MT. VERNON, WA. After ten years of development work and $1 billion, Paccar Inc. unveiled its proprietary Paccar MX engine line yesterday here at its state-of-the-art Technical Center. The new diesel engines will be installed beginning this summer as standard equipment on trucks manufactured by Paccar subsidiaries Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors.

Paccar chairman & CEO Mark C. Pigott introduced the new engine family and discussed the reasons why the company was ready, willing and able to bring a major new product to production, even during the worst economic recession in 70 years.

“Not many companies are introducing new products now,” Pigott said, noting that Paccar’s “excellent balance sheet and strong cash flow” enabled the company to continue to invest in development, even during the recession. “Our competitors have lost two to three years of development time,” he observed.

“We have had 71 consecutive years of net profit,” Pigott said, “and paid a cash dividend every year since 1941.” Paccar shareholders have seen a 19.1% annual return for the past decade, compared to the S&P 500 annual return of negative 1.0%. Pigott cited the company’s 106-year commitment to “quality, technology, innovation and delivering an excellent return to shareholders” as the reason for its strength and success today and the foundation upon which the new engine was developed, adding that “in our quest to become the best, we’ve also become one of the biggest-- a nice surprise.”

During his remarks, Pigott had high praise for Cummins, Inc., a long-time engine supplier to Paccar and a development partner in the MX project. “The Cummins group has been the best partner in the world,” he noted. The new MX will incorporate Cummins components, including their turbocharger, and Cummins engines will continue to be available for Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks.

Pigott also praised Paccar’s wide network of independent dealers, including the 550 Kenworth and Peterbilt dealers in the U.S. and Canada who will be handling sales and service of Paccar MX engines. “We have the most profitable dealer network in the industry,” he said. “We did not lose a single dealership worldwide during the recession, not one.” The company has 1,900 dealer locations worldwide, including those for DAF Trucks, based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

While the MX engine is new to the North American market, the company has delivered over 900,000 engines worldwide during its 50-year history in the engine business (through DAF), including some 125,000 Paccar MX engines operating globally today.

The MX has been honored with the “Best Engine of the Year Award” for three consecutive years at the Bus World Asia Exhibition held in Shanghai, China, where it is used to power coaches. According to Pigott, more than half the company’s business is now outside of the U.S. and Asia represents “a future opportunity.”

The new engine for North America has accumulated over 50-million test miles of its own in the past five years, including in over-the-road testing by fleets, and is designed to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2010 emissions standards.

Initially, the company’s new $400-million engine plant in Columbus, MS will reconfigure Paccar MX engines built in Europe for the North American truck market. By summer, however, the Columbus plant will begin full assembly of the MX for Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.

The 12.9-liter, in-line, six-cylinder MX is available across a horsepower range of 380 hp to 485 hp with torque outputs of up to 1,750 lb-ft. It uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) in combination with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to meet the 2010 emissions regs. It was engineered to achieve what the company calls “best-in-class” fuel economy, high reliability, durability and low cost of ownership.

Thanks in part to the high-strength, compacted graphite iron (CGI) used in the engine block and cylinder head, it is also some 150 lbs lighter than a comparable gray-iron engine and 325 lbs lighter than the Cummins ISX. The noise level is three times quieter at idle and approximately 1 ½ times quieter at 55 mph and 70 mph, according to the company. It will come with a comprehensive, 2-year/250,000 mile standard warranty and a variety of extended protection plans also available.

Standard features include a variable geometry turbocharger; Paccar proprietary compression brake, starter and alternator; constant-tension drive belts; two-cylinder air compressor; coolant filter and locking dipstick. A range of other features are also available as optional, including front- and rear-mounted engine PTO, an oil sump heater, block heater, over-speed shut-down, progressive shift and gear-down protection.

Although the limelight belonged to the Paccar MX and its global development team yesterday, Pigott noted that development of new products did not end with the MX and said that the company was working to make its equipment “more integrated,” with other proprietary powertrain components planned for the future.