General Motors Co. says it will reenter the Class 4 and 5 truck market, but this time will bring along Navistar as a partner.
The two companies announced Tuesday they have reached a long-term agreement to develop and assemble future medium duty, conventional cab Class 4 and 5 commercial vehicles.
The move allows Navistar to strengthen its product lineup and GM to expand its Chevrolet commercial truck portfolio.
“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,” says Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM Fleet and Commercial Sales.
The future products will be jointly developed using Navistar’s rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities, and GM’s commercial components and engines. GM spokesman Bob Wheeler declined to speculate on the engine or powertrian options that would be featured in the truck.
The vehicles are slated for production in 2018 and will be manufactured at Navistar’s facility in Springfield, Ohio. Navistar plans to add 300 jobs and invest more than $12 million in facility upgrades and state-of-the-art equipment to produce the new vehicles.
The trucks will be co-branded, with Navistar and Chevrolet dealers each getting a version with “some cosmetic differences” between the two, Wheeler says.
Bill Kozek, Navistar truck and parts president, says his company sees the coming truck as an upfitter-friendly replacement for the International TerraStar, trending more to the Class 5 segment.
“I could see it being a pickup bed, a stake bed, a box truck,” he says. “Primarily in the construction-type segment on the International side.”
Kozek speculated International models would likely trend more to the Class 5 segment while Chevrolet-branded models trended more toward Class 4 heavy pickups, but noted both companies are likely to have entries in each segment.
Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Additional product information will be announced later.
Such an arrangement is not unfamiliar territory to Navistar. Last year Ford formally broke off its relationship of more than a decade with Navistar. Under the Blue Diamond venture, Navistar built medium-duty trucks that were sold at Ford’s commercial-truck dealerships. Navistar (along with Cummins and Allison) was left behind when Ford elected to integrate its powertrain and bring manufacturing in-house beginning with the 2016 model year.
This is also not unchargeted water for Chevrolet. In June, the company announced would partner with Isuzu to distribute Chevy-badged low cab forward trucks built by Isuzu.