Wednesday, just barely a year and a half after shovels broke ground, Bellevue’s heavy-duty truck manufacturer PACCAR celebrated the opening of its new 569-acre truck assembly plant in Ponta Grossa, Brazil. The plant’s flagship product will be the premium-class XF-105 model of the internationally ubiquitous DAF heavy-duty truck. The DAF line, a 16-ton, cab-over, “on-highway tractor,” already occupies 15.8 percent market share in its size class in Europe, according to PACAR president Ron Armstrong. In Brazil, “the largest and fastest growing segment of the truck market is the premium segment where DAF has launched its flagship model XF-105 vehicle.”
PACCAR’s plant fits into Brazil’s wide-reaching effort to expand its global market share by overcoming chronic logistics problems such as freight bottlenecks on Brazil’s roads. Trucks occupy an entire 58% of Brazil’s freight market, and the high-capacity DAF will serve as means to alleviate bottlenecked roads during the country’s transition to coastal shipping. The new PACCAR plant is located near Brazil’s second largest export terminal, the Port of Paranagua. Paranagua, like Brazil’s no.1 port, Santos, is undergoing a $1.5 billion expansion that aims to increase its export capacity by 55%. The demand for DAF trucks is expected to increase accordingly, with the number of independent DAF dealerships predicted to increase by 33% within a year, according to Marco Davila, DAF Brazil president.