Thursday, 24 April 2014

Navistar to boost truck output in Mexico

Navistar International is to boost production rates in the second half of 2014 at its heavy truck assembly plant in Escobedo, Mexico, according to Transport Topics.

The company will also raise output at its bus assembly plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It is just 16 years almost to the day since Navistar International Corporation announced in 1998 the opening of its new $167 million truck assembly facility in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Approved by Navistar's board in October 1996, the 700,000 square-foot plant was the company's first new assembly plant in 20 years. It was constructed in only 12 months and designed to meet Mexican and Latin American truck and urban bus demand.

The company stated that International brand medium and heavy trucks and buses built in Mexico would be assembled using International diesel engines manufactured at the company's Melrose Park, Illinois facility and cab assemblies stamped at Navistar's Springfield Ohio truck plant.

The trucks also would meet Mexico's local content requirements of 50 percent.

According to the latest Transport Topics, the Escobedo plant will boost its average daily production rate by about 24%. Navistar’s truck assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, will maintain its current production rate as several facility upgrades are completed and lean manufacturing principles are implemented to drive long-term efficiency and product quality improvements.

“We are seeing some positive trends in the industry, but more importantly we are seeing good customer response to our product offerings in the market,” chief operating officer Jack Allen said in a statement. “As a result, we are increasing our second-half production rates at two of our vehicle manufacturing operations.”

“In the Class 8 market, we have a complete portfolio of products that deliver the uptime, fuel economy and driver satisfaction our customers demand,” Allen said. “We’re seeing strong interest from customers for the Cummins ISB engine in our medium-duty trucks and school buses.”

The latest reports will be good news for Melrose Park employees. In February of this year we reported that Troy Clarke, Navistar International’s chief executive officer, had bitten the bullet and ordered the closure of the Huntsville plant of Navistar Diesel of Alabama LLC with the loss of 280 jobs.

Production of the plant is set to move to Navistar’s Melrose Park facility, adding about 75 jobs.

The Melrose Park plant, in Chicago, Illinois, according to Navistar, makes a variety of diesel engines from 6 litres to 9 litres, namely the MaxxForce DT (previously the DT466), MaxxForce 9 and MaxxForce 10 engines. The facility has a combined manufacturing and office floor area of 1.5 million square feet.

Navistar has been troubled by poor management decisions prior to the arrival of Clarke who is endeavouring to turn the company around, including use of Cummins engines.

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