Peoria, Ill.Caterpillar's rental division has begun a pilot program to run Cat Rental Stores in Home Depot stores, Caterpillar officials confirmed at ConExpo. Although Caterpillar officials offered few details on the program, they confirmed a pilot location was recently begun in Texas and said more test locations may be added later this year.

The officials did not speculate on how widespread the alliance might be, since the partnership is only in an exploratory phase. Home Depot currently operates rental departments in more than 1,200 facilities in North America.

Currently there are 1,429 Cat Rental Stores throughout the world, all operated by independent Caterpillar dealers. The 500th Cat Rental Store in North America will open this month. Cat Rental Stores include Caterpillar equipment as well as complementary construction equipment from allied vendors.

Caterpillar recently said it hopes to open more than 550 Cat Rental Store locations worldwide during the next three years.