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Navistar to Build GM's Cutaway Vans

June 09, 2016, by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo of the 2016 Chevrolet Express cutaway courtesy of GM.
Photo of the 2016 Chevrolet Express cutaway courtesy of GM.

Navistar, Inc. has reached an agreement with General Motors to manufacture GM's Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cutaway vans at its Springfield, Ohio, plant starting in the first half of 2017.

With this multi-year contract, Navistar will add at least 300 jobs and recommission its second line at the plant. The agreement also allows GM to free up capacity at its Wentzville, Missouri, plant to build more mid-size pickups and full-size vans, GM said.

"This partnership will provide our Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant more flexibility to keep up with continued demand for mid-size trucks and full-size vans," said Cathy Clegg, GM's vice president of North America manufacturing and labor relations.

GM's Express and Savana vans are typically upfitted as utility or service vehicles, ambulance or rescue vehicles, shuttle buses, and school buses.

Under the agreement, GM will build the van cab in Wentzville and send it to Navistar's Springfield plant. Navistar will send the cab through its paint shop and outfit it with the instrument panel, seats, and other trim. Navistar will add the chassis, including engine, drivetrain, and wheels. The finished cutaway will then be shipped to third-party upfitters or the commercial fleets that ordered it using GM's ship-thru network, according to Robert Wheeler, GM's fleet spokesman.

Navistar will use only GM-sourced parts on the cutaways, and the ordering and delivery process for fleets will remain the same, Wheeler said.

Navistar primarily manufactures its DuraStar and WorkStar models at its Springfield plant. Last September, Navistar and GM announced a separate long-term agreement to develop and assemble a medium-duty, conventional cab Class 4/5 commercial vehicle at Navistar’s Springfield plant starting in 2018.

The future products will be jointly developed using Navistar's expertise in rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities, and GM's commercial components and engines. The trucks will be available under both the International and Chevrolet brands, and will mark Navistar’s reentry into the Class 4/5 market.

"Our Springfield plant is an important part of our manufacturing footprint, and we’ve been preparing it for a higher volume concentration of light- and medium-duty products as part of our manufacturing strategy," said Persio Lisboa, president, Navistar operations. "This is an important step towards our goal to drive automotive quality into the commercial vehicle industry."

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  1. 1. The Realist [ June 09, 2016 @ 11:38AM ]

    Wow, building on the success of the Terrastar and the CF500 and CF600, now we see the once-proud International Truck and Engine Corp, dba Navistar, making cutaway vans for the contractor market.

    This will further undercut the brand as well as hurt sales of competing medium-duty trucks and probably be the merciful death of Navistar.

  2. 2. Busman55 [ June 09, 2016 @ 01:17PM ]

    I disagree! Navistar is the nations biggest truck manufacturer and has been for decades. The companies who better beware are Freightliner and Blue Bird Bus Corp.! Go Navistar!

  3. 3. The Realist [ June 09, 2016 @ 01:20PM ]

    Turning their first profit in 3 or 4 years and it's $4 million? That's like me finding $4 in my couch that I lost four years ago. Navistar, sadly, is on the way out, especially with the prevalence of Cummins on the market. There's simply no reason to purchase a Navistar product anymore.

    Now, have them bring in some of that solid-core DEF technology that they are a majority shareholder of in Europe, the stuff that's being used on the buses and mass transit there, and we'll both say "Go Navistar!" together. But that won't happen.

  4. 4. Brad Scott [ June 09, 2016 @ 02:08PM ]

    Realist, couldnt have said it better. Last ditch effort to turn a profit. With the complete failure of advanced egr since 2010 against all recommendations from both Cummins and Nav engineers from 08, still problematic retrofitted N13, and N9 liter engines, I would be surprised to see Nav producing engines in the near future unless there is a Mann or Volvo savior. "Houston" we have a problem. No punn intended.

  5. 5. The Realist [ June 10, 2016 @ 05:29AM ]

    Thank you! My bus customers, for example, who were burned by the VT-365 debacle (whole other piece of Navi-junk) and who switched to Thomas, Blue Bird, etc., because they could get a Cummins ISB, have said to me: "What is my motivation to switch back to IC? Navistar screwed me on the VT-365, I still have buses limping along that Navistar refused to fix or couldn't fix, that cost me $1,000s. Offering the ISB doesn't make it better, I've been able to get Cummins engines from your competition for years. Now that I've switched, the Cummins is not reason enough to switch back."

    It's sad, because IHC/Navistar was a great company, but much like Sears and K-Mart, years of bad management and wrong decisions have gutted them.


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