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International’s approach to connectivity, efficiency strengthens uptime promise

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“Connectivity offers the trucking industry the potential for transformational change in productivity and efficiency. And this is an area where International really is leading the industry,” began Jeff Sass, senior vice president of North America truck sales and marketing for Navistar. Sass is speaking about Navistar’s OnCommand Connection, which continues to be revolutionary as the first single remote diagnostics portal to use an open architecture system with fleets’ existing telematics providers. Currently, OnCommand Connection is tracking more than 130,000 trucks, with about a third of them being International. According to Sass, customers are starting to see the benefit of that connectivity.

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“It’s a competitive advantage that helps our dealers and customers actively manage vehicles on the road, turning unscheduled downtime into routine service time,” he said. “We’re so passionate about connected vehicles driving value for our fleets that we are offering OnCommand Connection as standard on each and every truck we make.”

Everywhere you look, International is making sure that its focus on uptime is clear. OnCommand Connection, and the strides the OE is making in this technology, is a critical part of its uptime mission. The way Sass sees it, it’s all about the customer and driving increased uptime for their operation.

Jeff Sass.

Jeff Sass.

“Before I came to International, I knew they were making progress in product quality and uptime, but I didn’t realize how much had actually been done. Product quality at International is right there with the best in the industry,” he related. “And International isn’t only committed to delivering better trucks. There’s also a laser focus on better service. When it comes to delivering the best uptime in the industry, the International dealer network gives us a clear competitive advantage.”

International’s dealer network boasts more than 800 service locations, helping to ensure that when a truck needs service—any truck, whether it’s an International or a competitive make—chances are the International dealer is the closest dealer.

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Efficiency, spec’d

International also knows that fuel efficiency is of the utmost importance. The OE launched the ProStar ES package last December, and Sass was quick to report that customers have been more than pleased with the efficiency-focused spec package. In some applications and duty-cycles, customers are getting upwards of 9 miles per gallon with the ES, and it’s not unusual for them to get more than 10 miles per gallon.

The ProStar ES includes many efficiency improvements that go well beyond its aerodynamics. It offers down-sped powertrain options that operate at the lowest cruise and shift point RPMs in the industry. Sass explained that the International Performance Engineering team works directly with customers to tailor their trucks to their applications in order to maximize efficiency.

Market matters

Recently, heavy truck sales and orders have experienced a few dips. Yet the outlook remains positive, and Sass supported that position. In terms of International sales, Sass said that the second half of the year is typically the strongest for the company, and expects that to again be the case in 2015.

“We’re also forecasting improved market share in the second half,” Sass said. “In particular, medium-duty sales have been below replacement levels for several years. We’re seeing growth in that segment in 2015, largely due to increasing business investment and expansion in the housing market. We believe that these conditions will remain favorable for the second half of 2015 and into 2016.

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“Last quarter, we forecast that sales would increase by 20% versus the previous quarter. They were actually up by nearly 40%. Our market share was up across the board, and our order backlog for all our products is continuing to improve,” he concluded. “Bottom line, we’re optimistic that our product quality and fuel efficiency will continue to win deals in the second half, and will set us up well for continued growth in 2016 and beyond.”

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