An International flavour
AMERICAN truck brand International is coming back to Australia. Owner Navistar says the big US rigs will return to our shores later this year.
Formerly known as International Harvester, the make had a huge presence in Australia, building trucks in Dandenong as well as tractors and engines in Geelong, before financial troubles led to its agricultural arm being sold off.
Its Geelong plant was closed and the Dandenong factory was taken over by Italy’s Iveco, which built several International trucks under licence, including the Acco.
Then in early 2010, Navistar ended that relationship and International on-highway trucks were no longer made or sold in Australia. Small numbers of International off-highway trucks and other equipment such as cherrypickers go to mining operators.
Navistar launched the new Cat Truck range just after ending its relationship with Iveco. These were reconfigured International trucks with unique specification and, importantly, Cat 11.0 and 13.0litre engines, which were not available with any other truck model.
Now, the management of Navistar’s Asia Pacific division believes there is room for both the International and Cat Trucks brands.
This time around, the International trucks will not be made locally by Iveco, but will be built at Navistar’s Springfield, Ohio factory, alongside the Cat Trucks that come to Australia.
Navistar AusPac will lay out its plans for the International brand in Australia at the Brisbane Truck Show on May 14, but Working Wheels can confirm it will launch with the aerodynamic ProStar model.
This is the model Cat Truck CT models are based on, but the Cat rigs now have some unique features and specifications.
International will start off with a ProStar prime-mover with day cab or sleeper to operate in regular semi or Bdouble hauler configuration.
The ProStar will not be fitted with Cat engines and will only run Cummins ISX powerplants. Navistar AusPac decided against the Navistar 13-litre engine available in the US as it felt most Australian operators would prefer the larger Cummins engine. International won’t limit itself to the Prostar.
Navistar AusPac sales and marketing chief Glen Sharman says more will be coming. “The model range will grow, both onroad and off-road,” he says.
There are plenty of trucks that could be made available, should Navistar be prepared to invest in building them in righthand drive.
International has eight different models in its US lineup, including the construction-oriented TerraStar and WorkStar as well as the 9900i, a long-bonneted highway cruiser in the Peterbilt 389 mould.
The most eye-catching International is the LoneStar, a unique model that blends hotrod design with a heavy duty truck.
Introduced in 2008, the LoneStar has a long sloping bonnet with a massive chrome grille and V-shaped bumper.
Sharman wouldn’t confirm whether the LoneStar would come to Australia. “It is definitely in our sights,” he says.
The LoneStar‘s bonnet won’t suit B-double work in Australia, where the length of the cab is factored into the maximum measurement. It could sell as a premium single-trailer model aimed at operators who want to stand out in the crowd.
The ProStar is a goodlooking truck that also has excellent aerodynamics and International says it is one of the slipperiest trucks on the road. Roof fairing, side cab extenders and a chassis skirt deliver significant fuel savings.
A super-efficient 10-speed Eaton Fuller Advantage automated manual transmission will be an option.
The new transmission assesses road grade, vehicle weight, engine torque and throttle position to decide the optimum ratio.
The ProStar will be the first
International to arrive
Eye-catching: The LoneStar