Financials (10-K): Part I – Item 1A. Risk Factors

Item 1A. Risk Factors

The recent global economic crisis severely and negatively affected the automotive industry and our business, financial position and liquidity and future deterioration or prolonged difficulty in economic conditions could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial position and liquidity.

The economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 arising out of the subprime mortgage market collapse and the resulting worldwide financial industry turmoil resulted in a severe and global tightening of credit and a liquidity crisis. As a result, nearly every major economy in the world faced a widespread reduction of business activity, seized-up credit markets and rising unemployment. These conditions led to a low consumer confidence, which resulted in delayed and reduced purchases of durable consumer goods such as automobiles. As a result, our OEM customers significantly reduced their production schedules. Light vehicle production during 2009 decreased by 32 percent in North America and 20 percent in Europe as compared to 2008. These unprecedented conditions had a severe and negative impact on our business and financial position and vehicle production remains at its lowest level in decades. Although we believe that 2010 production in North America and Europe will increase over 2009, we cannot assure you of this. Accordingly, we remain cautious.

We face several risks relating to difficult economic conditions, including the following:

Disruptions in the financial markets may adversely impact the availability and cost of credit which could materially and negatively affect our company.  The recent global financial crisis materially and negatively impacted our business and our customers’ businesses in the U.S. and globally. Longer term disruptions in the capital and credit markets could further adversely affect our customers’ and our ability to access the liquidity that is necessary to fund operations on terms that are acceptable to us or at all. The recent global economic crisis also negatively impacted consumer spending patterns in the automotive industry. During periods of economic difficulty, purchases of our customers’ products may be limited by their customers’ inability to obtain adequate financing for such purchases. In addition, as our customers and suppliers respond to rapidly changing consumer preferences, they may require access to additional capital. If that capital is not available or its cost is prohibitively high, their businesses would be negatively impacted which could result in further restructuring or even reorganization under bankruptcy laws. Any such negative impact, in turn, could materially and negatively affect our company either through loss of sales to any of our customers so affected or through inability to meet our commitments (or inability to meet them without excess expense) because of loss of supplies from any of our suppliers so affected.

Financial or other difficulties facing other automotive companies may have a material and adverse impact on us.  Over the last several years, a number of companies in the automotive industry have been facing severe financial difficulties. GM, Ford and Chrysler undertook significant restructuring actions in an effort to improve profitability and remain solvent. The North American automotive manufacturers were burdened with substantial structural and embedded costs, such as facility overhead as well as pension and healthcare costs, that led GM and Chrysler to reorganize under bankruptcy protection in 2009. Automakers in other markets in the world also have been experiencing difficulties from a weakened economy, tightening credit markets and reduced demand for their products. The automotive supply base in turn has also been faced with severe cash flow problems as a result of the significantly lower production levels of light vehicles, increases in certain costs and restricted access to additional liquidity through the credit markets. Several suppliers have filed for bankruptcy protection or ceased operations.

Severe financial or other difficulties, including bankruptcy, of any automotive manufacturer or significant automotive supplier could have a significant disruptive effect on the entire automotive industry, leading to supply chain disruptions and labor unrest, among other things. For example, if a parts supplier were to cease operations, it could force the automotive manufacturers to whom the supplier provides parts to shut down their operations. This, in turn, could force other suppliers, including us, to shut down production at plants that are producing products for these automotive manufacturers. Severe financial or other difficulties at any of our major suppliers could have a material adverse effect on us if we are unable to obtain on a timely basis on similar economic terms the quantity and quality of components we require to produce our products. While the difficulties facing our customers and suppliers over the last two years have been primarily financial in nature, other difficulties, such as an inability to meet increased demand as the economy recovers, could also result in supply chain and other disruptions.

