Caterpillar Inc. is developing a complete line of fully automatic, planetary transmissions designed specifically for on-road truck applications.

Caterpillar plans to begin production of these transmissions later this year, with availability in 2006. The new transmissions are based on existing transmissions that have proven themselves in the company's articulated trucks.

"Customers and original equipment manufacturers have been asking Caterpillar to provide automatic transmissions that can be matched with the Cat on-highway engines they are already buying," said Caterpillar vice president Chris Schena.  "When matched with a Cat engine, these new transmissions will deliver improved performance, fuel economy and reliability while giving North American vocational truck owners another choice in the marketplace."

The six-speed CX31 transmission will be compatible with Caterpillar C11, C13 and C15 engines. The eight-speed super-heavy-duty CX35 transmission will match up with higher horsepower C15 ratings for on-highway vocational trucks.

"When packaged with a Cat on-highway engine, these transmissions will give vocational truck customers the option for one source for a fully integrated power train, which means product support is greatly simplified," said Caterpillar group president Gerry Shaheen.  "This means these customers will be able to utilize Caterpillar's 'best in class' dealer network for service solutions and product support."