HANOVER, Germany — Discussions between Navistar and Volkswagen, which recently led to the formation of a strategic alliance between the two truck makers, began in March and initially focused on the future of the trucking industry as a whole.
That, according to Navistar CEO Troy Clarke and Volkswagen Truck & Bus boss Andreas Renschler, who this week met with the North American truck press at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show.
“We started to talk about our visions of the future of the truck industry and that led to a series of opportunities to sit down and continue this dialogue about what the future of the industry looked like,” Clarke recalled of those early meetings. “At some point in time, we said why not see if there is something we can do together.”
The deal, which say Volkswagen take a 16.6% stake in Navistar, will also see it bring its integrated powertrain to International trucks. The two companies will also source parts together on a global scale to drive out costs and will collaborate on the development of new technologies.
“We are looking forward to a really successful alliance and I think we have a very, very good chance,” Renschler said.
Volkswagen becomes one of Navistar’s largest shareholders as a result of the deal and will have two seats on the Navistar board. Clarke said “tremendous change” is coming to the truck industry over the next decade and that the company is better suited to address these opportunities while aligned with a global powerhouse such as Volkswagen.
“It’s a really good thing,” Clarke said, noting customers and dealers have welcomed the recent announcement.
“It is, from my point of view, a natural fit at the right moment,” Renschler added.
That’s because Navistar is currently redesigning its vehicle line and Volkswagen is developing a new powertrain platform for its global markets. Joining forces now allows engineers from both companies to work together towards integrating those products. Renschler said it will be 2020 or 2021 before the new global powertrain is rolled out.
Gaining a foothold in the North American market also allows Volkswagen to pursue its goal of becoming a “global champion,” Renschler added.
Navistar benefits from gaining global scale and also gets a cash injection as the result of the deal.
“It doesn’t solve all the problems but it creates opportunities that didn’t exist six months ago for us,” Clarke said.
“Our business is operating as well as, or better than, it has in a long time,” he added. “We are well positioned for what’s next.”
Navistar CEO Troy Clarke (left), Volkswagen Truck & Bus head Andreas Renschler (middle) and Navistar CFO Walter Borst met with the truck press at IAA.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies