PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A new International vocational truck, which will replace the PayStar, will be unveiled in February and will start hitting dealer lots in April.
Jeff Sass, senior vice-president, North America truck sales and marketing with Navistar, told Trucknews.com at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition that the new truck will be called the HX series. It will make its debut at World of Concrete and will be available for purchase by April 2016.
The new series will include a full line of options and configurations, including: set-forward axle; set-back axle; long hood, short hood, 13-litre power; 15-litre power, front and rear power take-offs, etc.
“Everything that’s needed for construction and vocational markets,” Sass said. “It’s been a while since we had a full product line, since we shifted to the SCR system.”
The truck has been developed by Navistar, but drawing on “synergies” that existed under its previous alliance with Caterpillar. The truck will feature an aluminum cab and brand new interior. It will replace the PayStar immediately upon its launch.
Sass, who was recruited in June from Paccar, where he spent 20 years serving in 11 roles across five divisions, said he’s been travelling extensively since joining the company, meeting with fleets and dealers in the US and Canada.
One of the products the company has been pushing is its OnCommand Connection remote diagnostics platform. It’s an open architecture system, allowing fleets to monitor all their vehicles – not just International brand trucks.
Sass said the company now has 150,000 trucks covered by OnCommand Connection.
“Only half of them are Internationals,” he said. “We have 23 different telematics providers that have integrated with our OnCommand Connection and we are able to therefore monitor Petes, Kenworths, Freightliners, Volvos – whatever the case is. One fleet just told me they have half Internationals and half another brand, but all of them are on OnCommand Connection.”
Sass said the ability to monitor an entire mixed fleet through one portal is the biggest benefit to fleets and differentiator from other remote diagnostics systems in the market.
Navistar is now looking to bring over-the-air engine reprogramming to its customers, so that engine updates can be done remotely.
“Instead of having to bring the truck into the dealership and get hooked up and do an engine re-flash, we can do that through a WiFi connection at a fleet’s terminal,” Sass said.
That offering is entering the pilot testing stage with select fleets. The goal is to commercialize it in the first quarter of 2016, but Sass said there’s still some work to be done.
“Two things are mission critical with that before we go commercial,” he said. “First is security. We can’t have a 12-year-old in Norfolk, Nebraska on her laptop reprogramming trucks – it has to be secure. Secondly, if you have your truck at a dealership and a software glitch happens, someone is there taking care of it. If we do it over-the-air and it’s in the fleet’s yard, there has to be a 24/7/365 technical support hotline they can call that will have someone on the other end who will know what the fix is, because the last thing we want to have happen is a glitch and not be able to run that truck the next day because no one is there to take care of it.”
Navistar is in the process of building the establishing the tech support and security systems that will address reliability and security. Typically, engines require a couple software updates per year, so fleets will immediately benefit from being able to update their engines without taking their trucks to the dealership.
Over-the-air programming will also reduce congestion at dealer service bays, which should improve throughput.
Further down the road, more spectacular benefits are possible, Sass said.
“In the future, a customer driving from L.A. to Green Bay, Wisc., where you go through the desert, through Vegas, up over the Rockies, and into the plains states – what if we can send them before they take off, a fuel map that optimizes based on its GPS coordinates so that it changes as they head into the Rockies? That way, you can optimize your fuel economy not just of that truck, but for that actual route,” Sass said, noting that capability is still some time away.
Over-the-air reprogramming will initially be offered only on Navistar engines, with Cummins engines added soon after.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies