Cat-powered Internationals to hit Aussie market

Caterpillar will re-emerge in Australian tied with International, with new trucks to hit showrooms this year

Cat-powered Internationals to hit Aussie market
Cat-powered Internationals to hit Aussie market
Caterpillar will re-emerge in the Australian market tied with truck brand International, with new trucks expected to hit showrooms before end of the year.

The company has announced it will form a new joint-venture with truck and engine supplier Navistar, parent of the International brand, to pursue "commercial truck opportunities" around the world with a particular focus on the Australian market.

The companies have also signed an agreement to produce Caterpillar heavy duty vocational trucks for sale in North America, as more detail emerges of their strategic alliance announced in June last year.

Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Jim Owens says the "milestone" agreement will position the new joint-venture as a "significant player" in the on-highway truck market.

Caterpillar was forced to slash 20,000 jobs globally and step back from the on-highway truck market after huge profit falls last year.

But the company announced in June a new alliance with Navistar to pursue opportunities in the trucking market.

The new 50/50 joint-venture will develop, manufacture and distribute commercial trucks in regions outside of North America and India.

A statement from Caterpillar lists Australia as an "initial focus", along with Brazil, China, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.

The portfolio of products will feature both aero nose and cab-over designs and will be sold under both the Caterpillar and International brands.

The first products are expected to be available as early as the third quarter of 2009.

Daniel C. Ustian, Chairman, President and CEO of Navistar, says the joint-venture will leverage the "complementary strengths of two great companies to serve global markets".

"The venture will be distinctively positioned to offer customers world-class on-highway trucks through the unequalled sales and service network of Cat and International dealers around the world, and the deep product expertise of Navistar," he says.

Says Dee Kapur, President of the Navistar Truck Group: "While Cat and Navistar do not compete in our core businesses, each brings distinctive capabilities to the table and have common goals to expand the base of engine, truck and equipment customers worldwide."

The American agreement will see Caterpillar and Navistar jointly develop and manufacture (at Navistar’s Texas factory) a new line of heavy-duty Cat-powered vocational trucks for the United States and Canada.

"The heavy-duty vocational trucks will be purpose-built to complement Caterpillar's existing product line and will give Caterpillar dealers an unmatched ability to support customer needs from extraction through delivery," says George Taylor, Director and General Manager of the Caterpillar Global On-Highway Department.

The Caterpillar trucks will feature key Caterpillar proprietary components and technology, the company says, and will target customers who operate in industries like earth moving, quarry, waste, mining, general and heavy construction, logging and road construction.

The new Caterpillar on-highway vocational trucks will be unveiled in late 2010 and will go into full production in early 2011.

Both arrangements are subject to regulatory approvals, the companies say.

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