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Mid America: A Blogger Intrudes on an Industry's Grief

So that's it for Mid America for another year. Next stop on the show trail is the RAI Show in Amsterdam and the Tokyo show, both of which - in a fit of genius on the part of the respective organisers - are slated to take place simultaneously.But back to MATS, and an initial reaction. Miserable. We rather felt like a gatecrasher at a bedside vigil.

Kenworth Reduces Plant Capacity

Some incongruity here.Just as Bob Christensen, General Manager of Kenworth was bigging up the Chillicothe plant to the assembled media, so too was he reducing its size.Interesting mathematical point this. Kenworth is confident about the US market, and says - we paraphrase - that its people are working hard to fulfill the order book. Having already cut capacity, it's not really suprising that utilisation remains high. Or is it?Smoke and mirrors.

Eaton Redefines SCR

We've just had a gander at Eaton's stand, and there, stuck to a wall is a poster describing the Eaton Aftertreatment System. This is a SCR solution - almost. It combines a fuel dosing unit, fuel reformer catalyst, a LNT catalyst, and a SCR catalyst in series to scrub NOx from the system. Hence, unlike the SCR systems in use today that use urea as a means of carrying the ammonia needed to catalyze the NOx, Eaton's system generates its own stuff on-board.

US Market to Drop by 75 Per Cent?

No names here, but we've just been talking to a chap who works at a fairly high level for one of the Tier 1 suppliers to the US truck business. Bear in mind that the conversation took place before the first bottle of the day, and so he was coherent and I was listening.His view of the Class 8 market for 2007? A drop off of between 75 and 80 per cent. the word 'cliff' was used - in fact a number of words were used, few of which can be repeated here. Forty per cent is bad enough, but 75? That is carnage on a grand scale, and a market collapse that will inevitably impact upon Europe as well.

Caterpillar: ACERT woes.

Alarming news reaches us from Caterpillar.Or to be more exact, and bearing in mind that it is a company well blessed with lawyers, we should say that alarming rumours reach us from Caterpillar. It seems that ACERT is going rather horribly wrong.The problem is thus. The flamethrower device that is meant to burn the soot out of the engine isn't throwing any flames. Basically - and this is again, merely rumour - the initiator or spark plug is failing to function, meaning that a stream of unburnt diesel is running around the system. The result is a clogged engine and MPG of around one.Oh dear.

Navistar: 30 Minutes Better Spent Elsewhere.

In a fit of enthusiasm, we head off to the Navistar press conference, it offering - to our way of thinking - a bit of potential for some larks. Here after all is a company that has - in the last few weeks - been hoofed off the NYSE as a result of not being able to employ an accountant capable of counting to three, and has managed to get a judge to find against it in terms of a non-paying customer - namely Ford. A class act all round.So we were rather looking forwards to the any questions bit with Dan Utsian. But he's not here - he's in Chicago - apparently delayed by strong winds.

ArvinMeritor: Global Ambition, Confusing Pens

We had a bit of a chat with Chip McClure last night - he being the CEO of ArvinMeritor, a company that has been the recipient of some causticity from this direction in the past.So Chip, we says to he. Now that you've sold off the Emissions Technology business, will you not simply revert to being an old fashioned metal basher, knocking out springs for the masses at an acceptable price?Not a bit of it, says he. ArvinMeritor has big ambitions - big global ambitions, and sees future revenues coming one third from the US, one third from Europe and one third from Asia.

Volvo: Not Much to Report

And so to the Volvo press conference, of which we had few expectations and thus came away from entirely satisfied.We learned that VEST - Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology - is to be made standard for Volvo's VHD concrete mixer range, and that the Volvo Link Sentry system has now been extended to provide a fleet management function.

Cummins Gets to 600 BHP

This will please the Editor in Chief, who has a thing for Big Bangers. Well, it might - it's a big engine.Cummins latest variation of the ISX now tops out at 600 bhp and 2050 lb-ft of torque. The new rating is designed for heavy-haul customers, fleets and owner/operators who specialize in expedited freight, and performance enthusiasts in the trucking industry. This from the Press Release.

Paccar: The MX Conundrum

We know what this is. It's a Paccar MX engine, soon to be manufactured in Paccar's new engine facility in the Southern US, and on display at the Mid America show.What we don't know is how many - if any - of the same US built MX's will find their way back to Europe.