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Navistar optimistic about future, steps up collaboration with VW


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James Menzies, Truck News  /  September 25, 2017

ATLANTA, Ga. – Navistar has turned the corner, and is now a more financially stable, leaner, and more nimble business.

Persio Lisboa, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Navistar touted the progress the company has made during its turnaround, while addressing press at the North American Commercial Vehicle show.

“The progress of the past several years has been remarkable,” he said. “What is most exciting is, we have already begun to write the next chapter of our story.”

Lisboa noted Navistar has been aggressively updating its line of International trucks, and now also offers a new A-26 12.4-liter engine he said will set a new standard for uptime. Lisboa also noted it’s the lightest weight engine in its class, and is the quietest available in an International. A new LT series truck with A-26 engine is up to 9% more fuel efficient than its predecessors, Lisboa said.

“Today, our product quality is the best it has ever been in our history,” he added. “The company has embraced the mission of uptime in every part of our business. It’s more than marketing speak, it’s a rally cry for our employees and our dealers. I’m confidently saying today, we are back, but our work is nowhere near complete. Our goals are much greater. We aren’t just here to play, we are here to win.”

The company also announced several new products, including an expansion of OnCommand Connection to provide predictive breakdown prognostics. OnCommand Connection Live Action Plans will notify fleets when a part is likely to fail, before it actually does, Lisboa said.

“These are prognostic models developed using our field service intelligence and algorithms developed through big data analytics,” he explained. By being alerted to potential parts failures before they occur, customers will be able to make repairs in their shop, reducing roadside breakdowns.

“We can tell customers we will proactively identify problems before they ever happen,” Lisboa explained. “We will recommend a fix, and pay for it (if covered under warranty) before anything fails on the truck and the customer experiences any downtime.”

Live Action Plans will be piloted in the coming weeks and widely available in 2018. OnCommand Connection will also be expanded to include automated driver inspection reporting, eliminating much of the paperwork required of drivers conducting vehicle inspections.

Troy Clarke, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Navistar, gave an update on the company’s strategic alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus, which is already yielding results. He announced at the show the two companies will combine their connectivity platforms – Navistar’s OnCommand Connection and Volkswagen’s Rio. This will connect some 650,000 vehicles around the world. The two platforms will share the same hardware and bolster the data available to both manufacturers.

The two companies will also work together in developing electric vehicle technologies. Clarke said Navistar is designing a Class 6/7 electric truck that will be on the market by late 2019 or early 2020. He said the urban medium-duty segment is ideal for electrification, because it offers ample packaging space and the trucks typically run short distances and are available for charging overnight.

Clarke also reiterated Navistar and Volkswagen will have a proprietary powertrain available for International trucks as soon as 2021.

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