Navistar nets 40 million Obama bucks

WAKARUSA, Ind. — Navistar, which makes International trucks, joined a lengthening line of federal grant recipients when President Barack Obama presented the manufacturer with almost $40 million.

The plan: Develop all-electric utility vehicles.

According to a statement from Navistar, the company plans to produce 400 all-electric vehicles in 2010, with the goal of rolling out several thousand of these vehicles annually within a couple years.

The federal money is part of an unprecedented $2.4-billion investment in 48 similar projects across the United States.

What’s more, that multi-billion-buck plan is part of a bigger, $784-billion stimulus scheme, which was meant to kick-start the world economy.

Critics still can’t agree whether it’s working or not.

The Wakarusa plant, where Obama made the announcement in front of hundreds of Navistar employees, is located in America’s manufacturing heartland, which has been hit especially hard by the economic downturn.

And while Navistar is in the final stages of a joint venture with Modec of the U.K. to produce and sell electric Class 2 and 3 vehicles in North, South and Central America, Obama has stated that he wants no part of other manufacturers exporting cars and trucks into his America.

As he said in another Indiana speech: "I don’t want to have to import a hybrid truck, I want to build a hybrid truck here.

"I don’t want to have to import a windmill from someplace else, I want to build a windmill right here in Indiana."

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