Financial or other difficulties at any of our major customers could have a material adverse impact on us if such customer were unable to pay for the products we provide or we experience a loss of, or material reduction in, business from such customer. In connection with the 2009 bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, we collected substantially all of our pre-petition receivables and the reorganized GM and Chrysler assumed substantially all of the pre-petition contracts we had with them. However, further financial difficulties at any of our major customers (including Chrysler or GM, as reorganized) could have a material adverse impact on us, including as a result of lost revenues, significant write offs of accounts receivable, significant impairment charges or additional restructurings beyond our current global plans. In addition, a bankruptcy filing by one of our other large customers could result in a default under our U.S. securitization agreement. Our inability to collect receivables in a timely manner or to sell receivables under our U.S. securitization program may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity.

Our failure to comply with the covenants contained in our senior credit facility or the indentures for our other debt instruments, including as a result of events beyond our control, could result in an event of default, which could materially and adversely affect our operating results and our financial condition.  Our senior credit facility and receivables securitization program in the U.S. require us to maintain certain financial ratios. Our senior credit facility and our other debt instruments require us to comply with various operational and other covenants. If there were an event of default under any of our debt instruments that was not cured or waived, the holders of the defaulted debt could cause all amounts outstanding with respect to that debt to be due and payable immediately. We cannot assure you that our assets or cash flow would be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments, either upon maturity or if accelerated, upon an event of default, or that we would be able to refinance or restructure the payments on those debt instruments.

For example, in February 2009, we sought an amendment to our senior credit facility to revise the financial ratios we are required to maintain thereunder. The revised financial ratios were based on a set of projections that we shared with our lenders. If, in the future, we are required to obtain similar amendments as a result of our inability to meet the financial ratios in those projections, there can be no assurance that those amendments will be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If, as or when required, we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our indebtedness under our senior credit facility, or amend the covenants contained therein, the lenders under our senior credit facility could elect to terminate their commitments thereunder, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets. Under such circumstances, we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. In addition, any event of default or declaration of acceleration under one of our debt instruments could also result in an event of default under one or more of our other financing agreements, including our other debt instruments and/or the agreements under which we sell certain of our accounts receivable. This would have a material adverse impact on our liquidity, financial position and results of operations.

Our working capital requirements may negatively affect our liquidity and capital resources.  Our working capital requirements can vary significantly, depending in part on the level, variability and timing of our customers’ worldwide vehicle production and the payment terms with our customers and suppliers. Our liquidity could also be adversely impacted if our suppliers were to suspend normal trade credit terms and require payment in advance or payment on delivery of purchases. If our working capital needs exceed our cash flows from operations, we would look to our cash balances and availability for borrowings under our borrowing arrangements to satisfy those needs, as well as potential sources of additional capital, which may not be available on satisfactory terms and in adequate amounts, if at all.

Any further continuation of the global economic downturn or other factors that reduce consumer demand for our products or reduce prices could materially and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.  Demand for and pricing of our products are subject to economic conditions and other factors present in the various domestic and international markets where the products are sold. Demand for our OE products is subject to the level of consumer demand for new vehicles that are equipped with our parts. The level of new light vehicle purchases is cyclical, affected by such factors as general economic conditions, interest rates, consumer confidence, patterns of consumer spending, fuel cost and the automobile replacement cycle. Consumer preferences also impact the level of new light vehicle purchases. For example, if increasing consumer awareness of climate change issues causes consumers to increasingly prefer electric vehicles, demand for the vehicles equipped with our products would decrease.

As described above, the recent unprecedented deterioration in the global economy, global credit markets and the financial services industry has negatively impacted our operations, including by leading to a rapid decline in light vehicle purchases. In 2009, North American light vehicle production decreased 32 percent from 2008. During 2009, European production declined 20 percent as compared to 2008. In addition, significant increases in gasoline prices in the United States, starting in the first half of 2008, accelerated the shift in the North American market away from light trucks, which tend to be higher margin products for OEMs and suppliers, to more fuel-efficient passenger cars. During 2009, SUV and pick-up truck business accounted for 55 percent of our North American OE revenues, relatively unchanged from 54 percent in 2008. A further decline in automotive sales and production would likely cause a decline in our sales to vehicle manufacturers, and would likely result in a decline in our results of operations and financial condition.

