International takes wraps off ProStar

March 24, 2006
LOUISVILLE, KY. International Truck & Engine Corp. officially unveiled the ProStar Class 8 tractor line, which will replace the 9400 next year and the 9200 in 2008, here at the Mid-America Trucking Show

LOUISVILLE, KY. International Truck & Engine Corp. officially unveiled the ProStar Class 8 tractor line, which will replace the 9400 next year and the 9200 in 2008, here at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

According to Dee Kapur, president of International’s truck group, the ProStar is the result of five years and $300 million worth of development work. It’s a completely new Class 8 tractor platform designed in part to help offset expected fuel economy losses due to the emissions control technology required for all new heavy trucks starting Jan. 1, 2007.

“We focused on creating a completely integrated truck, from the truck’s aerodynamics to the transmission and even tires, to compensate for the fuel economy losses predicted for ’07 engine and aftertreatment systems,” Ed Melching, director of International’s heavy truck development center, told FleetOwner.

“Altogether, the aerodynamic changes we’ve made with the ProStar design improve fuel economy 4% to 4.5% compared to our previous tractor models,” he explained. “That more than offsets the 1% to 3% fuel economy loss projected for ’07 trucks--in fact returning customers to pre-’02 fuel economy levels.”

Tom Baughman, vp & gm for International’s heavy truck group, said the new tractor is going to come in four model designations--the ProStar, ProStar Premium, ProStar Eagle, and ProStar Limited--that incorporate the same functionality in terms of chassis, axle, transmission and engine options, but offer successively more luxurious interior and exterior trim packages.

“We designed the ProStar with four key elements in mind,” he said. “The first is uptime: we’ve conducted 6-million miles of testing on this truck in the lab, on test tracks, and with customers and believe it offers superior reliability and durability. We also focused on driver comfort and ergonomics, based on 2,000 distinct driver profiles, male and female.”

The third element is serviceability. “Routine maintenance is synchronized around oil changes to keep the truck on the road an additional 60 to 70 days over a five-year ownership cycle,” Baughman noted. “Finally, major aerodynamic changes have vastly improved the vehicle’s fuel economy profile.”

Daniel Ustian, International’s chairman and CEO, added that the ProStar, the 10th new vehicle the company has launched in the last 24 months, is perhaps the most critical. “The Class 8 market in the U.S. is the largest of any truck market sector in the world,” he said. “This is our exclamation point that we’re staying in the Class 8 game.”

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Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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