Caterpillar to halt on-highway vocational truck production
Caterpillar has decided to cease on-highway vocational truck production in the US
US-based Caterpillar will end the production of its vocational truck arm just months after announcing plans to invest in its own branded vehicles.
The withdrawal comes after "a thorough evaluation of the business" and "the current business climate," Caterpillar says in a media statement, and will form part of an ongoing restructure.
"As a result of this action, the company will cease taking new orders for vocational trucks, although Caterpillar remains committed to existing truck customers and will support the existing trucks currently on the road," the company says.
The news comes less than a year after the company split from Navistar – ending a vocational truck-building relationship which began with launch of its first truck in 2011 – with the intention of developing and launching its own range of vehicles at its plant in Victoria, Texas.
Citing a change of mind, vice president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s Industrial Power Systems Division Ramin Younessi says the timing wasn’t right for a move into the market.
"Remaining a viable competitor in this market would require significant additional investment to develop and launch a complete portfolio of trucks, and upon an updated review, we determined there was not a sufficient market opportunity to justify the investment," Younessi says.
"We have not yet started truck production in Victoria, and this decision allows us to exit this business before the transition occurs."
Caterpillar says 70 jobs will be affected, with changes to begin in March.
Like the previous announcment in 2015, where Navistar Auspacs's sales director Glen Sharman explained the local arm was a separate entity, ATN understands the move will not affect the Cat brand in Australia.
"The Cat-branded trucks supplied to Australian, New Zealand and Pacific markets are completely different models to the Cat vocational range which is a uniquely Caterpillar product," Sharman explained last year.
"The Cat trucks we offer here are developed specifically for our on-highway markets.
"Cat trucks are a valuable and ongoing part of Navistar Auspac’s plans for today and tomorrow and any assumptions or speculation otherwise are completely mistaken."