Demand for our aftermarket, or replacement, products varies based upon such factors as general economic conditions, the level of new vehicle purchases, which initially displaces demand for aftermarket products, the severity of winter weather, which increases the demand for certain aftermarket products, and other factors, including the average useful life of parts and number of miles driven.

The highly cyclical nature of the automotive industry presents a risk that is outside our control and that cannot be accurately predicted. For example, we cannot assure you that difficult economic conditions will not continue into 2010 or that we would be able to maintain or improve our results of operations in a stagnant or extended recessionary economic environment. Further decreases in demand for automobiles and automotive products generally, or in the demand for our products in particular, could materially and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

Our level of debt makes us more sensitive to the effects of economic dowturns; our level of debt and provisions in our debt agreements could limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry. Our level of debt makes us more vulnerable to changes in our results of operations because a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations is dedicated to servicing our debt and is not available for other purposes. Our level of debt could have other negative consequences to us, including the following:

  • limiting our ability to borrow money or sell stock for our working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements or other general corporate purposes;
  • limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our operations, our business or the industry in which we compete;
  • our leverage may place us at a competitive disadvantage by limiting our ability to invest in the business or in further research and development;
  • making us more vulnerable to downturns in our business or the economy; and
  • there would be a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition if we were unable to service our indebtedness or obtain additional financing, as needed.

Our ability to make payments on our indebtedness depends on our ability to generate cash in the future. If we do not generate sufficient cash flow to meet our debt service and working capital requirements, we may need to seek additional financing or sell assets. This may make it more difficult for us to obtain financing on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. Without any such financing, we could be forced to sell assets to make up for any shortfall in our payment obligations under unfavorable circumstances. During periods of economic difficulty, conditions for asset sales may be very difficult due to tight credit conditions and other factors. In addition, our debt agreements contain covenants which limit our ability to sell assets and also restrict the use of proceeds from any asset sale. Moreover, our senior credit facility is secured on a first priority basis by, among other things, substantially all of our and our subsidiary guarantors’ tangible and intangible domestic assets. If necessary, we may not be able to sell assets quickly enough or for sufficient amounts to enable us to meet our obligations.

In addition, our senior credit facility and our other debt agreements contain other restrictive covenants that limit our flexibility in planning for or reacting to changes in our business and our industry, including limitations on incurring additional indebtedness, making investments, granting liens and merging or consolidating with other companies. Our senior credit facility also requires us to maintain certain financial ratios. Complying with these restrictive covenants and financial ratios may impair our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or to engage in other favorable business activities.

We are dependent on large customers for future revenue. The loss of any of these customers or the loss of market share by these customers could have a material adverse impact on us.

We depend on major vehicle manufacturers for a substantial portion of our net sales. For example, during fiscal year ended December 31, 2009, GM and Ford accounted for 16 percent and 14 percent of our net sales, respectively. The loss of all or a substantial portion of our sales to any of our large-volume customers could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations by reducing cash flows and our ability to spread costs over a larger revenue base. We may make fewer sales to these customers for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: (1) loss of awarded business; (2) reduced or delayed customer requirements; (3) strikes or other work stoppages affecting production by the customers; or (4) reduced demand for our customers’ products. See the risk factor “Financial difficulties facing other automotive companies may have a material and adverse impact on us”.

During the past several years, GM and Ford have lost market share particularly in the United States, primarily to Asian competitors. While we are actively targeting Japanese, Chinese and Korean automakers, any further market share loss by these North American-based and European-based automakers could, if we are unable to achieve increased sales to the Asian OE manufacturers, have a material adverse effect on our business.

We may be unable to realize sales represented by our awarded business, which could materially and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

The realization of future sales from awarded business is inherently subject to a number of important risks and uncertainties, including the number of vehicles that our OE customers will actually produce, the timing of that production and the mix of options that our OE customers and consumers may choose. Prior to 2008, substantially all of our North American vehicle manufacturing customers had slowed or maintained at relatively flat levels new vehicle production for several years. More recently, new vehicle production has decreased dramatically as a result of the recent global economic crisis. In addition, our customers generally have the right to replace us with another supplier at any time for a variety of reasons and have demanded price decreases over the life of awarded business. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will in fact realize any or all of the future sales represented by our awarded business. Any failure to realize these sales could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity.

