Navistar, GM partnership could spell end for TerraStar

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Updated Oct 1, 2015
The International TerraStar 4×4 was the 2014 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year according to the American Truck Dealers.The International TerraStar 4×4 was the 2014 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year according to the American Truck Dealers.

Navistar’s plans to join General Motors (GM) in an effort to produce new Class 4 and 5 trucks could bring significant changes to International’s product line.

Bill Kozek, Navistar truck and parts president, says his company sees the coming truck as an upfitter-friendly replacement for the International TerraStar, the 2014 Medium-Duty Commercial Truck of the Year.

“I could see it being a pickup bed, a stake bed, a box truck,” Kozek says of potential applications. “Primarily in the construction-type segment on the International side.”

The two companies have reached a long-term agreement to develop and assemble medium duty, conventional cab commercial vehicles in 2018 at Navistar’s facility in Springfield, Ohio. The joint venture will rely on Navistar’s chassis and assembly experitese while leveraging GM’s powertrain and engine.

Kozek says Navistar and GM will work together to develop the trucks’ cab and other specifics, but is quick to point out that there is more than three years for the relationship to evolve between today’s announcement and greenlighting the assembly line.

“There is a lot of work to be done from engineering and manufacturing procurement,” he says.

GM spokesman Bob Wheeler declined to speculate on the engine or powertrian options that would be featured in the trucks but says the trucks will be co-branded, with Navistar and Chevrolet dealers each getting a version with “some cosmetic differences” between the two.

Kozek speculated International models would likely trend more to the Class 5 segment while Chevrolet-branded models trended more toward Class 4 heavy pickups, but noted both companies are likely to have entries in each segment.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]