Navistar Expands Alabama Plant for Powertrain Production

Navistar Huntsville
Navistar's recently expanded Huntsville Powertrain Manufacturing Plant in Huntsville, Ala. (Navistar)

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Navistar Inc., a division of Germany-based Traton Group, announced it is positioned to introduce an all-new integrated powertrain to the North American market at its expanded powertrain manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Ala.

This Traton Group collaborative development program will be a global demonstration of the group’s common modular system for trucks and buses, according to Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar, which makes the International brand of trucks. A groupwide modular system, it noted, enables efficient cross-brand development and production, while still allowing for regional adaptation and validation of the integrated powertrain for the North American market.

“Navistar has worked to meet customer demand by accelerating time to market of this integrated powertrain through a modular approach and collaboration with the Traton Group’s global truck brands,” Michael Grahe, executive vice president of operations at Navistar, said in a release. “We will set a new standard of efficiency for our customers with this integrated powertrain, contributing to our path to sustainable transportation.”



Besides Navistar, Traton’s truck brands include Scania, MAN, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus and RIO.

Navistar collaborated with group brands for more than five years on the development of the integrated powertrain, the company reported. Additionally, Navistar noted it committed thousands of hours of research and development, and test miles to the validation of the integrated powertrain for the North American market.

In preparation for the North American market introduction, Navistar intends to use fleet evaluation units to collect data and real-world input with direct customer feedback from U.S. and Canadian customers.

“More details about our integrated powertrain strategy and market availability will be shared in late summer,” a Navistar spokesperson wrote in an email to Transport Topics.

Navistar broke ground on a 110,000-square-foot expansion of the Huntsville plant in February 2020 with an initial $125 million investment. An additional $65 million has since been contributed to a total capital investment of more than $190 million in the plant to accommodate increased manufacturing capabilities and to support Navistar’s future growth, the company reported.

Traton acquired Navistar on July 1 for $3.7 billion to gain access to the lucrative North American truck and bus market.

Traton is scheduled to report Q1 earnings May 4.

For the period ended Dec. 31, Munich-based Traton — which reports in euros — reported the equivalent of $432.7 million as its operating result (earnings before interest and taxes). That compared with an operating result of $89.1 million in the 2020 period.

Revenue in the fourth quarter increased to $33.7 billion compared with $24.7 billion a year earlier.

“The difficulties in the supply of semiconductors and other bought-in parts made 2021 a truly challenging year, despite the economic upturn. We managed these challenges well,” Traton Group CEO Christian Levin said at the tiime. “Our order book has never been so full.”

Navistar’s fourth-quarter truck sales were 13,852 compared with 11,261 in the third quarter, according to Traton.

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