Navistar, Volkswagen forge closer alliance; announce powertrain, electric truck collaborations

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Forging an ever-closer alliance between the two companies, Navistar and Volkswagen announced work on several projects including a new integrated next-generation powertrain and an electric truck to launch in late 2019 or early 2020.

Just as noteworthy, when speaking with reporters following the official Navistar press conference at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show inside the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Andreas Renschler, member of the Executive Board of Volkswagen AG responsible for commercial vehicles, did not rule out Volkswagen taking a larger stake of Navistar in the future. Volkswagen holds about 17% of Navistar stock.

“On our way to being a global champion, all options are open,” he said in response to a question on the subject. Volkswagen also owns MAN and Scania.

Renschler also hinted at a possible commercial van at some point for International. “We are looking to see if there are certain products or opportunities on the commercial side,” he said about Volkswagen’s van plans.

On the topic of collaboration Troy Clark, Navistar president & CEO, announced that the two companies will work on a next-generation of fully integrated big bore powertrains, with a likely launch in 2021. The powertrain is expected to take advantage of a new Joint Procurement program that is designed to secure components and parts from suppliers for all the global truck brands under the companies’ portfolios.

The alliance will also produce a new connected vehicle program, joining Navistar’s OnCommand system with Volkswagen’s Rio system.

“This will serve as the first step in creating a global [group of] about 650,000 vehicles with OnCommand and Rio,” Clarke said.

The third big announcement was the new electric truck. Clarke said the vehicle will be a Class 6-7 product for North America and that the alliance with Volkswagen is allowing Navistar to move quickly on projects, including electric trucks.

Volkswagen showed an all-electric MAN tractor last year in Europe and Renschler said the company has supplied an Austrian company with 10 of the models for testing.