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Cat’s Jim Parker addresses state of industry

PEORIA, Ill. -- Caterpillar's vice-president of the Power Systems Marketing Division recently delivered a keynote s...

PEORIA, Ill. — Caterpillar’s vice-president of the Power Systems Marketing Division recently delivered a keynote speech addressing the company’s plans for 2007 and the state of the industry.

Jim Parker’s speech was made at the 60th annual meeting of NationaLease, the largest member-owned system of full-service leasing companies in North America. Parker said he’s optimistic about the future, thanks largely to promising market predictions and a strong foundation for 2007 emissions standards.

"A growing economy means the upcoming years will be extremely good for business," Parker said. "Assuming interest rates remain reasonable, equipment and lease-rental services should remain strong through 2006."

He pointed out the U.S. economy is expected to grow 3.9 per cent in 2005 while the Canadian economy will grow 4.2 per cent. He added truck tonnage should continue to increase by about 4.7 per cent next year. Furthermore, Parker said the truck market is expected to grow 25 per cent in the Class 8 segment in 2005 while the Class 5-7 markets could increase by 37 per cent. Those figures are expected to increase in 2006 as well.

Parker said the rising cost of materials and components is posing a challenge as some suppliers are having trouble keeping up with demand. That means OEMs and major component suppliers are struggling to meet the current level of sales activity.

"Caterpillar is committed to providing customers with component options and keeping component choice a viable solution," Parker said.

Parker also spoke of the impending 2007 emissions standards and he said Caterpillar already has ’07-compliant engines in testing. These engines utilize Cat’s ACERT technology which was introduced in 2003. They also use particulate traps. Midway through 2005, Cat will be making its 2007 engines available to customers for testing.

"We believe it’s critically important that our customers have the ability to assess the 2007 engines early on, in order to get the experience they need to make informed purchase decisions," Parker said.

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