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. But consider this; the new plant is a monster, and will, according to Bill Jackson, Peterbilt GM, supply a global business - including the Asian market, media representatives of which appear here by courtesy of Paccar.So, a big plant, with a big capacity, and yet Paccar will continue to offer a choice of engines within the US market. Let's say it gets to around 75 per cent adoption of the MX over time. Entirely plausible - CAT isn't here, and we reckon isn't long for the on-highway business - but even so, 75 per cent of 70,141 - Paccar's Class 8 production during the boom year of 2006 is 52605 units. The new plant will have some serious excess capacity.Could it be just possible that Paccar's grand scheme is to reduce engine production at Eindhoven, thereby freeing up desperately needed production capacity? Could it be, ultimately, that there will be no engine production at Eindhoven?What bedevils the US market at present is capacity management. Putting all the production into one place would give Paccar a base level of production - the European market is not nearly so cyclical as the US - and so would allow for some vestige of predictability. As we say - just a thought.

Paccar: Everything is Tip Top.

Remember that Joe McAleese, who regards 2007 as being a year that the business will want to forget?According to Bob Christensen, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president, he's talking through his hat. "The economy is sound, and freight is at near record levels," he tells a bemused press conference. Then, just for good measure, Bill Jackson, GM at Peterbilt and VP Paccar - otherwise known as Christensen's twin - confirms this view. Everything is very wonderful, and the trucking world farts through silk. We paraphrase. Then again, we've just learned that Mark Piggot pocketed $7 million last year, and that sort of coin buys one a lot of smiles.Who do you believe? Wish we could ask someone from DaimlerChrysler, but there's no one here. No Freightliner Press Conference, no Western Star or Sterling. Even DDC pulled the plug at the eleventh hour. Maybe something to do with bad news on HDEP, wethinks.