An In­ter­na­tional flavour

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - WITH JAMES STAN­FORD

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

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