LISLE, Ill. – International has launched its new HX Series vocational truck, giving it a more driver-centric design based on driver and fleet feedback.
The new HX Series represents the first product released under Navistar’s 4.0 strategy and its Project Compass initiative, which focuses on flexible, modular designs. As such, it borrows the LT cab, but with modifications to ruggedize it for severe service work.
A three-piece hood is crack-resistant and stronger than fiberglass, according to Mark Stasell, vice-president, vocational truck with Navistar. He gave trucking editors a virtual walkaround of the new model this week, just prior to an online public launch.
“The cab interior is the driver’s command center, so every inch needs to be attuned to their needs,” said Stasell. “Designed directly from driver feedback, the new HX Series is built to be the most driver-oriented vehicle in your fleet.”
More comfortable seats were chosen based on feedback from fleets and drivers and the cab is now larger, with bigger windows for improved visibility. The truck can be spec’d with International’s highest-end trim package, Diamond Elite, and with a new line of heated and ventilated seats. The cab is structurally reinforced for severe service applications, and is protected with ChemGuard and LineX against corrosion.
“In the past you had to choose between the corrosion resistance of aluminum or the strength of steel,” Stasell noted.
He said the HX provides the strength of steel with no weight penalty, and it’s backed by a 10-year perforation warranty, attesting to the company’s confidence in its corrosion resistance.
The front of the truck boasts a stylish mesh grille with bright surround, and marker lights are now LED, providing better nighttime visibility and longer life. A range of custom spec’s are available, including stainless steel visors, bright finish mirrors and additional stainless styling options. The HX comes with dual external air cleaners, providing better filtration on dusty job sites, Stasell explained. “It’s the only vocational truck to offer functional dual external air cleaners, retaining that classic look,” he said.
There are two models available: the set-forward axle HX520, and the set-back axle HX620, both with a 120-inch BBC and with a full range of sleeper sizes. The shorter BBC offerings have been discontinued.
Dual steering gears and an advanced anti-lock braking system contribute to improved turning, traction and control on job sites, Stasell noted. The standard engine offering is International’s A26 with up to 500 hp, but the Cummins X15 is also available in both models, providing up to 605 hp and 2,050 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission offerings include a full line of Eaton Fuller manuals, Allison 4000 Series automatics, and the Eaton UltraShift automated manual.
The segment still sees healthy demand for manual transmissions, with about a 40% market penetration, with automatics (40%) and automated (20%) making up the rest.
“There’s a trend more towards the automatic and automated transmissions,” said Bruce Vasbinder, director, severe service product marketing with Navistar. “Manuals are on the decline and a lot of that is attributable to the driver capability that’s out there. It’s also a safer truck when you have less interaction with the gearshift and can keep your eyes up on the road where they belong.”
To handle heavy loads and rough terrain, the HX is built with a 12.5”x0.5” single frame rail option. The frame is huck-bolted and crossmembers on the chassis minimize movement and wear.
In addition to a larger cab, International’s Diamond Logic electrical system was leveraged to allow auxiliary systems to be controlled from the dash, freeing up more interior cab space.
“Gone are the days of awkward control boxes mounted between the seats,” said Stasell. Diamond Logic also simplifies body installation.
Bendix Wingman Fusion can be spec’d on the HX for the first time, offering collision mitigation, an increasingly important feature for vocational operators, according to Vasbinder. While the uptake of active safety systems still lags the on-highway segment, vocational truck operators are increasingly asking for it, he added.
The HX is also supported by International’s OnCommand Connection suite of real-time remote diagnostics.
“Navistar 4.0 and Project Compass are focused on putting the customer at the center of everything that we do, and that customer focus is crystal clear in our brand new HX Series,” said Friedrich Baumann, president, sales, marketing and aftersales. “I can truly say without hesitation that the new HX Series is built entirely around our customers, designed to help them reach new levels of success.”
International has brought the new truck to market in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, forcing changes to how engineers and designers collaborate.
“It’s been an interesting year, to be in the middle of a major launch like this,” said Chad Conley, vice-president, vocational sales. “We’ve had ups and downs and some hurdles more on the supply side. Internally, the program team really rallied and worked together, even though at many times it was virtual. Engineers have found ways to use video and stream live feeds from the plants so that engineers who couldn’t be there could be a part of it. We found ways to get this done and we worked with our supply base to overcome those hurdles.”
Despite the challenges, Conley said the program was completed on schedule. “I’m really proud of the team and the effort they put in to get there,” he added.
Navistar executives expect to gain share in the construction segment with the new HX Series and see a healthy vocational truck market in 2021. International is taking orders for the new HX Series now, with production set to begin in early 2021.
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