In many cases, we must commit substantial resources in preparation for production under awarded OE business well in advance of the customer’s production start date. In certain instances, the terms of our OE customer arrangements permit us to recover these pre-production costs if the customer cancels the business through no fault of our company. Although we have been successful in recovering these costs under appropriate circumstances in the past, we can give no assurance that our results of operations will not be materially impacted in the future if we are unable to recover these types of pre-production costs related to OE cancellation of awarded business.

The hourly workforce in the automotive industry is highly unionized and our business could be adversely affected by labor disruptions.

Although we consider our current relations with our employees to be satisfactory, if major work disruptions were to occur, our business could be adversely affected by, for instance, a loss of revenues, increased costs or reduced profitability. We have not experienced a material labor disruption in our workforce in the last ten years, but there can be no assurance that we will not experience a material labor disruption at one of our facilities in the future in the course of renegotiation of our labor arrangements or otherwise. In addition, substantially all of the hourly employees of North American vehicle manufacturers and many of their other suppliers are represented by the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America under collective bargaining agreements. Vehicle manufacturers and such suppliers and their employees in other countries are also subject to labor agreements. A work stoppage or strike at our production facilities, at those of a significant customer, or at a significant supplier of ours or any of our customers, such as the 2008 strike at American Axle which resulted in 30 GM facilities in North America being idled for several months, could have an adverse impact on us by disrupting demand for our products and/or our ability to manufacture our products.

In the past, we have experienced significant increases in raw materials pricing; and future changes in the prices of raw materials or utilities could have a material adverse impact on us.

Significant increases in the cost of certain raw materials used in our products or the cost of utilities required to produce our products, to the extent they are not timely reflected in the price we charge our customers or are otherwise mitigated, could materially and adversely impact our results. For example, from 2004 through 2008, we experienced significant increases in processed metal and steel prices. We addressed these increases by evaluating alternative materials and processes, reviewing material substitution opportunities, increasing component and assembly outsourcing to low cost countries and aggressively negotiating with our customers to allow us to recover these higher costs from them. In addition to these actions, we continue to pursue productivity initiatives and review opportunities to reduce costs through restructuring activities. We cannot assure you that we will not face increased prices in the future or, if we do, whether these actions will be effective in containing margin pressures from any further raw material or utility price increases.

We may be unable to realize our business strategy of improving operating performance, growing our business and generating savings and improvements.

We regularly implement strategic and other initiatives designed to improve our operating performance and grow our business. The failure to achieve the goals of these initiatives could have a material adverse effect on our business, particularly since we rely on these initiatives to offset pricing pressures from our suppliers and our customers, as described above, as well as to manage the impacts of production cuts such as the significant production decreases we are experiencing as a result of the recent global economic crisis. Furthermore, the terms of our senior credit facility may restrict the types of initiatives we undertake, as these agreements restrict our uses of cash, certain of these agreements require us to maintain financial ratios and otherwise prohibit us from undertaking certain activities. In the past we have been successful in obtaining the consent of our senior lenders where appropriate in connection with our initiatives. We cannot assure you, however, that we will be able to pursue, successfully implement or realize the expected benefits of any initiative or that we will be able to sustain improvements made to date.

In addition, we believe that increasingly stringent environmental standards for emissions have presented and will continue to present an important opportunity for us to grow our emissions control business. We cannot assure you, however, that environmental standards for emissions will continue to become more stringent or that the adoption of any new standards will not be delayed beyond our expectations.

