with a voluntary lump sum settlement of $7.8 million in pension liabilities for a portion of our term vested participants, thereby reducing the future financial risk of our pension plan.

Following the transaction, U.S. pension plan is essentially fully funded, and we have transitioned the asset allocation for the plan to more closely match our liabilities.

Consolidated net income in the second quarter of 2019 was $7.2 million or $0.23 per diluted share compared to net income of $13.2 million or $0.43 per diluted share in the prior year period.

Turning to our segment results. For the second quarter 2019, Electrical Systems revenues were $141.9 million compared to $134.6 million in the prior year period. That's an increase of 5.5%. Foreign currency translation negatively impacted Electrical Systems revenue by $1.1 million in the second quarter.

The Electrical Systems segment generated $15.3 million of operating income in the second quarter of 2019 or 10.8% of sales compared to $17.4 million or 12.9% of sales in the prior year period. More than all or $2.9 million of the $2.1 million decrease in operating income is attributable to 3 items. You may recall, in December 2018, that the Mexican government legislated an increase in the minimum wage in an area running along and just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Border Minimum Wage. Our wire harness facility in Agua Prieta is subject to the Border Minimum Wage. A number of actions, including price adjustments on certain products, are underway to reduce the impact of the law.

The net impact to the second quarter results was approximately $0.7 million. The net impact of the Border Minimum Wage on the year is likely to approximate $2 million to $3 million. A supplier of fabricated metal components sought relief pursue with the Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code during the second quarter. This supplier is adversely impacting costs, including the cost of purchase components and is contributing to manufacturing inefficiencies in one of our facilities. The impact on the second quarter approximated $1.2 million. We expect the impact of this troubled supplier on our financial results to moderate in the back half of the year. We are making investments in additional manufacturing capacity for our global wire harness in North American truck businesses.

Costs associated with the installation of this capacity were approximately $1 million in the second quarter. These costs are expected to yield benefits to the company over time. The North American trim business is expected to benefit from cost savings and some material in-sourcing and certain manufacturing efficiencies. We expect both businesses to benefit from incremental sales associated with this manufacturing capacity.

Moving on to the Global Seating segment. Revenues were $105.3 million compared to $102.2 million in the prior year period, an increase of 3%. Foreign currency translation negatively impacted Global Seating revenue by $2.4 million in the second quarter. Global Seating segment operating income increased during the second quarter of 2019 to $9.4 million or 8.9% of sales compared to $8.8 million or 8.6% of sales in the prior year period. The increase in operating income is primarily attributable to the increase in sales volume, partially offset by material and labor inflationary pressures.

As regard to the company's tax provision, the third quarter will benefit from an amendment of certain federal tax returns to reflect foreign tax credits. The tax rate is expected to be in the range of 10% to 15% in the third quarter.

For the full year 2019, we model the company's effective tax rate to be in the range of 19% to 23%. That's comparable to the 20% to 25% we expect in a normal course.

For the 6 months ended June 30, 2019, capital expenditures totaled $12.7 million, higher than recent historical spend primarily because of capital spending for the additional manufacturing capacity.

We expect capital expenditures to be in the range of $19 million to $21 million for the year. At June 30, 2019, liquidity was $123.9 million, $60.5 million of cash and $63.4 million of availability from our asset-based revolver. There were no borrowings under the asset-based revolver at June 30, 2019.

That concludes our prepared remarks. I will now turn it over to Brian for Q&A. Brian?

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) And our first question will come from the line of [Mike Shlisky] with Dougherty & Company.

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Unidentified Analyst, [2]

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Can we just maybe quickly touch first on some housekeeping, I didn't really see it broken out in the release. Could you maybe detail for us what would the earnings have been without sort of that onetime mark-to-market and without the pension?

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C. Timothy Trenary, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [3]

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Well, it was a total of almost $6 million pre-tax. Mike, I haven't tax affected that. So I don't have that number. Where do we calculate -- I see Kirk here has got his calculator out, so we will calculate that for you.

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Unidentified Analyst, [4]

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Great. Just perhaps as you are doing that, just speaking in very broad numbers here, if you take those 2 and add in sort of some of the onetime costs around kind of ramping up a bizdev unit at the company, you would have had probably twice the operating income -- the earnings, has you not had those onetime items. That's what it sounds like you're headed towards, correct?

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C. Timothy Trenary, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [5]

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Well, the -- to be clear, the investment we're making in business and corporate development isn't onetime. It's on a run rate basis annually about a $2.5 million to $3 million investment in our future. So that was a little higher. It was $1 million in the second quarter. There were 1 or 2 sort of one-offs associated with the reorganization of the company that affected it in the second quarter. But on a run rate basis, it's on the order of $2.5 million to $3 million. We think it's money very well spent.

