pictured: Lone Star (left) and the Pro Star
Transport & Trucking Today magazine can confirm that International trucks will be returning to the Australian market within 18 months – or sooner – under their own banner.
During a visit to Navistar’s corporate headquarters in Lisle, Michigan this week, a senior Navistar executive with global responsibilities confirmed International trucks will, after an absence of half a dozen years, go on sale sooner rather than later.
Transport & Trucking Today was told unequivocally that the brand will return “within 18 months but the Navistar executive added he’d “like to see it by this time next year”.
Up until now Navistar has remained tight-lipped as to their plans in Australia with all questions on this subject being met with blank looks and the inevitable “no comment”.
Only a day after the surprise confirmation a number of vice presidents and other senior executives went into overdrive in attempts to hose down the news saying their was no business plan in place and no final decision had been made.
At present, Navistar is a one trick pony in Australia with only the Navistar-built Cat truck in the company’s portfolio, all be it with two specifications of the CT610 and five of the CT630.
Clearly, it comes down to economies of scale and Navistar, both in the USA and Australia, has come to the realisation the Australian operation needs more than one model to prosper. At present, around 230 Cat trucks are sold annually.
While there is, or has been a formal distribution agreement in place with Brisbane-based company, Norths, to import and convert to right-hand drive around 20 Pro Stars a year, it is Navistar’s intention to take a more focused effort with a national dealer network and a extensive range of factory right hand drive models including the radical looking Lone Star heavy-duty truck. Other trucks will include the Pro Star (on which the Cat truck is based).
Earlier this year, the Australian arm of Navistar officially changed its name from Cat Trucks Australia to Navistar AusPac Pty Ltd, a move that suggested plans were afoot to broaden the product line-up.
It would appear those plans are much further down the road than Navistar would have us believe.
When the International trucks do arrive, Australian buyers will be treated to a range of trucks that do not fail to impress.
At the Eaton proving ground in Marshall, Michigan, this week Transport & Trucking Today had the opportunity to drive the Pro Star, Work Star, Terra Star and the uniquely designed Lone Star. Despite being in controlled environment the trucks displayed all the quality’s on would expect from this company.
This was reinforced by the impressive manufacturing facilities in Escobedo, Mexico and in the Melrose, Illinois, engine plant.
It was evident Navistar has invested heavily in new technology in recent years and it is starting to pay.
There will be a comprehensive report on International trucks in the next issue of Transport & Trucking Today, to be published at the end of this month.