We may incur material costs related to product warranties, environmental and regulatory matters and other claims, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

From time to time, we receive product warranty claims from our customers, pursuant to which we may be required to bear costs of repair or replacement of certain of our products. Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly requiring their outside suppliers to guarantee or warrant their products and to be responsible for the operation of these component products in new vehicles sold to consumers. Warranty claims may range from individual customer claims to full recalls of all products in the field. We cannot assure you that costs associated with providing product warranties will not be material, or that those costs will not exceed any amounts reserved in our consolidated financial statements. For a description of our accounting policies regarding warranty reserves, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies” included in Item 7.

We are subject to extensive government regulations worldwide. Foreign, Federal, state and local laws and regulations may change from time to time and our compliance with new or amended laws and regulations in the future may require a material increase in our costs and could adversely affect our results of operations and competitive position. For example, we are subject to a variety of environmental and pollution control laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which we operate. Soil and groundwater remediation activities are being conducted at certain of our current and former real properties. We record liabilities for these activities when environmental assessments indicate that the remedial efforts are probable and the costs can be reasonably estimated. On this basis, we have established reserves that we believe are adequate for the remediation activities at our current and former real properties for which we could be held responsible. Although we believe our estimates of remediation costs are reasonable and are based on the latest available information, the cleanup costs are estimates and are subject to revision as more information becomes available about the extent of remediation required. In future periods, we could be subject to cash or non-cash charges to earnings if we are required to undertake material additional remediation efforts based on the results of our ongoing analyses of the environmental status of our properties, as more information becomes available to us.

We also from time to time are involved in legal proceedings, claims or investigations that are incidental to the conduct of our business. Some of these proceedings allege damages against us relating to environmental liabilities, intellectual property matters, personal injury claims, taxes, employment matters or commercial or contractual disputes. For example, we are subject to a number of lawsuits initiated by a significant number of claimants alleging health problems as a result of exposure to asbestos. Many of these cases involve significant numbers of individual claimants. Many of these cases also involve numerous defendants, with the number of defendants in some cases exceeding 100 defendants from a variety of industries. As major asbestos manufacturers or other companies that used asbestos in their manufacturing processes continue to go out of business, we may experience an increased number of these claims.

We vigorously defend ourselves in connection with all of the matters described above. We cannot, however, assure you that the costs, charges and liabilities associated with these matters will not be material, or that those costs, charges and liabilities will not exceed any amounts reserved for them in our consolidated financial statements. In future periods, we could be subject to cash costs or non-cash charges to earnings if any of these matters is resolved unfavorably to us. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Environmental and Other Matters” included in Item 7.

We may have difficulty competing favorably in the highly competitive automotive parts industry.

The automotive parts industry is highly competitive. Although the overall number of competitors has decreased due to ongoing industry consolidation, we face significant competition within each of our major product areas, including from new competitors entering the markets which we serve. The principal competitive factors include price, quality, service, product performance, design and engineering capabilities, new product innovation, global presence and timely delivery. As a result, many suppliers have established or are establishing themselves in emerging, low-cost markets to reduce their costs of production and be more conveniently located for customers. Although we are also pursuing a low-cost country production strategy and otherwise continue to seek process improvements to reduce costs, we cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to compete favorably in this competitive market or that increased competition will not have a material adverse effect on our business by reducing our ability to increase or maintain sales or profit margins.

The decreasing number of automotive parts customers and suppliers could make it more difficult for us to compete favorably.

Our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected because the customer base for automotive parts is decreasing in both the original equipment market and aftermarket. As a result, we are competing for business from fewer customers. Due to the cost focus of these major customers, we have been, and expect to continue to be, requested to reduce prices as part of our initial business quotations and over the life of vehicle platforms we have been awarded. We cannot be certain that we will be able to generate cost savings and operational improvements in the future that are sufficient to offset price reductions requested by existing customers and necessary to win additional business.

Furthermore, the trend toward consolidation and bankruptcies among automotive parts suppliers is resulting in fewer, larger suppliers who benefit from purchasing and distribution economies of scale. If we cannot achieve cost savings and operational improvements sufficient to allow us to compete favorably in the future with these larger companies, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected due to a reduction of, or inability to increase, sales.

