Navistar to push 13-liter in the absence of true ’10 big bore

CHICAGO — Navistar International could very well run out of 15-liter engines before its own proprietary big bore diesel is ready, and in the meantime will try to convince heavy-duty customers next year to transition to13-liter power.

According to a report by Dow Jones Newswires, the EPA could limit Navistar’s attempt to stockpile large numbers of 2009 Cummins ISX 15 EGR engines, which it would sell in 2010-model trucks well into next year.

Truckmakers can take orders for trucks up to Dec. 31 fitted with existing EPA-approved 2007 emissions technology and even build them after Jan. 1, but cannot stockpile engines for truck ordered after New Year’s Day.

Chief Executive Daniel Ustian was questioned by investors this week whether Navistar would be able to acquire enough current Cummins engines to cover 2010 demand while the company completes development of its own MaxxForce 15 engine, which is actually based on a caterpillar C15.

Navistar, of course, is employing advanced EGR technology to meet 2010 EPA engine rules; while Cummins’ decision to go with the competing SCR solution in the heavy-duty market means an end to the supply compatibility between the two companies in that segment.

The MaxxForce 11 and 13 will fill in the
heavy-duty market until the Navistar-Cat 15 liter is ready

With 60 percent of its trucks purchased with 15-liter engines, it’s suspect whether Navistar has enough supply to carry it through until its big bore MaxxForce 15 is ready — sometime in 2011 by some estimates.

During a J.P. Morgan investor webcast conference, Ustian said he’s confident that the company’s MaxxForce 13 can do the job of a 15-liter for many customers.

In fact, until plans for the 15-liter were announced, the company was marketing both the MaxxForce 11 and MaxxForce 13 (both developed in concert with German truckmaker MAN) as its big bore engines with fuel economy upside.

The 11-liter’s top horsepower offering is 390 hp at 1900 rpm and the 15-liter’s biggest rating is 475 hp at 1900 rpm.

Ustian played down the risks for Navistar to lose market share next year, saying the 11 and 13-liter offerings provide the "potential for us to gain as many as we lose."

Also, according to the Dow Jones report, Ustian flatly rejected suggestions that Navistar adopt Cummins’ SCR system in 2010 trucks.

"Our products are running," he said. "Why would we want to invest in some other technology?"

Meanwhile, the company presses on with its lawsuit against the EPA for overlooking what Navistar claims is a "loophole" which allows rival SCR makers to build engines dependant on the urea-based NOx-busting chemical, DEF

Navistar’s hasn’t said whether its intention is to get the court to delay the Jan. 1 2010 deadline, but certainly such a scenario would benefit the truck and engine maker as it scrambles to bring a 15-liter engine to market.  

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