GM Plans Commercial-Truck Venture With Navistar
Rumors are swirling that General Motors may strike up a partnership with Navistar International, effectively allowing the automaker to reenter the Class 4, 5, and 6 medium-duty truck market. This comes on the heels of GM’s recently revived partnership with Isuzu in building Low Cab-Forward medium-duty trucks.
This marks a rebuilding for GM of its commercial truck line after it left the market during the economic slow-down in 2009, killing off its 2003-2009 Chevrolet Kodiak line of trucks built using gasoline and diesel powertrains from the Chevrolet Silverado HD and the cab from the Chevrolet Express full-size van.
As for Navistar International, the truckmaker recently found itself at the end of a long partnership with Ford when the Blue Oval elected to begin building its F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks in-house. After that 2010 split, Navistar International focused its efforts on its line of Class 7 and Class 8 big-rigs, though the time was checkered with the defeat of a failed engine design and falling market share.
As Forbes reports, the team up between General Motors and Navistar International would be a mutually beneficial relationship as International would gain increased production volume and GM’s lineup of powertrain options while The General would get a strong kick start on revitalizing its medium-duty truck segment.
This deal would put General Motors in a great position product-wise, as it would have vehicles spanning from gasoline-powered cab-over trucks up to Class 6 heavyweights – not to mention its expansive line of pickups. International would likely retain control over its Class 7 and Class 8 trucks, though the added resources from GM could play a role in growing the trucks’ market share.
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Why it matters
Partnerships in the automotive segment can be very powerful. Like two global superpowers joining in arms, such an alliance can often lead to immense power, growing profits, and a wide variety of new products. However, like two superpowers sometimes do, decisions and resource allocation can sometime get the best of a good relationship. Just like Ford’s split with Navistar International in 2010, GM runs the risk of the deal going bad. However, the potential benefits for both GM and International outweigh the risks. It will certainly be interesting to see if this deal goes through and how the two companies will grow their product lines.