Phil Christman, newly installed vp & gm of International Truck & Engine Corp.'s severe service division, believes the customization needs of the vocational market will increase in the near future, even as tighter emissions regulations make such customization more challenging.

“The ability to customize is a very big deal in this market,” Christman told Fleet Owner during Waste Expo last month. “Look at our revised WorkStar truck model.”

A bigger hood and grill on the WorkStar enable it to accommodate emissions-compliant engines without dropping the radiator between the frame rails, allowing customers to maintain front engine PTO capabilities without affecting the radiator, he explained.

“Another big issue is making our vehicles as ‘road ready’ as possible when they leave the factory so body installation time can be minimized, yet integration between body and chassis improved,” he added.

He said International's multiplexed electrical wiring, combined with its Diamond Logic electronic control system, allows for faster “plug and play” between the chassis and the body.

“Our next big challenge is to keep doing all of this as we meet the 2010 emission standards,” Christman said. “We need to make that transition as seamless as possible, minimizing the impact on how customers use their vehicles and on their operating costs.”