International launches new LoneStar tractor

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By Randy Grider

International Truck and Engine on Feb. 7 unveiled its new flagship tractor, the LoneStar, at the Chicago Auto Show. The futuristic-looking LoneStar merges the classic styling preferred by chrome lovers with aerodynamic design and technologies sought by fuel-conscious owner-operators to create a new Class 8 category called “Advanced Classic,” the company said.

The LoneStar is projected to be 5 to 15 percent more fuel-efficient than classic trucks, equating to an annual savings of $3,000 to $8,000, the company said. The LoneStar’s aerodynamic hood, windshield and side skirts will save truckers “real money,” said David Allendorph, chief designer for Navistar’s Truck Group. “Truck pros can have a unique, customizable truck that will reward them at the pump.”

Unusually, the truck progressed directly from math and clay models to production without any development prototypes. Company engineers “felt confident that we could develop this truck without spending months in prototyping,” said Tom Baughman, vice president and general manager of the Navistar Heavy Truck Vehicle Center. “We knew we had a winning truck, and we wanted to make it available to our customers as soon as it could be ready.”

The LoneStar is the result of automotive-inspired design and extensive customer research, including interviews with hundreds of drivers, International said. The LoneStar offers improved ergonomics, an industry-leading suspension, advanced electronics and a quiet cab, according to the company. “Now, drivers don’t have to compromise,” said Dee Kapur, president of the Navistar Truck Group. “They can have it all — looks, efficiency, comfort, functionality and productivity.”

The distinctive grille and sloped hood were inspired by International’s innovative D Series trucks of the 1930s, which boasted pontoon fenders, split windshields and passenger-car looks. “This truck is unlike anything on the road today,” said Daniel C. Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and chief executive officer, adding that the LoneStar combines “peak productivity with emotional appeal.”

The LoneStar’s automotive-style features include:

  • Standard ABS;
  • Roll stability;
  • Traction control;
  • Bluetooth integration for hands-free phone use;
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel;
  • Automotive-style dash and gauges with rosewood or titanium trim; and
  • 50-degree wheel cut.
  • “In an average week, a truck driver may spend 120 hours in his or her truck – driving, eating, sleeping, running a business, even entertaining friends,” Allendorph said. “We designed the LoneStar’s environment to be both highly functional and comfortable. No other truck’s interior delivers the style, comfort and practicality we have built into the LoneStar.”

    Interior highlights include:

  • Wood flooring in the sleeper cab;
  • Sofa-bed design with back pillows;
  • Swivel chairs;
  • Closed “airline” cabinets for maximum storage;
  • Monsoon stereo system with 11 speakers, subwoofer and amplifier;
  • Pull-down bed with 42-inch premium mattress;
  • Workspaces to plug in laptop computers and work in a desklike setting; and
  • Miniature refrigerator.
  • The LoneStar can be ordered from International dealers beginning in April for fall delivery. Production will begin in August at Navistar’s plant in Chatham, Ontario.