Navistar Hopes to Recapture Work Truck Leadership with HX Series

Navistar International Corp. made a play to get back into the heavy duty work truck business, unveiling the HX series of vehicles at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas Monday.

This is the first all-new vehicle from the Lisle, Ill. truck manufacturer since 2010.

“We want to be a great truck manufacturer again,” Troy Clarke, Navistar’s chief executive told TRUCKS.com.

The company exited the heavy duty work truck market – vehicles that include cement mixers and dump trucks – about five years ago after making the wrong bet on diesel exhaust technology.

Navistar attempted to introduce trucks that relied solely on a pollution-cutting technology known as gas exhaust recirculation to meet federal standards for nitrogen oxide emissions.

That method of controlling pollution, however, prevented Navistar from producing the 500 to 600 horsepower engines needed for a heavy duty work truck.

The sole reliance on gas exhaust recirculation also created reliability and fuel economy issues for its other trucks and tarnished the manufacturer’s reputation.  Navistar has since migrated to the urea injection exhaust system used by the other makers of diesel trucks.

The new HX trucks use two different engines. One is a 13-liter diesel built by Navistar and rated at up to 475 horsepower. The larger engine is a 15-liter Cummins ISX rated at up to 600 horsepower.  Both use the urea injection exhaust system to meet federal regulations.

“We are renewing our entire product portfolio over the next 18 months,” Clarke said. The HX Series gives Navistar the opportunity “to recapture a leading position in the vocational market – a segment we previously led,” Clarke said.

Navistar wants the HX to attract customers like Corey Seckerson, owner of M&P Contracting in Phoenix. Seckerson, who operates a 45-truck fleet of debris haulers, is looking to replace his aging trucks.

“A lot of my trucks are seven to ten years old,” Seckerson said. “I need to update the fleet to get better fuel economy and have less downtime and repair expenses.”

He’s cross shopping the HX against a similar offering from Kenworth, which prices out at about $195,000 fully equipped with body. He liked the new Navistar vehicles.

“Those trucks are nice. They are quiet and the transmission is smooth shifting,” said Seckerson after at test drive at the Dig This Heavy Equipment Playground, just a mile from the Las Vegas Strip.  “The turning radius is really good.”

Clarke said Navistar already has orders for about 132 trucks and will start deliveries in April.

Check out the video below to see the HX Series premiere in true Las Vegas fashion:

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