Ground broken for new Paccar engine facility

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Paccar executives put shovel to dirt this week during a groundbreaking ceremony for Paccar’s new $400 million engine facility and technology center near Columbus, Miss.

Construction on the 400,000-square-foot facility, Paccar’s first engine plant in North America, will begin next week and is due to be completed late in 2009. It will manufacture 12.9-liter and 9.2-liter diesel engines for Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF heavy-duty vehicles, and complements Paccar subsidiary DAF’s engine factory in the Netherlands.

The 12.9-liter MX will be aimed at the on-highway market, with the 9.2-liter designed more for vocational users. They are of a similar displacement as to what’s being offered in DAF trucks worldwide. Cummins and Caterpillar engines will still be offered in Class 8 Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.

“It is our goal that this facility will be the most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly commercial vehicle diesel engine facility in North America,” said Mark Pigott, Paccar chairman and CEO.

To help drive technology development for the new plant, the Paccar Foundation is making a $2 million contribution to the school of engineering at the Mississippi State University in nearby Starkville, Pigott announced. He also spoke of plans to work with the local universities to do “pioneering research for our industry.”

“This investment sends a strong message to our industry about the positive and competitive nature of manufacturing in America, and in Mississippi in particular,” Pigott said. Building in America goes along with Paccar’s emphasis on and reputation for quality, he said.

The location in Mississippi also is a boon for logistics, with a location convenient to Peterbilt truck plants in Denton, Texas, and Madison, Tenn., and a Kenworth plant in Chillicothe, Ohio.

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