LOUISVILLE, KY. Navistar is looking to roll its lineup of engines, trucks, and services into a vast “one-stop shop” in the hopes of building more long-term business from the trucking industry.
The OEM characterized this new over-arching strategy under the tagline “The Power of One” during a press conference here at the Mid-America Trucking Show. “What happens beyond the truck in terms of service and support is what will be the true differentiator in the market going forward,” said Jim Hebe, Navistar’s senior vp-North American operations.
He explained that “The Power of One” concept is about offering a full line of integrated trucks and engines that offer customers more efficiency and lower operating costs, attached to an all-makes, all-models service support network with the capability to remanufacture used trucks added in for good measure. “Our common goal – for the customer and ourselves – is to make business better,” Hebe said.
The first part of Navistar’s plan is rooted in new product offerings. The company is rolling out an updated version of its ProStar Class 8 tractor called the ProStar Plus that offers 1% to 2% better fuel economy that the original ProStar while slicing 200 lbs. out of its chassis frame.
“It’s about giving customers lower operating costs and more efficiency by improving fuel economy and the driver environment, while lowering weight to haul more payload,” said Jack Allen, president of Navistar’s North American Truck group. “That’s what really matters to them.”
The company also plans to introduce a new 15-liter big block engine in October this year. Dubbed the MaxxForce 15, it combines the base components of Caterpillar’s C-15 engine – the camshaft, crank case, and cylinder heads, among others – with Navistar’s exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology, sensors, electronic control module (RCM), and other systems.
Ramin Younessi, Navistar’s group vp of product development and strategy, told FleetOwner the MaxxForce 15 will offer between 430 and 550 hp and is aimed at those trucking fleets that need big power, such as heavy-haul applications in Canada where loads can reach 144,000 lbs.
Tying all of these products together is a new service from Navistar called “On Command” that packages total truck maintenance for fleets. Serving either as a primary or auxiliary maintenance service for truckers, On Command centralizes service history details by vehicle identification number (VIN), offers Internet-based parts and service options along with emergency road service options, plus both online and instructor-led training options.
“It allows fleets to obtain fixed parts and pricing service so they can better control vehicle downtime and maintenance costs,” Hebe said. “That helps fleets keep their trucks on the road.”
The final piece of “The Power of One” puzzle is a used truck remanufacturing program called “ReStar,” designed to take any late-model, low-mileage truck and refurbish it to a like-new condition so fleets can get more quality use out of it.
“We understand in this tough economic time that buying a new truck often is not an option,” said Hebe, noting that by Navistar’s calculation, the base cost of a new truck due to emissions regulations has jumped by $27,000 since 2002. “So we are offering ‘ReStar’ so fleets can extend the life of an International or any other OEM truck model.”
Hebe said that making this used truck refurbishing process work for fleets starts with vehicles that don’t need major overhauls – focusing on upgrading primarily electrical components, HVAC systems, belts and hoses, clutches, drivelines and brakes. “The key is to stay out of the engine,” he explained, so fleets are committing between $5,000 and $20,000 at most to take a three-year-old truck and “reset” its life clock back to one year.
He added that Navistar’s ReStar specialists and fleets carefully pick the trucks destined for refurbishment to stay within these cost parameters. “The return for the fleet is a like-new vehicle that avoids the 12% excise tax on a new truck and also keeps depreciation around 10 to 13 cents a mile,” Hebe said.