International truck launch makes Vegas-style impression
March 1, 2001
If you want to stand out in a city famous for glittery, top-notch performances, you'll need a five-minute drum roll, high-volume smoke machines, blinding pyrotechnics and a line of medium-duty trucks ...
If you want to stand out in a city famous for glittery, top-notch performances, you’ll need a five-minute drum roll, high-volume smoke machines, blinding pyrotechnics and a line of medium-duty trucks that transform the face of the industry.
Just ask the more than 2,500 invited guests who witnessed the launch of International’s new High Performance Trucks; it was an entrance that will echo through the industry for some time.
The new line includes the 4000 Series, which is already rolling off the assembly line, and the 7000 and 8000 Series, which enter full production in December and October respectively.
“We’ve traditionally been a bit of a gorilla in the medium-duty market,” says Steve Keate, president of International’s truck group. In Canada, the company’s dominance may even elevate it to King Kong status, considering its long-time success in the realm of market share.
Part of the festivities in Vegas included a ride-and-drive for all who attended, followed by the opportunity for dealers to immediately place orders to stock their lots and for fleets to be among the first to purchase one of the much ballyhooed units.
In fact, by 9:30 a.m. — less than two hours after the truck was officially available to the public — more than 1000 of the High Performance Trucks were already sold to fleets across North America. This included a more than healthy 131 units destined to dwell on Canadian soil.
According to John Bowen, manager of Canadian sales operations, the company is expecting great acceptance of the new medium-duties north of the 49th.
“This is a product that has practically been designed for the Canadian market,” he contends. “Canadian customers have always been willing to spend a little more to get added features. On these trucks the extra features, such as a chrome grille and a tilt wheel, are included.”
The High Performance 4300 and 4400 series of medium duty trucks are outfitted with advanced and integrated powertrain packages with enhanced versions of the International DT 466 and DT 530 mid-range diesel engines. The new powertrain features Intuitive Shifting controllers. Specially engineered combinations of International I-6 engines and Allison automatic transmissions are programmed to respond to driver input and vehicle load, shifting early under a light load and later under a heavy load.
“The integrated powertrain plays a huge part in giving these new medium-duty trucks the feel, handling and responsiveness that is much more automotive-like,” says Dan Ustian, president, engine group, International Truck and Engine Corporation.
The International automatic shift schedules, co-developed with Allison Transmission, shift in a wide range of applications. Manual transmission gear ratings have also been developed specifically for International engine power characteristics. An integrated electronic control system sees pedals that are ergonomically designed to provide comfort and better responsiveness to the driver’s foot movements.
International has also provided for improved driver comfort with a new HVAC system increasing air-conditioning, heating and defrosting flow, an easier driver entry system with low offset steps, wide door openings and grab handles positioned inside the cab, and enhanced visibility with sloped hood and windshield redesign for better peripheral vision.