Higher interest rates and diesel fuel prices, coupled with a driver shortage and increased supply of used trucks, will likely impact demand for on-highway truck engines in North America. But Caterpillar says it expects its engine sales to remain near 1999 levels with increased market share in the medium and heavy duty truck segments plus higher demand for other engines.

World economic growth in 2000 is forecast to improve, primarily due to stronger growth in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the company said. North America gross domestic product is no longer forecast to slow, and may even exceed last year’s strong growth rate. In the U.S., GDP growth is now expected to remain at a very strong 4% to 4.5% despite recent interest rate increases.
Caterpillar recently announced first quarter 2000 profits of $258 million on sales of $4.92 billion versus first quarter 1999 profits of $205 million on sales of $4.87 billion first quarter 1999. Engine sales totaled $1.66 billion, $351 million higher than the same period last year. Volume was up 23% due mainly to significant increases in the power generation segment. Caterpillar said its North American on-highway engine sales were up, due to increased market share and continued high demand.