Answers to the 7 Questions I asked before PMTS

1. Is there a slowdown?
My impression is that business for the builders is generally good and getting better. High gas prices do not seem to be deterring the high level of buying. The Swiss lathe importers—Citizen, Star, and Tsugami, are crazy busy. For equipment like Hydromats and multi-spindles, which are heavily focused on automotive, there is a bit of hesitancy.

2. Can the Japanese companies get inventory?
Not enough. Toyota is hurting along with the others. Hyundai is out to claim 10 points of market share. In machinery, the importers tend to order far ahead. Certain sizes are scarce, like 32 mm machines. Tsugami claims to be unaffected. If it is a 1200 machine year for Swisses here, deliveries will be strung-out in some models.

3. Are high prices because of the weak dollar hurting sales?
Yes. I talked to the Tajariols, Andrea and Michi, who own ZPS. The $1.45 euro is hurting North American sales. The 32 mm 8-spindle Euroturn, the crown prince of the mechanical screw machine line, used to sell for $450,000 in 2003. Today it’s $750,000 with bar loader and attachments. It causes sticker shock.

4. Does anybody go to shows except exhibitors and kids in flat brim hats?
Yes, the locals. PMTS this year was a Midwestern—especially Ohio—crowd. Most people drove from a 250-mile radius. But there are a lot of good buyers left in the Big Ten. The kids in flat brims were there and I regret the pejorative tone to the original question. The kids may look stupid to the old guys but they aren’t dumb. I think the tide is turning about everybody going to college. College is starting to look like a bad economic buy for a lot of kids and parents now, so we may be getting a more serious group of flat brims into the machining community. Unfortunately, virtually no people of color or women showed up.

5. Is the Swiss market headed more toward the fewer-frill machines like the “A” Citizen? Yes. The price differential between an “A” model Citizen and an “L” model is $100k. Because of the weak dollar, an “A” costs what an “L” used to cost, and it is a very capable machine.

6. Will the Big Three dominate the Swiss market without a real challenge by an outlier? Yes. There was not much buzz about the smaller brands. Tornos is now an afterthought here. Index wants medical, ZPS left the Manurhin in France, Hanwha needs to spend more money on marketing. Eurotech has an entry but they are using stealth marketing. Nomura no mas.

7. Are the automotive suppliers starting to buy?
Yes, but hesitantly. Business is good now, but 2010 was the year to repair the finances and 2011 is the year to begin buying. Hydromat, Schutte, Index and the Swisses are starting to see the serious inquiries, so the orders should come. But the earthquake and $4 gas seem to be slowing the actual POs.

Question: Do you think the administration really wanted Osama Bin Laden dead the last 10 years?

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9 thoughts on “Answers to the 7 Questions I asked before PMTS

  1. matt

    What kind of question is that?? I don’t care which way you lean politically, but to infer that anybody would want him “kept” alive, is, in my opinion, absurd. I don’t care for President Obama politically, but when he was presented with the right information, he acted accordingly ( in this case at least ;)……hats off to our military and everybody who had a hand in this….hopefully some American made helicopters, guns, bullets, communication equipment, etc., were used to nail this idiot…..

  2. doc

    Yes, a stupid question. This is not a win for Obama or any politician, let’s not politicize this. This is a big win for all our military and intelligence people who worked so hard since 9/11 to find the bad guys and take them out. President Bush put the systems in place to go after terrorists around the world. The hard work of our people paid off, and Obama got to claim credit. After all the lack of leadership we have seen from Obama, at least he did the right thing when it was time to finish the job Bush started. We should be glad the big Osama rat is dead.

  3. George Mitchell

    I think this is a valid question. Is it easier to sell huge military budgets to a public that has a mad man running loose? We had seen what he was capable of. If he is dead the public looses interest and focus. I believe the government likes to make us believe what they want us to believe. I do not think they are above using a terroist to accomplish this task.
    Me personally, I am glad he is gone. Congratulations to the finest military on the planet. U.S. Special Forces are the best! I truly hope this helps start the process of getting our forces home. I for one am tired of seeing our Blood and Treasure being spent on foreign soil. God Bless the United States of America.

  4. RichardS

    America needs an enemy to be great, always has and always will I suppose. Osama was being hidden by people who said they were also looking for him. Wasn’t true. Once we figured that out we could act decisively. That being said, I’m not naive of politics by either party and yes, the timing of it coinciding so neatly with the start of a re-election campaign is suspicious.

  5. Bob

    NPR reported just last week that Panetta was moving to Sec.Def. to reduce military spending, and when I heard UbL was dead, I immediately thought, “Wow, what a way to kick off the defense budget cutbacks.” Made me wonder who gave him up.

  6. Lloyd Graff

    I thought the question was legitimate though I have no idea whether Bush was playing games. There is little doubt tha Bush and Cheney and Tenet fudged on Weapons of Mass Destruction to justify the Iraq War. Fighting Al Queda is the principle justification for the Afghan War. And this not necessarily my critique of that war which may be justifiable to disrupt the Jihadis. But I think one can reasonably question whether it was politically expedient to keep the symbol of Muslim terrorism alive as a bogeyman while we spents megabillions and thousands of lives on Mideast wars.

  7. John Belzer

    Sorry, Lloyd. But your question and its implication and your follow up comment simply expose your hard Left politics. One might even describe it as the Looney Left. This cohort includes those who hate President Bush more than they hate terrorists, then and still. I do hope that you fall ever so slightly to the right of that.


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