On Feb. 4 I visited Navistar’s world headquarters in Lisle, Ill. for the company’s always-informative Analyst Day. Last Analyst Day I attended was in 2012 and it turns out that’s the last time they hosted one. Navistar has been in a state of transition and found that in the last couple years there was still too much uncertainty to bring analysts together to discuss the near-term future of the company.
This year, however, the transition to an SCR product line has been pretty much completed. CEO Troy Clarke said the equivalent of a 10-year turnaround has been completed in just two years at Navistar. And most importantly the company felt it had a good-news message to share with the investment community, and also the industry press.
The big news of the day was that Navistar is setting out to become the uptime leader, something the company feels is attainable and will help it win back share. It unveiled a new marketing message: “It’s Uptime at International.”
The immediate goal is to reduce dwell time at dealerships by 25%, but executives said that’s just the starting point.
“We believe we can gain a competitive advantage by being the uptime leader in our industry,” Clarke said. “Uptime is our new mission.”
Of course, the other OEMs will have something to say about this, so it won’t be a cakewalk to establish itself as the uptime leader. Every OEM is focusing more sharply on improving uptime and the industry is better off for it. Any improvements by any OEM in this regard will be welcomed.
Navistar says it’s currently building the best trucks it has produced in a decade. That too is welcomed news. I was surprised to see how many subtle enhancements have been, and are being, made to its ProStar. Small things like removing weight and improving the design of various parts of the truck. Things you wouldn’t notice when looking at it unless they were pointed out to you, as they were to us at Analyst Day.
Navistar execs were upbeat at their Analyst Day and look to have righted the ship. Here you can read more about the new uptime mission at International and here’s some more info on the improvements they’ve made to their product line.
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