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. Chapter 11's approaching?

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. We remember Andreas Renschler's assertion at the IAA show last year suggesting that he was yet to see an ACERT engine perform to par. It caused a lot of unpleasantness at the time, but it now rather looks as if the DC CV boss was not speaking in tongues.We tried to substantiate this rumour, and so presented ourselves at the Caterpillar stand. One mention of fuel trials, and we were told that every engineer in attendance had 'gone to lunch'. En masse. We find this a rather charming notion, and will now spend some time considering the proper collective noun for the aforementioned group. A shameface, perhaps?Anyway, we remain confident in our view that Caterpillar will be out of the on-highway business after EPA 10, a view leant credibility by Paccar's acknowledgement yesterday - in front of the US press - of the existence of the MX engine. Of course, our view is at odds with the company's stated aims, but we see little by way of much hope here.