GM, Navistar Partner to Build Commercial Trucks

TerraStar_Dump II

In an aggressive play to further penetrate the commercial truck marketplace, GM and Navistar International Corp. have entered into a long-term partnership agreement to produce medium-duty Class 4 and 5 trucks.

GM walked away from the medium-duty segment in 2009 when it killed the Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick work trucks, but it has reconsidered and teamed up with longtime chassis and engine builder Navistar. Ford partnered with Navistar on the two-generations-ago Super Duty lineup, but had problems with the Navistar-built 6.0-liter V-8 Power Stroke. Ford eventually severed its relationship with Navistar and moved Super Duty powertrain responsibilities in house.

A joint press release reports that Navistar will add as many as 300 jobs and invest more than $12 million in new equipment and facility upgrades to produce the new trucks. GM has not announced what investments it will make.

According to Automotive News, Navistar has struggled to keep top executives and improve cash flow due to previous issues regarding emissions compliance and technology strategies on some of its heavy-duty engines.

Production of GM's new commercial duty truck is scheduled to begin in 2018; early reports say Navistar will be responsible for the rolling chassis and GM will supply the commercial components and engines.

Manufacturer images


Navistar Terrastar 2 II



@Jeff S.

You are right sir. I re-read the post and can't fathom how I got it wrong (apart from wrong-ness!). Need new glasses.

LMAO - I re-read it and this is just Navistar's investment so I assume that will be for a Navistar plant. The link to Automotive news says at Springfield, Ohio. That link also points out, "he future products will be jointly developed using Navistar's rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities, and GM commercial components and engines."

That begs the question, "What kinds of commercial components does GM make?"
They sold Allison and Detroit Diesel.

GM has also partnered with Isuzu for cabover trucks so it does appear that GM plans on a full on re-entry into the MDT market.

I spoke with our International dealer today because I have 4 trucks down at this time. I asked him about the merger, the Maxforce 7 and the DT466. He said the DT is gone now. as I expected the DT could not be made to meet emissions due to the HUEI injection system. It is just not designed for emissions engines. The maxforce 7 he is surprised it is still around because it was supposed to be done with at the beginning of this year. He also confirmed the fact that the M7 is a terrible engine for International. Failure after failure. I suspect the introduction of the ISB is going to be the small filler for both engines. He also said that the duramax is also supposed to be seen on the International side also. Just not the GM version. It is yet to be seen as we are at least a year out.

Allison transmissions are pretty much the mainstream hydraulic automatic transmission. I would doubt that the Allison would not be offered in the GM truck. Fully automated manual transmissions are seen in the larger class trucks and I have yet to hear of them in the smaller class trucks.

I have heard that Aisin makes a medium duty transmission but I cannot think of a time where I have seen it listed as an option or even heard of anyone using one.

I'll do some rumormilling here. It's fairly well known that GM has the next-gen Duramax out in dually test mules. My guess would be that GM will be timing the release of the new engine with this medium duty partnership's first fruits. And GM being the powertrain supplier in this deal supports that notion. If GM uprates the next Duramax to produce a reliable 900+ TQ, that would be the perfect application for Navistar's chassis. It is a bit curious that GM seems to have decided not to also do uprated pickup chassis for 4500/5500-level trucks. The next few years will be interesting.


But GM's name won't be on these trucks, Navistar's will. This article is confusing things for some people: don't forget that GM is already in the medium duty space with 3500 HD, 4500 HD, and 5500 HD trucks from their partnership with Isuzu (which are all over the place, BTW). This deal with Navistar is merely allowing them to expand their engine customer base, not about GM co-opting a new crop of medium duty products on a lark.

Navistar is the one selling these trucks, not GM. So GM has found an outlet to expand its Duramax brand in the same way Cummins is with their engines. All GM has to worry about is the reliability of their powertrain, which Isuzu can help with. Navistar's reputation in diesels went down the drain during their partnership with Ford. Here comes GM to power these trucks while Navistar does the rest.

Sounds like a strategic win to me.

