Navistar is working on rolling out more models under its reborn International name plate over the next few years but Navistar Auspac chief engineer Adrian Wright says any new models will only be launched once they have been through an exhaustive appraisal and only if they present a strong business case.
Wright was answering questions about the possibility of Navistar introducing its People’s Choice Truck of the Show, the LoneStar Blade, which at the moment is not on the agenda but may be considered down the track.
The LoneStar Blade doesn’t make sense for Australia because it’s dimensions aren’t right for our regulations but that is not to say it might make sense in some niche areas, but we will consider all that and see how things work out,” said Wright.
“For now, Blade is the only LoneStar in Australia and apart from the ability to draw a crowd, it perfectly showcases the design skills and engineering initiatives inherent to the modern International.”
At the same conference during the Brisbane Truck Show, Navistar re-iterated its support for the CAT brand despite some question marks over the long-term commitment to on highway engines by ‘Big Yella’.
Navistar AusPac director of sales and marketing Glen Sharman told us that there is at least five years life left in the ACERT 15 and that by then other developments will change the complexion of the industry.
“Five years is a long time in the truck industry and I am sure CAT’s commitment to the on highway truck market will continue and develop in that time,” said Sharman.
“We (Navistar) is committed to the CAT brand and believe it provides us with a valuable brand to market alongside our own International nameplate and allows us to offer customers a CAT powered and branded truck alongside a Cummins engine International truck,” he added.
“There is massive loyalty to the CAT brand as we have found out since we brought the brand here under our joint venture with CAT,” he said.
Navistar initially returned to the local market back in 2010 in the joint venture with CAT under the NC2 moniker, however in 2013 Navistar took over the entire operation under the Navistar AusPac umbrella and now operates it exclusively.
Sharman said that CAT trucks will continue to be sold through the existing CAT dealer network, which he says has reappraised and considered its commitment to on highway sales as a result of the mining downturn.
“The mining downturn has provided those dealers with an opportunity to pursue on highway truck sales and that is proving very successful for many of them as more and more yellow machines are parked up with mining coming off the boil,” he said.
In regards to dealers for the new International brand, Sharman says that there have been extensive discussions with a number of dealers around the country and that some dealers who sold International in its past life had approached Navistar to sell the new range of trucks in the future.
International has a long history in Australia over more than 100 years and there is an awful lot of loyalty there as well, so we are confident that we will have a very strong dealer network for the brand in Australia as we roll it out,” Sharman concluded.