We may not be able to successfully respond to the changing distribution channels for aftermarket products.

Major automotive aftermarket retailers, such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts, are attempting to increase their commercial sales by selling directly to automotive parts installers in addition to individual consumers. These installers have historically purchased from their local warehouse distributors and jobbers, who are our more traditional customers. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain or increase aftermarket sales through increasing our sales to retailers. Furthermore, because of the cost focus of major retailers, we have occasionally been requested to offer price concessions to them. Our failure to maintain or increase aftermarket sales, or to offset the impact of any reduced sales or pricing through cost improvements, could have an adverse impact on our business and operating results.

Longer product lives of automotive parts are adversely affecting aftermarket demand for some of our products.

The average useful life of automotive parts has steadily increased in recent years due to innovations in products and technologies. The longer product lives allow vehicle owners to replace parts of their vehicles less often. As a result, a portion of sales in the aftermarket has been displaced. This has adversely impacted, and could continue to adversely impact, our aftermarket sales. Also, any additional increases in the average useful lives of automotive parts would further adversely affect the demand for our aftermarket products. Recently, we have experienced relative stabilization in our aftermarket business due to our ability to win new customers and recover steel price increases through selling price increases. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain this stabilization. Aftermarket sales represented approximately 22 percent and 19 percent of our net sales in the fiscal years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively.

Assertions against us or our customers relating to intellectual property rights could materially impact our business.

We and others in our industry hold a number of patents and other intellectual property rights that are critical to our respective businesses. On occasion, third parties may assert claims against us and our customers and distributors alleging our products or technology infringe upon third-party intellectual property rights. Similarly, we may assert claims against third-parties who are taking actions that we believe are infringing on our intellectual property rights. These claims, regardless of their merit or resolution, are frequently costly to prosecute, defend or settle and divert the efforts and attention of our management and employees. Claims of this sort also could harm our relationships with our customers and might deter future customers from doing business with us. If any such claim were to result in an adverse outcome, we could be required to take actions which may include: cease the manufacture, use or sale of the infringing products; pay substantial damages to third parties, including to customers to compensate them for their discontinued use or replace infringing technology with non-infringing technology; or expend significant resources to develop or license non-infringing products. Any of the foregoing results could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Any acquisitions we make could disrupt our business and seriously harm our financial condition.

We may, from time to time, consider acquisitions of complementary companies, products or technologies. Acquisitions involve numerous risks, including difficulties in the assimilation of the acquired businesses, the diversion of our management’s attention from other business concerns and potential adverse effects on existing business relationships with current customers and suppliers. In addition, any acquisitions could involve the incurrence of substantial additional indebtedness. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully integrate any acquisitions that we pursue or that such acquisitions will perform as planned or prove to be beneficial to our operations and cash flow. Any such failure could seriously harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to risks related to our international operations.

We have manufacturing and distribution facilities in many regions and countries, including Australia, China, India, North America, Europe and South America, and sell our products worldwide. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009, approximately 55 percent of our net sales were derived from operations outside North America. International operations are subject to various risks which could have a material adverse effect on those operations or our business as a whole, including:

  • exposure to local economic conditions;
  • exposure to local political conditions, including the risk of seizure of assets by a foreign government;
  • exposure to local social unrest, including any resultant acts of war, terrorism or similar events;
  • exposure to local public health issues and the resultant impact on economic and political conditions;
  • currency exchange rate fluctuations;
  • hyperinflation in certain foreign countries;
  • controls on the repatriation of cash, including imposition or increase of withholding and other taxes on remittances and other payments by foreign subsidiaries; and
  • export and import restrictions.

Exchange rate fluctuations could cause a decline in our financial condition and results of operations.

As a result of our international operations, we are subject to increased risk because we generate a significant portion of our net sales and incur a significant portion of our expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. For example, where we have significantly more costs than revenues generated in a foreign currency, we are subject to risk if the foreign currency in which our costs are paid appreciates against the currency in which we generate revenue because the appreciation effectively increases our cost in that country.