The durastar is or should be a 26 to 33 gvw unless it a 4400 durastar with a tandem axle. The n9 and isb are great in this truck. The Dt is a legend in medium duty trucks but is based on dated design. Most of the big truck makers are going towards a proprietary truck making there own engines, trans and rear ends. International seems to be getting in bed with eaton, allison ,meritor, Fabco, and especially cummings more and more. This will benifit a customer when it comes to service and having the most vital part of your trucks designed by the best and most experianced. The Durastar has Nothing to do with GM, I believe.
Read my comment above about the Terrastar, this is the truck that intl is working with gm on. Maxxforce 7 is out of credits (needs a engine, ISB WILL NOT FIT SADLY)and the Terrastar is above and beyond what dodge and ford produces vocationally. Terrastar is quieter, turns better, better visibility , larger cab, stronger frame, allison tran, diamond logic multi plexing for bodybuilders. A WORK TRUCK LIKE A 4300 OR 4400 OR WORKSTAR, NOT A LEATHER SEAT CADITRUCK.

@DenverMike--The fact you cannot see the use of a truck like this Navistar makes me wonder how much knowledge you have about trucks beyond the HD F series Fords. Businesses that use this type of truck are not going to use HD pickups and most are not interested in 4 wheel drive but in having this specific type of chassis which can be used on anything from a school bus, flat bed, EMS, and other like application. As for parts these trucks are not that hard to get parts for and International has been making this type of truck for years. Ford made a similar truck to this but sold that part of their truck division to Sterling. GM has heavy duty pickups but does not currently have anything in this range. I don't see where GM has anything to loose from this venture with Navistar.

Nothing against the bigger Ford trucks that share cabs with pickups but the type of customer that wants this type of truck will not be interested in that. Same for the Isuzu cab over trucks because a business that wants a cab over does not want a larger version of an HD pickup. This article is covering a truck that has less meaning to most readers on a site about pickup trucks except that GM is re-entering this market. Different types and sizes of trucks for different purposes. If anything a truck like this Navistar is more of a truck in the true sense than most modern day pickups which have become more like a luxury sedan.

@Carpinions - Navistar needs GM for what?

And actually, GM is not getting into the MDT game to sell Isuzu engines for Isuzu. There's zero point in that.

GM absolutely intends to put their GMC Topkick and Chevy Kodiak brand names on Navistar chassis' and Isuzu engines because it's the quickest/cheapest way to jump into the segment with the least in-house engineering/investment.

Another reason is the more MDTs they sell, the more of their pickups, vans, etc. they sell to the same Fleet buyers needing a multiple units for different (levels of) needs. The MDTs help sell GM pickups/vans/etc and vise versa. GM wants full-line commercial trucks, small to big, everything in between.

@Kurt - 26K and 33K trucks are class 6 and 7. We're talking class 4 and 5 here.

There's great opportunity in the smaller classes for GM, as is for Ram and Ford, if done right. GM failed in this segment before. What will they do different?

@Jeff S - I'm not saying my commercial truck "needs" are exactly like all buyers/users in this (class 4 and 5) segment. But look around and you'll see that the cab-overs are a niche segment, mostly for cube trucks needing the smallest footprint available.

The 'pickup based' offer the most versatility, meaning most of the things we love specify on regular pickups, carry over to class 4 and 5 MDTs.

Think about how cab-over "pickups" would sell to a mass American market. Yes midsize pickups, 1/2 tons, 1 ton crew cab and dually pickups in cab-over configurations??

The 'pickup based' class 4 and 5 MDTs are loved and preferred for a reason. Or I should say, many reasons. And it's not just 4wd. A 20,000 lbs GVWR "pickup" is the best of both worlds.

@Denver Mike--This Navistar is not a cab over, but Isuzu and Mitsubishi make cab overs. A medium size commercial truck is not the same as an HD pickup. My grand dad had an International Loadstar which was very similar to this Navistar and he also had an IH half ton pickup. His Loadstar was a flatbed tilt bed with a tandem axle and a hydraulic dump bed. He had solid sides that would enclose the bed to haul grain and he made some sides to haul livestock. I realize that today many use trailers for much of this but his truck was set up to do a lot of things that a 4 door crew cab pickup cannot do. Ford use to make the same type of truck as did GM and Dodge. Not as lucrative market as 50k crew cab pickups with heated and cooled leather seats, navigation, connectivity, blind spot monitoring, moon roof, and a host of other features that are found on luxury cars and suvs which are not meant for the commercial use.

As for a cab over they are used for retail deliveries such as appliances, electronics, furniture, and reefers for food deliveries which is not something that suburbanites or urban cowboys will do. My garbage collection service uses an assortment of trucks that are cab overs and Navistars. Again to assume that everyone should use a pickup truck for all commercial and business purposes is not realistic. I guess next you will say that a larger HD pickup should replace a tractor trailer. You need to realize that this article is about a truck that most individuals would never buy and does not sell in the volumes of F series Ford pickups but then it does not compete with them. I think that PUTC should have not posted this article on a pickup truck site where most readers are only interested in the most powerful luxury pickup on the market.

