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CAT trucks launched in Australia
Caterpillar and Navistar combine to introduce Australian-assembled CAT trucks
13 Dec 2010
AUSTRALIA has a new vehicle manufacturer that will assemble trucks under the CAT brand.
Called NC2, the joint-venture between US truck giants Caterpillar and Navistar launched the world’s first CAT trucks at the base of Uluru in the Northern Territory.
NC2 joint-venture product will be rolled out around the world from next year and in some countries will be branded as CAT, as in Australia, while other locations will use the International badge.
Rather than use an existing truck dealership framework in Australia, NC2 will sell and service the new trucks through the existing Caterpillar network consisting of 50 outlets across the country that specialise in off-road equipment.
The CAT operations currently sell and service everything from big mining dump trucks to excavators, skid steer loaders and engines, but their facilities have been upgraded and its staff specially trained for looking after on-highway truck customers.
As well as its dealer network, Caterpillar also provides engines, at least initially, and the CAT brand, which has a strong presence in Australia.
Navistar will essentially provide the rest of the trucks, which are based on existing International models, and from next year will also provide engines.
Fiat-owned Iveco, which took over the old International Harvester facility at Dandenong in 1992, produced International trucks locally until Navistar ended the licensing agreement early this year.
Iveco Trucks Australia Ltd will continue to produce Iveco trucks at the Dandenong factory.
NC2 is now assembling two new models at a Caterpillar facility at Tullamarine, next to the Western Ring Road in the north-west suburbs of Melbourne.
The assembly line is located in an old loader production plant that already had a functioning paint shop.
Most of the truck parts are supplied from the US, with the frames coming from Mexico.
Unspecified delays meant the launch was delayed from June until late last month and workers have been rushing to build up to 400 trucks before the end of the year because the C13 and C15 CAT engines do not meet new ADR83/03 truck emission standards that come into effect on January 1.
Trucks fitted with these engines can be sold for some time as long as they are built and plated before the end of the year.
These CAT engines will be replaced by a Navistar-developed unit that uses a CAT block and a MAN engine currently used by Navistar in the US.
Iveco sold between 200 and 250 International trucks a year and NC2 president Al Saltiel said at the CAT trucks global launch in central Australia he was sure the new operation would exceed that.
The CAT dealership network consists of Hastings Deering (Queensland and the Northern Territory), Cavpower (South Australia), William Adams (Victoria and Tasmania) and the massive WesTrack group, which recently merged with the Channel Seven media operation at the behest of majority shareholder Kerry Stokes and will look after Western Australia, New South Wales and the ACT.
The two CAT models available at launch are the CT610, which is rated to 57 tonnes, and the CT630, which is rated to 90 tonnes as an on-highway road train.
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