In simultaneous announcements, both General Motors and Navistar (the parent company of International-brand trucks) announced this week that they’ve been secretly courting each other; and they intend to get together formally, albeit in a limited way, to create a pair of new Class 4 and 5 medium-duty trucks that will wear GM badges. That will give GM two additional trucks able to compete with the likes of Ford’s F-450 and F-550.
“Bringing medium-duty conventional cab trucks back into the portfolio strengthens Chevrolet’s commitment to providing commercial customers with more choices and one-stop shopping for a versatile lineup of trucks, vans and crossovers,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM Fleet and Commercial sales in a press release.
That statement was echoed in a press release put out by Navistar on the same day (Wednesday).
Without this deal, Navistar may have had some vacant space on its assembly line after Caterpillar pulled out of its joint arrangement with Navistar and begins taking over production of its own line of trucks—they were previously built by Navistar. Cat will move production of that on-road truck line to its own factory in Texas, along with giving them some new engineering.
The new GM trucks will be built in Navistar’s Springfield, Ohio, plant, which means it gets a U.S.$12 million upgrade and an additional 300 workers to keep up with expected production demands.
The plan is to develop the new trucks jointly, using Navistar’s rolling chassis configurations as a base for GM’s own line of engines and drivetrain components. There were no announcements relating to exactly which one of its parent’s truck designs the two models would more closely resemble, other than to reveal they will have a conventional-style cab. Odds are pretty good, though, it’ll look like a beefier GM 3500HD.
Don’t head down to your local Chevy dealer looking for one just yet. Production isn’t expected to begin until 2018, putting it a couple of model years down the road.