@Denver Mike--It is not so much that GM failed in this market as they were near bankruptcy when they gave up on the Kodiac and Top Kick. These trucks would never sell in the volume that a Silverado/Sierra and GM needed to conserve their resources. Dodge abandoned this market in the late 70's and Ford sold their heavy duty truck division to Sterling. More profit in 50k luxury pickups and that is where Ford put their resources toward which for Ford was a good decision. Just because a car and light truck company gets out of the business of making heavy trucks does not mean there is no market for them. Navistar (International) has many more years of experience than Detroit has in these types of vehicles and the medium size to tractor trucks is their core business. It makes much more sense for GM to joint venture with Navistar than to use resources to develop their own--much less risk.

@Jeff S - The Kodiak and Topkick failed for being a van-cab Frankenstein with electrical gremlins and extremely poor quality issues. They also failed because of the F-450 and F-550, XL to Lariat.

Basing these classes off of HD pickups makes sense in a multitude of ways. Not just for the manufacturer but for the commercial user.

Why not take full advantage of all that's gone into making the HD Silverado/Sierra platforms strong contenders??

GM made a bad choice then, and they'll do the same again. GM is GM. Except now Ram is in the picture with the HD pickup based/platform 4500 and 5500.

The 'pickup based', up to 20,000 lbs commercial trucks is the best thing to happen to that class. Only since '88 for class 4 "cab-n-chassis" (16,000 lbs) and '99 for class 5. Their payload is almost equal to 26,000 lbs, class 6 because you're talking a much lighter chassis. Win/win all around.

@DenverMike--I don't think a lot of commercial users would agree with your assessment. GM has HD trucks and doesn't really need another HD truck. The Navistar truck is an existing truck, all GM is doing is adding their power train to it. These trucks will probably be made in the Navistar Springfield OH plant so GM does not have to even use their own existing plants. You are one of the few commentators on this site that thinks this venture is a bad idea. Sounds more like a fan boy comment.

@ Jeff S - There's a world of difference between a 13,000 lbs HD3500 and a (potential) 20,000 lbs "HD5500". Meaning all the millions of buyers that have bought class 4 and 5 'pickup chassis' Rams and F-series' have absolutely zero use for an HD3500, unless they specifically need an additional class 3 truck.

But all Navistars are Hecho en Mexico. All prior F-650/F-750s were Navistars and NAFTA imports. If you think this MDT GM truck would be made half in Mexico and half in the US, guess again.

The Navistar truck is an existing truck, all GM is doing is adding their power train to it.

Posted by: Jeff S | Oct 8, 2015 11:45:39 AM

Not really a GM powertrain but more the diesel engine. International uses DANA rear axles, Meritor front axles, multiple manual transmissions and Allison automatics. Not sure at this point what part if any of the cab will be a reflection of GM or if International.

Also remember the Ram, GM, and Ford trucks including their 4500 and 5500's will use OBD2 while international uses heavy duty 9 pin diagnostics/communication. Most light duty dealers do not have the equipment to work with 9 pin. I have to believe that the new all Ford 650 and 750 will also use 9 pin but since it is all Ford maybe OBD2. I am curious about that.

Failure GM + Failure Navistar = BAILOUTS!!!!

Maybe it will work. Maybe it wont. Navistar has definitely lost a major outlet for product with the messy divorce from Ford over the 6.0 POS Power Stroke. I would like to think GM is smart enough to give a polite "thanks but no thanks" to the DT365 (which is a turned down turbo blowing dog in the government box trucks I work with that have it) as their Duramax/Alison combo is far superior. Not to hijack the thread but I don't understand the people who defend the 6.0. Even if they have had a personal positive experience with it (and I will confess it does sometimes happen), ultimately those that didn't were far too numerous and the results/costs of their experiences and ultimately the break up of Ford and Navistar clearly declare this engine to have been a failure of nearly legendary proportions. And then you get the guys... "its a good engine If you... (fill in the blank with EGS delete, head studs, 2 to 4K of modification...). And I look at them and scratch my head because in my mind a really good engine just needs fuel and oil changes for the first 200ishK.

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