WASHINGTON. Navistar's LoneStar Class 8 highway tractor won top honors in the inaugural "Commercial Truck of the Year" competition established by the American Truck Dealers (ATD) organization. The announcement was made at the annual ATD convention held here.

Chosen by a judging panel of journalists from several trucking magazines, the LoneStar topped four other Class 8 tractor contestants – Model 386 from Peterbilt Motors Co., T660 from Kenworth Truck Co., Titan vocational daycab tractor from Mack Trucks Inc., and Freightliner Cascadia highway tractor from Daimler Trucks North America.

"It's all about product and passion," Jim Hebe, Navistar's vp-North America sales operation, told FleetOwner. "Clearly, the company focused on a combination of things in developing the LoneStar: a distinctive external appearance matched with important interior elements. We're very proud of this award."

"This is just a great shot in the arm," added Jack Saum Sr., dealer principle of the Beltway Companies – a large Maryland-based conglomerate of Navistar and other equipment dealerships. "There are two ways to look at this," he explained. "Number one is, obviously, the LoneStar is now a proven premium entry into the owner-operator truck market. But second, and more importantly, it gives us an entry with new customers. The LoneStar attracts their interest. This award only helps that."

ATD said the award will be an annual contest, with two categories beginning in 2010: one for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and the other for medium-duty Class 3-7 trucks.