Navistar aims for 50% of MD market

DENVER. Declaring an “assault on medium-duty,” Navistar Corp. said it wants to capture 50% of the U.S. and Canadian Class 6/7 truck market within three years. It currently has a 36% market share without counting school buses or severe service vehicles, according to Jim Hebe, senior vp, North American sales operations

DENVER. Declaring an “assault on medium-duty,” Navistar Corp. said it wants to capture 50% of the U.S. and Canadian Class 6/7 truck market within three years. It currently has a 36% market share without counting school buses or severe service vehicles, according to Jim Hebe, senior vp, North American sales operations.

Looking to kick off the market push, the company held the second of its planned series of “boot camps” in Denver for its International Truck dealer personnel yesterday. With future events scheduled for Baltimore, Chicago and elsewhere, the company hopes to train over 1,000 sales people in what it sees as the strengths of its DuraStar Class 6/7 and new TerraStar Class 4/5 trucks, while also giving them the opportunity to drive competitive vehicles from Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Hino and other truck makers. (See a walkaround on the 2011 International TerraStar)

“There are no bad competitors out there today,” Hebe told the group, “so we must show customers differentiation based on our products, our services and our dealer network.”

Unlike heavy-duty truck buyers, the medium-duty buyer makes a purchasing decision within 48 hrs., according to Navistar market research. “They are purchasing a tool like a copier or computer, and they want it in two to three weeks fully functional and delivered,” Hebe said.

The main product differentiators are Navistar’s position as “the only domestic integrated manufacturer of medium-duty trucks and engines” and its commitment to avoiding selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet 2010 emissions requirements, Hebe said.

Declaring Navistar’s “advanced EGR” emissions system “cleaner than SCR in P&D applications,” Hebe said the company’s medium-duty plans also included hybrids, electric vehicles and “the only factory built and installed medium-duty-specific natural gas engine.”

Navistar will sell approximately 30,000 heavy-duty trucks and 24,000 medium-duties in its fiscal year 2010, which ends in October, according to Michael Cerilli, vp of North American truck marketing. That HD/MD sales ratio should be similar in 2011, which Navistar believes will overall see “moderate gains in both heavy-duty and medium-duty,” he told Fleet Owner.

With General Motors and Sterling exiting the Class 4/5 market earlier this year, Navistar believes the timing is good for its introduction of the TerraStar. “Combined they sold 12,000 units in those GVW classes, which means those buyers need a new home,” Cerilli said.

Introduced in March, the TerraStar is going into production this month, and with 800 orders already on the books, customer deliveries will begin in late Fall, according to the company.

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