Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blurring the Lines

1. International now.

2. Big lawn mower. Deere is spreading into Cat territory.

Navistar International and Caterpillar are due to roll out a new line of trucks under the CAT banner -to be sold and serviced by Cat dealers. This will be a line of vocational trucks- transit mix, refuse, dump trucks, etc.,

The trucks are already on the road in Australia, but are not due to be unveiled in North America until March. These are to be heavy tucks, and from what I have seen are not likely to be very adventurous in terms of appearance. They will look like Internationals, except for the large CAT logo on the rad.

From my casual unscientific observation Western Star and Volvo/Mack seem to have this market pretty much to themselves for the past few years. With the demise of Sterling, perhaps there is room for still another player. Even so it represents a major investment from Cat into new territory.

With incursions into Cat's traditional machinery range from a variety of sources, including John Deere, perhaps it is time for Cat to trade on its high brand recognition and spread out. They certainly did this in August 2010 when they acquired Electro-Motive Diesel from Greenbriar/Berkshire. The former Electro-Motive Division of GM, which manufactures diesel locomotives in La Grange IL and London, ON is now set to take a run at industry leader GE. Cat will build a new plant in Muncie, IN as part of this move.

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