Despite not being able to totally confirm the marriage it seems the inevitable will come to fruition in the next few weeks with the announcement that Iveco will become the Australian distributor for International in Australia.
Speaking to all of the gathered Australian truck media at the Iveco Daily 4×4 launching Melbourne, Asia-Pacific region head of corporate and external affairs for Iveco parent company Case New Holland Industrial, Ron Grass, said that while he couldn’t confirm the deal it was highly likely to get the go ahead.
Truck e-News and Transport & Trucking were the first media outlets to report that the deal between Navistar and Iveco was on the boil including an exclusive back in March 2016, that indicated the deal was on.
The return of International was first reported here exactly two years ago today, on the 15th August 2014 by the late Geoff Paradise, as a total exclusive, stating in no uncertain terms International would be back in Australia within two years. That deadline may have slipped but accord to Ron Grasso it is not far away.
While other media outlets are reporting the Grasso statement as an Exclusive the reality is that the story is now quite old and this is really just a confirmation of what we have reported here in the past.
The negotiations have been quite long and exacting, stretching out over the past 12 months, but it seems the plans for Iveco to welcome International back into its fold as the distributor for the US brand are perhaps a month to two months away from coming to fruition. Underlining the torturous nature of the negotiations, is the fact that Iveco insiders have told Truck e-News that it had been hoped to make the announcement of the deal back in May at the Melbourne Truck Show but that various things have delayed the deal being inked.
The sticking points have apparently been the make up of the International product line up, along with the exact detail of which dealers will get the reborn Inter brand here in Australia.
“It is not yet a done deal but it is very close and there is every likelihood that Iveco will soon acquire distribution rights for International trucks in Australia,” said Rob Grasso.
“We are working through the final details with Navistar and it’s entirely possible that we aren’t far away from making a joint announcement.
“Like I said, it is very close and we have communicated that to Iveco staff.”
Iveco and International’s relationship stretches back to 1992 when Iveco bought Inter’s interests in Australia and formed ITAL or International Trucks Australia Ltd. In 2000 it changed the name to Iveco Trucks Australia Ltd and some International models continued to be sold in the Australian market until the marriage split up a couple of years later.
“There is an entrenched association between the two brands and there’s a lot of excitement within Iveco about the prospect of having the International brand back in the company,” Grasso added.
The question of what will happen to the CAT brand in Australia is more complex, but by any sensible analysis Truck e-News believes that the new arrangements may see the CAT on highway brand disappear.
The original arrangement was a marriage of convenience to largely to help CAT clear some obsolete engines. Now with ties between Navistar and CAT all but over in the USA, we believe CAT’s local on highway brand may be over.
It was confirmed by Grasso that the Internationals would come in CBU (completely built up) but did not rule out that perhaps at some point in the future that PKD (partially knock down) kits could be assembled at Iveco’s Dandenong plant, once the heart of the famous International brand’s Australian operations.