Navistar announced Thursday plans to cease engine production at its Melrose Park, Ill., plant by early next year as the truck maker continues that facility’s transformation into the company’s technical center.
The move will bring the company’s medium duty 9/10 liter engines to an end.
“Our N9/10 engine family was updated in 2014 and since then has served as a competitive niche offering for specific medium-duty vehicles,” says Persio Lisboa, Navistar chief operating officer. “As we approach future regulatory requirements, the low volume nature of the platform could not justify further product development investments on it.”
Navistar reintroduced the 6.7 liter Cummins engine as an option for its Class 6/7 medium duty vehicles in 2013, and in 2016 made available a 9 liter Cummins engine option. The Cummins ISL and ISB, which now take standard position in those trucks, are manufactured in Indiana and North Carolina, while Navistar’s big bore engine plant in Alabama will continue to make engines for International Class 8 trucks.
The cessation of engine manufacturing at Melrose Park is expected to affect about 170 employees, many of which are retirement eligible, and reduce Navistar’s operating costs by approximately $12 million annually. Assistance and opportunities for retraining will also be offered to affected employees.
“Ending production anywhere is a difficult decision because it affects employees,” Lisboa says. “We continue to be committed to investing in our Melrose Park facility as we complete its transformation into a technical center that is integral to our product design, engineering and sales teams. Given the investments we’ve made, we expect to have a significant presence in Melrose Park for years to come.”
Navistar began the transformation of its Melrose Park facility in 2010 by adding a state-of-the-art truck testing and validation center on the 80-acre campus, which complemented an existing engine test center there, all of which is in close proximity to Navistar’s product development teams in Lisle and to the company’s New Carlisle, Ind., proving ground.
Over the last several months, the company added a used truck evaluation and reconditioning facility and its flagship Used Truck Sales Center to Melrose Park.
Additional consolidation in the former manufacturing space is possible in the future, Navistar says, which would allow even more employees in product design, engineering, service and sales units to work alongside each other.