TRUCK TRACKS

Truck sales power manufacturer

Article December 28, 2000
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Producing trucks for use by the concrete industry and comparable fields is a large and diversified business for Navistar International, and according to company officials the field is getting bigger.

Input to support this claim was received from Jordan Feiger, general manager of the company’s Severe Service vehicle center, headquartered in Garland, Texas. Additionally, input was received from John Price, Steve Benjamin and Jim Ham, key marketing executives for concrete trucks in the International line.

In order to improve its focus on the many businesses within its sprawling operation, Navistar reorganized activities into a series of specialized units, like the Severe Service Vehicle Center, in the mid ’90s.

The Severe Service center is “armed with the resources to satisfy concrete customers,” according to a statement from Feiger’s management team. The statement promised to “increase the center’s presence in the industry with targeted products.”

The sales report delivered by Benjamin announced that the Service chassis for concrete applications were moving at a record high rate in early 1999 and that they were expected to set a sales record this year.

Additionally, the report noted that the Garland-based plant’s production rate has been increased by 100%in the last year and a further boost in output is planned for later this year.

While variety in its offerings is a selling point, the company’s executives also provided this breakdown of the truck models: The 5000 models with gross vehicle weight ratings of up to more than 90,000 lb provide aluminum cabs as a premium offering. Next is the 4000 series, many of which are in the heavy-duty class.
Also available is the 2000 series, with the larger models carrying heavy-duty ratings and all offering steel cabs.
Finally, there are some brawny tractors for use in such work as pulling bulk loads of materials. These tractors fall under the 9000 model number.

The price is right

Price made a major point in favor of Navistar chassis for the concrete trade. “We design our straight trucks so they can easily be outfitted with the bodies of the concrete trade,” said Price. “We don’t want people with wire clippers and cutting torches trying to find ways to force bodies onto our chassis.”

Navistar is prepared to install diesel engines from Caterpillar and Cummins in its trucks, and unlike a number of its competitors, the company makes some of its own powerplants.

The firm’s 530 diesel is something of a golden boy among Navistar engines. Benjamin took the lead in explaining why it is getting a lot of attention within a class of engines, called Nine Liter models and also winning increased support from concrete people these days.

“For one thing, it delivers the type of performance concrete people need,” Benjamin said. “It delivers up to 300 hp and it turns out the amount of torque needed to keep a ready-mix truck moving. The engine’s electronic-hydraulic fuel system is an industry leader in controlling exhaust emissions and does a great job of managing a range of engine related functions, such as power takeoff operation.

“Our 530 model wins extra attention because it has the best power-to-weight ratio in the industry. When you are moving something as dense as concrete, it’s a break to have an engine that is 600 lb lighter than its competition. Finally, the 530 model is a basic rebuildable, in-line, six-cylinder engine.”

Running on full power

Navistar considers the fact that it has the “largest number of local dealers in the industry” one of the biggest assets in delivering good parts and service support for its products.

At the end of 1998, Navistar was pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, its dealers were ranked as providing the “Best Medium-Duty Truck Dealer Service in the industry,” according to J.D. Power and Associates.

The honor was based on the results of the 1988 Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study, conducted by the Power organization in which nearly 1,500 medium-duty truck customers were surveyed.

“We’re extremely proud that our dealers were honored again by J.D. Power and Associates,” said Don DeFosset, president of the International Truck Group.

“We believe this ranking clearly demonstrates how our dealer network continues to help International live up to its brand promise of delivering beyond the expected.”

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