Cat jumps ship earlier than expected

PEORIA, Ill. — Caterpillar is getting out of the heavy-duty diesel engine business earlier than planned.

According to a letter from Cat to its dealers, the North American economy and “significant reductions in OEM order rates” have forced the company to “drastically” change the 2009 outlook.

“Market conditions over the past several months,” the letter states, “have seen a tremendous shift. Effective immediately Caterpillar will not offer heavy-duty on-highway engine incentives, but will continue to provide heavy-duty engines in 2009 while supplies last.”

OEMs will be given the responsibility for pushing engines in their trucks, but Cat will continue to deliver field support to dealers and customers.

This change affects all heavy-duty and medium-duty on-highway engines for domestic and export use.

In a press conference earlier this year, Cat group president Douglas R. Oberhelman promised that even though the company won’t be building engines after 2009, they will continue to service the existing engines.

"Caterpillar and our dealers will continue to provide product support and service beyond 2010 for all Caterpillar on-highway engines regardless of truck brand," stated Oberhelman.

“Nothing changes through 2009,” added George Taylor, director of Cat’s global on-highway business. “The Caterpillar dealer network will continue to service the 1.6 million Cat highway engines out there for the life of these engines.”

The deadlines for ordering 2009 cat engines will fall in December 2008 and January 2009, depending on which Cat powerplant you want. Contact your dealer for the specific dates.

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