CAT DROPS A BOMBSHELL

Rolf Lockwood

June 18, 2008 Vol. 4, No. 13

Even though some of us, actually quite a few of us, expected it would happen, Caterpillar’s announcement this past week had a certain shock value. And for die-hard fans of yellow diesels, of which there are still many, this wasn’t good news at all.

Following months of speculation, Caterpillar said it will be leaving the on-highway truck engine business by 2010, before the next round of stringent emissions legislation kicks in.

But at the same time, the company also had some interesting and positive news to relate in the same telephone press conference, about a somewhat tentative agreement with Navistar to build a Cat-branded severe-service on/off-highway truck co-operatively. That truck, which is very likely to happen, will actually have International MaxxForce power, which is more than a little ironic, but the engine will also carry the Cat brand. More on that in a minute.

As far as present Cat engines are concerned, they’re still on offer for the time being.

“Nothing changes through 2009,” said George Taylor, director of Cat’s global on-highway business, meaning current ’07-spec Cat engines will continue to be offered until the end of next year.

“Caterpillar and our dealers will continue to provide product support and service beyond 2010 for all Caterpillar on-highway engines regardless of truck brand,” added Douglas Oberhelman, Caterpillar group president.

Taylor went a step further, confirming that the company’s distributors and dealers “…will continue to service the 1.6 million Cat highway engines out there for the life of these engines.” That’s comforting.

Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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