LISLE, Ill. – Volkswagen powertrains will be coming to Navistar trucks by 2019, the two companies revealed during a conference call this morning.
There was no immediate word on what the newly formed strategic alliance will mean for Cummins, Navistar’s current engine supplier.
“Cummins is a great partner for us and the Cummins engine in our product is an outstanding product,” said Troy Clarke, president and CEO of Navistar. “I anticipate we’ll continue to offer Cummins products for a period of time…we’re not speculating or making announcements in that regard today.”
Volkswagen announced today it has taken a 16.6% stake in Navistar. Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, said the time was right to partner with Navistar, because of where Volkswagen is in the production cycle of its next generation powertrain. Partnering now allows the companies to work together on development of the powertrain and integrating it into International trucks in North America.
“For us, it was the right timing,” said Renschler. “Because we are at the moment designing new powertrain components for the whole world…Now Navistar joins us at the right time so we can develop them together and start to see real economies of scale.”
Clarke said the strategic alliance is built on four pillars: A US$256 million cash injection from Volkswagen will improve its liquidity position; the two companies will jointly pursue strategic technological and supply collaboration; the truck makers will conduct the strategic sourcing of parts globally; and a separate board will be formed to oversee the joint venture. Volkswagen will also add two members to the Navistar board of directors.
Current Navistar board members James Keyes and Michael Hammes have resigned from the board.
Clarke said the partnership should bolster confidence among Navistar customers that the brand is on solid footing.
“This will relieve anxiety on the part of some of our customers,” he said. “I fully anticipate we’ll increase consideration of our products, which will drive market share…it gives us the opportunity to get on the balls of our feet again.”
While North American truck orders are currently soft, Clarke said Navistar has increased its order share for eight consecutive months. Bringing a vertically integrated powertrain to its products with the help of Volkswagen will benefit customers, Clarke said.
“There is a well established trend in the industry globally along vertical integration,” he said.
“We can deliver a captive powertrain for Navistar,” Renschler added.
In the meantime, Navistar continues to update its complete product line. Clarke said the first vehicle to be launched as part of its Project Horizon will be revealed later this month. Renschler predicted the partnership will make Volkswagen one of Navistar’s most important technology partners going forward. With the alliance announced, the two companies will begin working together on product development that will include not only the engine, but also axles, transmissions and aftertreatment systems, Renschler said.
The two truck makers now boast global truck and bus production of about 260,000 units per year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies