Late last week an American customer contacted me with the question if I wanted to get involved buying a Cat 963K trackloader in France that was not EPA or CE certified. The buying price was good and we decided that it was a good idea that I would go and inspect this machine.
The machine was located in the city of Grenoble and I immediately started exploring the best way to travel there. First I checked flights to Grenoble, but that airport is mainly focused on winter ski travel so very hard to get to. I then looked which other big French city was close by and that was Lyon. Ther are alot of flights to Lyon from Amsterdam area but all served by mainline carriers like KLM and they were asking crazy money for a short trip. Even in economy class they asked over 800 Euro! I then brothened my horizon and saw to my surprise that Geneva in Switserland was about the same distance as Lyon and also had much cheaper flights with good timings from Amsterdam airport. In the end with all the low carrier surchrages and upgrades for good seat and priority boarding I paid 275 Euro. I also found a good rental car deal from Hertz and a good hotel for a decent price in Grenoble so I booked it.
After a working day and dinner at home I headed to the airport to catch my 20.35 flight to Geneva. The flight in the end left 45 minutes late so that was not a good start. When I arrived at Geneva I went to the Rental car desk and picked up my keys. Now I had to take the bus to the Rental car garage to pick up the car. The spot they told me the car was in was wrong and all Hertz people allready left for home at 23.00 hours. Found the correct car in the end myself and drove the 150km to Grenoble. Arrived in the hotel at 00.45 and unfortunately at that time the hotel bar was allready closed and no beer in the minibar, just my Luck!
The next morning I woke up after a good sleep and had some breakfast and a shower. It was just a 10 minute drive to my destination which was the Caterpillar logistics platform that they use for the factory. They kept the machine at this location because of the lack of CE Certification and had it roped off together with a 953K that has the same issues. The people there were very helpfull and offered to take the machine out so I could make a good movie of the machine operating. I accepted obviously and made the below movie.
After the movie it was time to make some pictures and a look around the machine. The machine was in av ery good condition with hardly any wear noticable and a almost new undercarriage. The inside was also really nice and there weren no codes active on the machine. After some more looking around I did notice some dirt in the engine compartment which has to be cleaned off before shipping overseas, nothing major though. It was time to finish my inspection and conclude that all is ok with this machine.
When I walked back I asked if could have a little walk around the yard that they have there and they said it was no problem at all and even showed me around a bit. The location is really beautifull with mountains all around and ,offcourse being from the Netherlands, for me even the smallest hill is allready impresive. They also have their own rail track where they load all the machines produced in Grenoble to be send to the port of Antwerp in Belgium and from there shipped around the globe.
The machines produced in Grenoble that I saw are
Mobile Excavators, full range
Scrap handlers full range
Track Loaders 953K,963K
Wheel loaders 962M to 982M, standard and XE models