The financial condition and results of operations of some of our operating entities are reported in foreign currencies and then translated into U.S. dollars at the applicable exchange rate for inclusion in our consolidated financial statements. As a result, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against these foreign currencies generally will have a negative impact on our reported revenues and operating profit while depreciation of the U.S. dollar against these foreign currencies will generally have a positive effect on reported revenues and operating profit. For example, our European operations were positively impacted in 2007 due to the strengthening of the Euro against the U.S. dollar. However, in 2008, the dollar strengthened against the Euro which had a negative effect on our results of operations. Our South American operations were negatively impacted by the devaluation in 2000 of the Brazilian currency as well as by the devaluation of the Argentine currency in 2002. We do not generally seek to mitigate this translation effect through the use of derivative financial instruments. To the extent we are unable to match revenues received in foreign currencies with costs paid in the same currency, exchange rate fluctuations in that currency could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Entering new markets poses new competitive threats and commercial risks.

As we have expanded into markets beyond light vehicles, we expect to diversify our product sales by leveraging technologies being developed for the light vehicle segment. Such diversification requires investments and resources which may not be available as needed. We cannot guarantee that we will be successful in leveraging our capabilities into new markets and thus, in meeting the needs of these new customers and competing favorably in these new markets. If those customers experience reduced demand for their products or financial difficulties, our future prospects will be negatively affected as well.

Impairment in the carrying value of long-lived assets and goodwill could negatively affect our operating results.

We have a significant amount of long-lived assets and goodwill on our consolidated balance sheet. Under generally accepted accounting principles, long-lived assets, excluding goodwill, are required to be reviewed for impairment whenever adverse events or changes in circumstances indicate a possible impairment. If business conditions or other factors cause profitability and cash flows to decline, we may be required to record non-cash impairment charges. Goodwill must be evaluated for impairment annually or more frequently if events indicate it is warranted. If the carrying value of our reporting units exceeds their current fair value as determined based on the discounted future cash flows of the related business, the goodwill is considered impaired and is reduced to fair value by a non-cash charge to earnings. Events and conditions that could result in impairment in the value of our long-lived assets and goodwill include changes in the industries in which we operate, particularly the impact of the current downturn in the global economy, as well as competition and advances in technology, adverse changes in the regulatory environment, or other factors leading to reduction in expected long-term sales or profitability. For example, during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, we were required to record a $114 million asset impairment charge to write-off the remaining goodwill related to our 1996 acquisition of Clevite Industries.

The value of our deferred tax assets could become impaired, which could materially and adversely affect our operating results.

As of December 31, 2009, we had approximately $63 million in net deferred tax assets. These deferred tax assets include net operating loss carryovers that can be used to offset taxable income in future periods and reduce income taxes payable in those future periods. We periodically determine the probability of the realization of deferred tax assets, using significant judgments and estimates with respect to, among other things, historical operating results, expectations of future earnings and tax planning strategies. For example, we were required to record charges during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 for a valuation allowance against our U.S. deferred tax assets. These charges were attributable to the significant decline in production which resulted from the recent global economic crisis and the accounting requirement to project that the current negative operating environment will continue through the expiration of the net operating loss carry-forward periods. If we determine in the future that there is not sufficient positive evidence to support the valuation of these assets, due to the risk factors described herein or other factors, we may be required to further adjust the valuation allowance to reduce our deferred tax assets. Such a reduction could result in material non-cash expenses in the period in which the valuation allowance is adjusted and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our expected annual effective tax rate could be volatile and materially change as a result of changes in mix of earnings and other factors.

Our overall effective tax rate is equal to our total tax expense as a percentage of our total profit or loss before tax. However, tax expenses and benefits are determined separately for each tax paying entity or group of entities that is consolidated for tax purposes in each jurisdiction. Losses in certain jurisdictions may provide no current financial statement tax benefit. As a result, changes in the mix of projected profits and losses between jurisdictions, among other factors, could have a significant impact on our overall effective tax rate.