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Aussie truck market unaffected by supplier?s exit

US-based company Caterpillar recently announced it would cease taking new orders for, and discontinue production of, its on-highway vocational trucks in the North American market. The news comes less than a year after the company announced it would manufacture its own line of vocational trucks.

As previously reported by Quarry, the company previously had an agreement with Navistar to produce on-highway trucks for the North American market, with the partnership launching Caterpillar’s first vocational truck, the CT600, in 2011.

However, in July last year, Caterpillar outlined plans to split from Navistar to produce its own series of vocational trucks at its plant in Victoria, Texas.

Production of the new line was scheduled to begin in the first half of 2016 but a Caterpillar statement explained that the “current business climate in the truck industry and a thorough evaluation of the business” led to the decision to withdraw from the vocational truck market altogether.

Ramin Younessi, vice president of Caterpillar’s Industrial Power Systems division, said, “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.”

It was said that Caterpillar would continue to support existing vocational trucks currently on the road.

‘Business as usual’

Following the announcement, Navistar Auspac, the licensed manufacturer of Cat-branded trucks in Australia, issued a statement reassuring local customers that Caterpillar’s decision would have no impact in the Australian and New Zealand markets and that it was “business as usual”.

“North American vocational models have never been available in the Australian and New Zealand markets and are built on an entirely different cab and chassis platform than the CT610 and CT630 on-highway units sold in Australia since 2010,” the statement explained.

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