Caterpillar Inc. announced Tuesday that it will begin independently designing and manufacturing its Cat vocational truck family at its plant in Victoria, Texas. Production is to begin next year.
The split was confirmed by Navistar Inc., which has been building the Cat Truck products, which are based on the International PayStar vocational truck, since 2011 at its plant in Escobedo, Mexico. Navistar said it will introduce its own line of premium vocational trucks in 2016.
"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.
"To continue to provide the best solution for our customers, we will bring the design and manufacturing of this product into Caterpillar, 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."
Caterpillar launched its first vocational truck, the CT660, in the North American market in 2011. Two more models have since been added, the CT681 in fall of 2014 and the CT680 several months ago. Glider-kit versions of the CT660 are also offered. To date, Caterpillar has worked with Navistar for the products' designing and production.
"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. Caterpillar continues to drive the design phase of all models, both current and planned.
“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, the Cat announcement said. Caterpillar Victoria will continue to produce excavators, and the addition of vocational truck production is expected to add about 200 new jobs at the facility.
The plant opened in 2012 and now produces Cat hydraulic excavators. Victoria is near the Texas Gulf Coast, north of Corpus Christi.
Caterpillar dealers will continue to sell and support the existing line of Cat vocational trucks, the announcement said.
Navistar said it is “leveraging shared technology and intellectual property from its venture with Caterpillar,” and “will transition to Caterpillar the production and engineering of the Cat-branded severe service trucks the company has been supplying to Caterpillar since 2011,” its announcement said.
Navistar will continue to manufacture trucks for Caterpillar through the end of 2016.
Both companies can leverage certain joint intellectual property, collaborate with suppliers and use licensing agreements as they move ahead, Navistar said.
"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, 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."
The company said it will provide additional details on its new premium vocational trucks in the months ahead.