Navistar sets out to become uptime leader

LISLE, Ill. — Navistar International is confident a new focus on uptime will differentiate it in the marketplace and help it rebuild some of its eroded share.

The company announced a new marketing campaign yesterday at its upbeat Analyst Day, centered around the tagline: “It’s Uptime at International.” This was the first Analyst Day Navistar has hosted in the past three years, and president and CEO Troy Clarke said there was positive news to share.

“I’m personally convinced our best days are just ahead,” he said, noting the company has completed the equivalent of 10 years’ rebuilding over the past two years.

“Our transition to SCR is essentially complete,” he said. “We have a full portfolio of emissions-compliant trucks available for order…they were launched on time and on budget and the data shows these are the best quality trucks we’ve produced in over a decade.”

Clarke admitted Navistar’s mission to regain market share “hasn’t happened as quickly as we had hoped,” but he said truck volumes are recovering. Clarke said the company needs to develop a “sustainable competitive advantage” and has identified uptime as an area where it can outshine the competition.

Navistar has set out to immediately reduce dwell time at its dealerships by 25%, according to Michael Cancelliere, senior vice-president, global parts and customer service.

“This 25% reduction is not the end goal, it’s a start,” he said. “You have to start somewhere. I think customers will be glad to see any improvement because it’s an industry-wide problem.”

The enabler to this improvement is OnCommand Connection, Navistar’s remote diagnostics platform, which allows it to monitor vehicle health in real-time and then advise the operator on the most appropriate course of action when a fault code is detected. Navistar says its program is unique because it’s an open architecture system that can be operated on a fleet’s existing telematics platform and also because it covers all makes of vehicles. The system has been in the market for just a year and already it is monitoring about 80,000 trucks – about half of which are non-International brands.

This is beneficial for dealers, because they can direct even competitor-built trucks to their own dealerships for service, and it also allows the company to reduce service time by having trucks arrive already diagnosed and assured the needed parts and bay space are available.

“We believe we can gain a competitive advantage by being the uptime leader in our industry,” Clarke said. “Uptime is our new mission.”

Navistar International is looking to boost sales volumes this year, especially in the medium-duty segment.

Bill Kozek, president, truck and parts, said there’s reason for optimism, singling out the Canadian market where International saw in the previous quarter its highest order intake since 2006. Kozek said Navistar is projecting 2015 industry-wide Classes 6-8 demand (including school buses) of 368,000 units, up from 342,000 units in 2014.

He said International wants to grow its medium-duty sales by an additional 4,000-5,000 units this year and is “confident we’ll regain our leadership position” in the segment.

Kozek said Navistar plans to increase its on-highway truck sales by 1,000-2,000 units in 2015 while it will see modest growth in vocational truck demand. Kozek said the International WorkStar is getting a major overhaul inside and out, marking the most significant investment in the truck in 15 years.

Persio Lisboa, president of operations for Navistar, hinted of other new products that will be brought to market over the next couple years, based on its Project Horizon program. Denny Mooney, product development with Navistar, said the new modular strategy will allow the truck maker to take cost and weight out of its entire line of trucks, while also improving aerodynamics and fuel economy.

“These trucks are in the pipeline as we speak, and will begin rolling out late next year and the following year,” he said.


James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • I hope your right, but I still remember 2008 and Mr. Hebe making the same kind of promises with the introduction of the “Always Performing” Maxxforce engines. We all know how that went! Now the Letter “N” in front of the same engines is going to save all?? “Walk the Walk before you Talk the Talk Navistar. Your company communication tactics of the past have put a lot of people in a world of hurt.