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Unidentified Analyst, [6]

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Sure. Of course, got it.

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [7]

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And Mike, coming back to you, if you assume adjustment of $6 million in the other income expense, tax effected at roughly 25%, the EPS would have been about $0.38.

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Unidentified Analyst, [8]

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Okay. Got it. All right. So guys, I also want to ask about some of these brand-new platforms you've been specked into here. Great work on obviously all of them. And it sounds like if you add up what you've kind of quantify, that's at least going to be a 10% to 15% tailwind from the current annualized run rate today, maybe in that ballpark. Can you tell me if other platforms are going to be kind of ramping down during this period or are you kind of being, given here brand-new platforms, Autocar, the one in 2023, et cetera?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [9]

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Yes. So -- sorry, we can't do specific names on all of them. You know how our business works. In general, there was -- of the announced new business, there was really only one that was a replacement business. And that's the one I mentioned as replacement in the seating group, the $30 million. So that's the current platform that will swap out for a new platform in 2023. All the rest of them are incremental to our current book.

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Unidentified Analyst, [10]

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Okay. And just on that same topic of brand new business, can you apprise us on your efforts in adjacent markets, like in power gen or the appliance market, trailers, et cetera?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [11]

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Well, I think we've continued to grow in what we consider to be power gen, that's both. We lump industrial and vehicle power generation in. So that tends to be engines and harnesses. So we're not prepared to announce anything new today, but we definitely have some things in the pipeline that we hope we'll be able to announce in the near-term in that regard. We are ramping -- to mention one other thing, we are ramping one power generation related item. Part of the expansion in the Ukraine is related to some new booked business along that regard. So I don't have the exact numbers off the top of my head. But part of the justification for that expansion was new booked business in regards to power generation and also some off-highway business that we've booked with some existing customers in Europe.

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Unidentified Analyst, [12]

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Okay. Got it. Just touching on Mexico briefly, there was a time way back when everyone said, if you're not working in Mexico, you're missing out. Now it seems like some of the costs have equalized between the 2 countries in certain parts of Mexico. Can you give us a sense, are you changing any of your production outside of Mexico? In other words, you're going -- is your plan to kind of move any other work from Mexico into the United States or other countries? Or is it all going from one state to a different state within Mexico?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [13]

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Well, the 2 out of the 3 announcements we've made today on capacity expansion are in Mexico, one of them the interior trim. We have a campus with now 5 facilities. And so we're able to add that capacity and still utilize mostly the same overhead management structure to manage that business. So it's advantageous to us to be in that same region.

The second expansion is not only capacity, but also to mitigate some of the risk. As you're well aware, in 2017, there were some issues with a lack of availability of labor in the area where most of our wire harness manufacturing is, and so this helps us mitigate that risk.

You asked about are we looking outside of there? It is something that we're constantly evaluating, whether we can be cost competitive with our customer base, but it's not equivalent to the U.S. So it's still probably a 30% landed cost comparison improvement over being in the U.S., at least for the labor-intensive activities. And so most of our products are large and complex, and so we tend to freight matters. And so if that disadvantage were to be offset by freight, then we would look to do what you suggest. But right now, it doesn't.

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Unidentified Analyst, [14]

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Okay. And just trying to combine a few different comments you made on your prepared remarks. On the one hand you said, there's a good chance that the U.S. truck market might turn back to more normalized levels next year, which I think is a widely held viewed by ACT and others, but then you're also expanding capacity in certain parts of the world and in parts of North America. Can you give us a sense as to like what you're doing about product capacity offset or to think on are you doing anything...

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [15]

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I apologize. Could you repeat that? Could you repeat that?

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Unidentified Analyst, [16]

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Yes. I'm having a hard time hearing you guys, too. Hold on 1 second. Hold on. Sorry, guys. This will be better?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [17]

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Yes. Thank you.

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Unidentified Analyst, [18]

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Okay. Just wanted to try to gather together some comments you made earlier. You said that some of the big forecasters are saying that we could see a return to a more normalized truck market in 2020, which is something, I think, is pretty widely held view at this point, yet you're also bringing on new facilities in Mexico. Can you just give us a little bit sense as to how you're going to be trying to manage your cost overhead during that time we might see a pretty big decline in the market when you're trying to expand or change your current footprint? So a little bit color around how you're going to manage your cost during that time?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [19]

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It's a good question. So I think with the order levels that we're seeing, we certainly are preparing and planning for a potential reduction in some of the truck volumes. The capacity that we put in, in Mexico for the interior trim, first of all, part of that business is business we already have or business we've had outsourced and we're in-sourcing into a purpose-built facility and moving some existing assets in addition to new assets.

