Photo: International Truck
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International launches new HX Series for severe-service fleets

Nov. 17, 2020
Production for the new HX Series, the first vocational truck product released under the Navistar 4.0 strategy, will begin in January, with dealer deliveries beginning in February.

International Truck has unveiled its new HX Series, the next generation of its vocational vehicles and the first product released under the Navistar 4.0 strategy.

“These are tough times for all of us, perhaps the hardest some of us have ever seen,” Persio Lisboa, president and CEO of Navistar, said during a Nov. 17 unveiling of the new HX Series. “What’s also obvious is that in tough times, you can shrink from the challenge or you can choose to persevere.

“We treat times like these as an opportunity to change the status quo, to innovate, and to rethink how we operate and how we build solutions around you,” Lisboa added. “Today’s announcement is the latest in a set of milestone markings as International Truck re-emerges as the industry leader in vocational trucking.”

The new HX Series is available in both set-forward axle HX520 and set-back axle HX620 models. Both vehicles are available for order, with deliveries beginning early next year.

The series, which will be built at International’s plant in Monterrey, Mexico, is the first truck line released under Navistar 4.0 and its Project Compass initiative. Navistar 4.0 is the company’s strategy centered around ensuring that fleet customers are at the core of the product and service development process. Project Compass is an initiative under Navistar 4.0 that uses a “flexible, modular design to meet customer needs, provide a streamlined customer experience, and deliver the support and service our customers need when they need it,” explained Mark Stasell, vice president, Vocational Truck, Navistar.

David Hillman, senior director of Vocational Segmentation, Navistar, pointed out that Project Compass embodies taking fleet input to heart. For instance, one major upgrade that fleets sought from the original HX that was introduced in 2016 was improved seating and cab amenities for drivers.

Cab design, driver comfort

The new HX Series features a redesigned cab that comes with a three-piece, crack-resistant hood and that has been engineered to enhance front-forward visibility. The steel cab is also secured by ChemGuard steel corrosion protection, Line-X protective solutions, and International Truck’s topcoat process making it nearly impenetrable to salt, Stasell said.  

The new HX Series also comes with dual external air cleaners to increase filtration in dusty work environments, and all marker lights have been replaced with LEDs for better nighttime visibility.

Inside the cab, the company focused on the driver. The overall cab size has been increased and features enhanced HVAC and larger power windows. The expanded cab comes available with International Truck’s trim package Diamond Elite, which includes a new line of heated and ventilated seats. The cab has also been integrated with driver-assist technology from Bendix.

Hillman noted the new HX Series incorporates the “extreme-duty version” of International’s steel cab family. It integrates several structural reinforcements and has been put through its paces during rigorous testing, he added. Floor structures and cab mounts for sleeper applications have also been enhanced.

“It was a combination of both structural and corrosion-resistant features, combining the corrosion resistance of aluminum with the structural strength of steel without a weight penalty,” Hillman said.

Performance and connectivity

Because maneuverability is paramount for vocational applications, the new HX Series is available with dual steering gears and an advanced antilock braking system. To help maximize payload, the HX620 comes standard with the International A26 engine, delivering up to 500 hp.

The HX Series also includes a Huck-bolted frame and cross members on the chassis that minimize movement and wear, factory-installed lift axles, and a front tow pin option rated up to 150,000 lbs. The new HX Series offers two bumper to back of cab (BBC) options: the HX520 model at 120 inches and the HX620 model at 120 inches. That's compared to 115 inches for the previous HX generation of trucks.

Both the HX520 and HX620 models can be ordered with the Cummins X15 engine, delivering up to 605 hp and 2,050 lb.-ft. of torque. The HX Series also features the new Hendrickson HAULMAAX HMX-EX suspension.

The new trucks can be spec'd with the Eaton Fuller manual-shift transmissions, Eaton UltraShift automated manual transmissions, or the Allison 4000 Series Transmissions.

“There is a growing trend more toward the automatic and the automated transmissions,” explained Bruce Vasbinder, director of severe service product marketing at International Truck. “Manuals are on a decline, and a lot of that is attributable to the driver capability that is out there.”

To maximize uptime, International Truck has integrated the Diamond Logic electrical system into the new HX Series. Diamond Logic offers fleets an integrated, programmable, and customizable electrical system that operates from the dash. Diamond Logic decreases body installation labor, making upfitting more seamless, and increases uptime and driver safety, Stasell added.   

The new HX Series is supported through OnCommand Connection, Navistar’s real-time remote diagnostics system, allowing managers to have visibility into the health of their fleet and better manage maintenance and repair. The HX Series is also backed by International 360, a service communications and fleet management platform that provides communication among International’s service parts network. 

Hillman explained that because many fleets have more than just International trucks in their mix, OnCommand Connection is an open platform design that allows them to use the same communications tool no matter which brand of equipment they may be running.

“There are really two parts to our telematics OnCommand,” Conley added. “One watches the vehicle and senses the data, then we have International 360, where we try to plan whether we have the right part, dealership, and service diagnostic leadership ready. It’s that combination of OnCommand Connection and International 360 working together where we really try to put this cocoon around the driver’s operation and not only knowing what is going on with the truck, but also preparing the dealer with the right diagnostics and right parts availability for when that truck gets there.”

Looking ahead

Production of the new HX Series will begin in January, with dealer deliveries beginning in February.

“We expect to gain sales in the construction segment, which is really where this vehicle is aimed,” Conley noted. “We have a lot of market share in the government and utilities segments. Construction is a place where we want to gain share, so that’s where we’ll be aiming this vehicle.”

Looking ahead to 2021, Stasell pointed out that he expects to see somewhere over 60,000 HX units sold in the severe-duty sector.

“We have a nice backlog of orders as we look to the January launch of this product, and we look forward to all kinds of growth in this segment,” Conley said.

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

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