In what seems to be a bid to offer a truck to meet almost any conceivable commercial need, International Truck & Engine Corp. is touting the merits of its three latest truck models: the CF series Class 5 cabover line; the 7300 4×4 Commercial Use Vehicle (CUV); and a commercial variant of the SmarTruck III military vehicle platform.
International thinks its CF Series — the CF 500, rated at 16,000 lb. GVW, and the CF 600, rated at 19,500 lb. GVW — is going to have its greatest appeal in the pickup and delivery market.
“The bread and butter of the Class 5 cabover market in the U.S. are pickup and delivery customers, companies that are delivering a wide variety of goods but that don't think of themselves as ‘trucking companies’ per se,” John Wadden, International's manager of medium truck marketing, told FLEET OWNER at the company's recent “ride and drive” media event outside Dallas.
“There are a lot of small business owners moving up from driving vans in this market, but whose drivers think of themselves first as delivery people or customer service representatives,' not as truck drivers,” said Wadden. “In that regard, we focused on trying to simplify the CF as much as possible so it would appeal to this market.”
For example, the CF series doesn't feature the multiplexed electrical system used in the company's conventional medium duty product. “The cabover market, by and large, relies on much simpler truck bodies for their applications so they don't need to move to a more complex electrical system,” he explained. “What they do need is higher horsepower and torque, longer overall life cycle, and better access to and affordability of replacement parts.”
Unveiled earlier this year, the CF Series is part of the Blue Diamond joint venture between International and Ford Motor Co. International's CF will be available starting in January 2005.
International's 7300 CUV looks a lot like a pickup truck subjected to massive steroid injections: it has a four-door air-ride cab configuration that can seat six people, six-ton payload capacity, and AWD.
The CUV features a DT466 engine offering between 210 and 255 hp. and an Allison automatic transmission. According to Bill Sixsmith, International's severe service marketing director, the CUV is aimed at fleets that have off-road heavy-duty hauling needs yet also need a vehicle that doesn't require a CDL to operate.
The SmarTruck III meets a far different need. Designed to compete with the heavy-duty Hummer, the four-door SmarTruck III offers 16,000 and 20,000 lb. GVW, a VT275 V6 diesel cranking out 230 hp., and a 5-speed Allison automatic transmission.
Although International designed the SmarTruck III primarily for military and government needs — as an air base patrol vehicle, border patrol truck, etc. — the company believes it is appropriate for a number of private-sector applications, including utility fleets and others working in off-road conditions.