Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday it will begin designing and manufacturing its own vocational truck product family at its plant in Victoria, Texas. The plant, which opened in 2012, currently produces hydraulic excavators.
Caterpillar launched its first vocational truck — the CT660 — in the North American market in 2011. Two more models have since been added to the lineup, the CT680 and CT681. And up until now, Caterpillar has worked with Navistar for the products’ design and build, which are currently manufactured in Escobedo, Mexico.
“The on-highway vocational truck product family is important to our product line,” said Chris Chadwick, Caterpillar’s director of the global on-highway truck group. “Customers like our trucks and want to include them in their fleets in a variety of heavy-duty applications such as dump trucks, mixers, haulers or one of the other configurations we offer.”
But Chadwick said that in order to provide the best solution for its customers, Caterpillar is bringing the design and manufacturing of this product into the fold, and the production specifically to Victoria. “Our updated strategy reaffirms our commitment to grow and develop our presence in the vocational truck industry moving forward.
“We appreciate the collaboration we have had with Navistar,” Chadwick said. “As we look to future launches of new truck models, this updated strategy will better position us to help provide our customers with the best products and services for this market.”
Meanwhile, Navistar Inc. said it will be launching a new line of premium vocational trucks for the severe service segment beginning early next year, leveraging the shared technology and intellectual property from its venture with Caterpillar.
In addition, the company announced that it will transition to Caterpillar the production and engineering of the Cat-branded severe service trucks the company has been supplying to Caterpillar since 2011. Navistar will continue to manufacture trucks for Caterpillar through the end of 2016.
“Navistar and Caterpillar have had a strong, collaborative working relationship through a number of projects and partnerships for many, many years,” said Bill Kozek, president of Navistar Truck and Parts. “This next phase provides Navistar with an exciting opportunity to introduce new technologies and product features into our new line of premium vocational trucks that we’ll launch in 2016.”
Kozek said Navistar expects to provide additional details on its new premium vocational trucks in the months ahead.
While specific terms of the transition will not be disclosed, both companies will have the opportunity to leverage certain joint intellectual property, collaborate with suppliers and utilize licensing agreements moving forward.
Caterpillar continues to drive the design phase of all models, both current and planned, according to Chadwick. “Before launching the product, we spent hundreds of hours on the road with customers, asking them to describe the ideal truck. We know what they want and need – from functionality of the truck itself to comfort in the cab. We plan to meet and exceed those expectations as we grow this product offering to fulfill our customers’ needs.”
The transition process will begin immediately, with production expected to begin in the first half of next year. Caterpillar Victoria will continue to produce excavators, and the addition of the vocational truck production is expected to add around 200 new jobs at the facility.
Caterpillar dealers will continue to sell and support Cat vocational trucks.