Paccar plant delays opening a year

June 26, 2009

Neal Wagner -


Adverse economic conditions and a decrease in demand have delayed the expected opening date of the more than 400,000-square-foot Paccar engine plant near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, according to company officials. 


Although the Lowndes County Paccar plant originally was scheduled to begin operations late this year, the facility likely will not open until "late in 2010," said Alan Treasure, director of marketing at the company''s Bellevue, Wash., office. 


"We will have to delay the opening until there is an improvement in economic conditions and demand," Treasure said Friday morning. "The plant is scheduled to open late in 2010." 


The delay announcement came a few months after Paccar reported first-quarter earnings down nearly $266 million from 2008. According to a financial report released April 28, the company earned $26.3 million during the first quarter of 2009, compared to $292.3 million during the first quarter of 2008. 


"Paccar''s results reflect the impact of a slower economy on freight shipments and truck purchases worldwide," Paccar Chief Executive Officer Mark Pigott wrote in a press release. "The difficult recession continues to affect our business in North America and Europe as truck markets remain weak." 


Once completed, the $400 million Lowndes County plant will construct 12.9-liter diesel engines for Peterbilt, Kenworth and DAF trucks. Paccar officials in 2007 signed a contract with the state to provide 500 jobs at the plant by 2013. 


Although construction of the Lowndes County facility nearly is complete, workers at the plant still must install and test several pieces of manufacturing equipment, Treasure said.  


"I wouldn''t want to assign a percentage number or anything, but it''s safe to say the building is substantially completed," Treasure said. "They are in the process of installing and checking equipment in the building right now."