So part of that capacity is already spoken for, if you will. The other part of the capacity is targeted at non-truck applications. And so it gives us the opportunity to compete in those segments.

Thirdly, I think I would add this, the way that the truck OEMs tend to manage their capacity is when there is some downturn in the market, they don't take all their operations in North America down equally. So the Mexico operations tend to stay at a much more full -- fully capacitized production levels in comparison to the U.S. operations. So we believe that capacity down there makes a lot of sense for us, not only for the existing business that we're moving into there, but also the future business, which we think helps us have a little bit more of a diverse customer mix.

On the other hand, the other capacity we're adding is tied to nontruck. So most of our -- with the exception of some of the engine harness business, most of the harness business is in off-highway and other segments. So that's really what it's targeted at.

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Unidentified Analyst, [20]

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Got it. So it's better to say that if we see a big Class 8 reduction next year, that gives you some extra breathing room to kind of build the business elsewhere or at least there is a planned business, awarded business that's in line with this new capacity already. Is that fairly assessed?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [21]

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Yes. It depends on which installation you're talking about, that's correct.

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Operator [22]

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And our next question will come from the line of Barry Haimes with Sage Asset Management.

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Barry George Haimes, Sage Asset Management, LLC - Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager [23]

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I had a couple of questions, too. First, just following up on a couple on Mike's and the comment you just made about the Mexico facility generally holding up better in a down Class 8 volume environment. Is there any order of magnitude you could share, so if Class 8 build is down x, would you expect that the Mexican volumes to be down 1/2 of x, 2/3 of x? So any sort of order of magnitude there? And then what sort of decremental margins should we expect on that reduced Class 8 business? That's the first question.

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [24]

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Okay. I'll take the first part, and then I'll let Tim talk to the decremental piece. I can't give you an exact number. What I will just tell you is going from previous historical experience, the Mexico OEM operations tended to stay pretty consistently full. They -- today, they're running at peak volumes. I would imagine they will take them down a few percentage points to try to get out of overtime and some of the extraneous costs. This is speculation on my part, okay. But when we look at what they've done in the past, they have different cost profiles in their different operations. And they've made efforts in the last 3 years to dual tool almost all of their platforms in those facilities located south of the border. And so they have a lot of flexibility, and I would imagine that their plans will be to leave those operations running relatively full. And they'll take -- they'll adjust the other operations to align with those sales orders drops, if there are some.

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C. Timothy Trenary, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [25]

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Barry, it's Tim. With respect to your question on the variable contribution margin, the company has a variable contribution margin that suggests that we convert sales, absent extraneous factors, at between 20% to 25%. Historically, again, add some extraneous factors, the company has experience of doing that, if you look back, you would see that, in 2016, we actually converted in a down-market much better than that range, it was in the single or low double digits, but that's because of some extra fixed costs that we were taking out.

Having said that, looking forward, just to be very direct about your question, I look for a conversion of 20% to 25%, probably early on into decline, but the conversion will be at the upper end of that range just because it takes a little bit of time to get out some of the costs. But as we move through any decline in the top line, I would expect that conversion to start to move down towards 20%.

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Barry George Haimes, Sage Asset Management, LLC - Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager [26]

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Great. That's very helpful. And then one other question I had for you guys was, it sounded like the North American construction market still feels pretty good to you. But I'm wondering if you could talk about any change in incoming order rates as you move through the quarter and maybe through July? There have been a couple of other companies that have reported that are kind of pointing to weakening CE market. So just curious what you're seeing in North America?

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Patrick E. Miller, Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [27]

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Specific to North America, it's sometimes a little bit difficult for us to tell whether it's coming directly from construction, whether it's coming from mining, which has been up as well and some of these other off-highway. So we kind of lump them together because we can't always separate them from where our customers are landing their equipment.

So -- but for us, North America has remained relatively strong. And the only softness we've seen had been in -- predominantly in Japan and Korea on the off-highway side. Europe is a little bit soft, but not the same as what we've seen in APAC. So that's about the best color I can offer you right now.

Okay. Well, it appears we're done with the questions. Thank you very much for joining the call today. This is Pat Miller. And we appreciate your support, as we work to drive a better future for our company, and we look forward to talking to you in the near term. Take care.