LOUISVILLE, KY. Navistar debuted its new International LoadStar, a low-cab-forward work truck aimed at severe-duty applications last evening here at the Mid-America Trucking Show. According to the OEM, the LoadStar was “designed from the ground up with input from drivers and fleet managers” and is targeted at applications in the waste, concrete pumping and airplane-refueling markets among others. 

(Video: Jim Hebe, senior vice president, introduces the new LoadStar)

According to Navistar, key features of the LoadStar include:

  • Stainless steel cab to minimize corrosion and increase durability
  • Vocationally designed variable-depth frame rails for maximum durability, lighter weight, lower frame rail heights and better ride characteristics
  • Ergonomically designed cab interior, including excellent control placement
  • Diamond Logic capabilities that provide  seamless body integration for increased safety and ease of operation in specific applications
  • Integrated powertrain powered by Navistar MaxxForce engines, featuring CleanBurn emissions technology—or optional natural gas version, due out in the next year

“We talked to drivers to better understand their needs and what is missing from the trucks they drive,” said Jim Hebe, Navistar senior vice president, North American sales operations. “To fit driver needs, we optimized the space in the cab, increased seat and steering wheel movement, and adjusted joystick placement to deliver an outstanding ergonomic and customizable work environment.  The exterior boasts the signature appearance and design of the International Truck brand.”

(Video: See the formal introduction of Navistar’s new LoadStar)

Featuring a standard tilt/telescoping steering column and 10i. fore/aft and 6.5-in. up/down seat travel, LoadStar’s settings, the OEM noted, “provide for unprecedented belly room.”  In addition, a wide 90 deg. door opening and 18-in. first step height provide drivers with maximum comfort. Boasting superior driver visibility and up to 40 degree wheel cuts, according to Navistar, the LoadStar “delivers excellent maneuverability.”

“There are only 6,000 to 8,000 trucks sold a year in this segment,” pointed out Hebe. “[We built this truck because] we strongly believe in satisfying vocational markets.”

The truck is available with diesel-powered 10, 11 or 13L MaxxForce engines and the Cummins Westport ISL-G compressed natural gas engine (CNG) will become available in spring 2013. LoadStar will be available for ordering this October and will reach full production in January 2013, the OEM noted.

Navistar also introduced OnCommand Connection, a vehicle-support program that provides visibility to important vehicle information while a truck is on the road. Integrated with Navistar’s MaxxForce engines, it was made capable as a result of the OEM’s vertical product integration and leveraging the OnCommand suite of after-sales support services. OnCommand Connection uses truck performance data to proactively interpret and anticipate needed maintenance, the company explained.

OnCommand Connection is currently being piloted, and will be available as a standard feature on model-year 2013 International ProStar+ trucks with a free two-year subscription to the service.

“OnCommand Connection is an example of how Navistar develops innovative products that help customers improve vehicle uptime,” said Phyllis Cochran, president of Navistar Parts. “We created OnCommand Connection to help convert unscheduled maintenance into scheduled maintenance so customers can keep trucks on the road.”

According to Navistar, OnCommand Connection works through a device installed in the vehicle.  The device detects engine events and vehicle service requirements through engine performance data on the engine control module. When an alert is detected, a message is sent to the Navistar OnCommand Customer Support Center.  An OnCommand Repair Advocate then identifies the closest International dealer, confirms that the needed parts and tools are available, and then contacts the customer to schedule the needed maintenance appointment.

Navistar also announced it has re-launched ‘Life on the Road,’ an online community for professional truck drivers, that seeks to raise awareness of the profession’s benefits and address the unique needs of drivers. Through Facebook, Twitter and at industry events, drivers will be invited to share opinions and ideas as well as receive tools, incentives and information to enhance their career, safety and health.

 “Drivers are an incredibly valuable work force with distinctive needs,” said Michael Cerilli, Navistar’s vice president of marketing.  “This online community gives them a way to voice their opinions and needs, and enables us to participate in the dialogue and provide new ways to improve their productivity and lifestyle.”