Navistar, American LaFrance to co-build vocational truck lineup

CHICAGO — Just over a month after agreeing to build a severe service truck with Caterpillar, Navistar International announced that it plans to team up with American LaFrance to develop and manufacture low cab-over engine (LCOE) vocational trucks.

American LaFrance, which exited from Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few weeks ago, mainly manufactures emergency apparatus like pumpers, ambulances, and rescue trucks.

The initial product focus will target the refuse and construction segments for domestic and global markets with future products planned for additional vocational segments. The vehicles will be assembled at American LaFrance’s Summerville, S.C. manufacturing facility.

The joint venture will build upon the engineering platform of American LaFrance products and further enhance the product offering with proprietary Navistar components.

Navistar engines will be incorporated within the product offering with a goal to meet the 2010 EPA emission requirements.

The companies have commissioned teams to focus on truck and engine opportunities. The deal is subject to completion of due diligence, execution of definitive agreements and regulatory approvals.

American LaFrance was owned by Freightliner LLC up until December 2005, when it was sold to New York investment firm, Patriarch Partners LLC.

Perhaps it’s worth noting that Navistar’s newly-named senior VP of North American sales, Jim Hebe, first started his career in the heavy vehicle business 35 years ago with American LaFrance, before moving to then-named International Harvester — now Navistar.

Hebe eventually went on to lead Freightliner before leaving the commercial side of the industry. Most recently, he returned to Navistar International earlier this year.


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