Navistar International Corp. announced that it began building trucks and buses powered by its 2010 EPA-compliant diesels in early summer, following extensive use of pre-'10 engines well into this year. 2010 engine production is "on track and progressing well," the company said in a press release yesterday.

"Full production of our EPA2010 products has been under way since June, and we've shipped more than 7,000 of these units in total, and more than 4,700 in the past month," said Jack Allen, president of Navistar's North American truck group. "We're now well into delivery mode and as stated previously, we are on track to deliver more than 17,000 total vehicles to U.S. and Canadian customers by the end of the quarter."

Navistar had been installing pre-2010 diesels in most of its trucks and buses for at least the first half of the year, many of them Cummins ISX models, executives had said previously. Those engines had been built before Jan. 1 and could legally be installed in trucks built thereafter until supplies ran out.

The company also said it has more than 23,000 total 2010 vehicle orders, not including long-term, multi-year contracts. It is now building 85 MaxxForce 13 engines per day, plus nearly 300 other engine models, or more than 380 total engines per day.

"Consistent with our 'buy-early, buy-late' strategy and confirmed by a number of pending deals in the works, we expect a significant increase in orders from October through December as fleets continue moving to 13-liter power and our MaxxForce Advanced EGR engine continues to resonate with customers," Allen said.

'Build-and-Hold' Initiatives

Throughout the 2010 launch, Navistar has implemented a number of quality initiatives influenced by the automotive industry, ensuring that customers receive durable, dependable trucks built to the highest quality standards.

Navistar began producing 2010 model-year engines as early as March, building and holding those engines to ensure the necessary build rate and the highest levels of quality, Allen said. The company implemented a similar build-and-hold process for vehicle production, installing those engines in trucks and buses as early as May and ensuring those vehicle exceeded stringent quality benchmarks prior to delivery.

"As we cycle through our build-and-hold processes, we'll continue to deliver thousands of vehicles in the weeks ahead as we draw down inventory of completed 2010 vehicles at our manufacturing plants," Allen added. "Our 2010 trucks are making their way into service and we're getting great feedback on their performance and fuel economy."

15-liter to 13-liter 'Conversion'As 2010 vehicle shipments continue and new orders come in, traditional 15-liter customers have come to realize the advantages of the MaxxForce 13 engine, Allen said.

"We've been successful shifting the focus from solely a displacement preference to where we're demonstrating to customers how they can get the same or better performance in horsepower and torque from our lower displacement, lighter weight and more fuel efficient MaxxForce 13," he said. "In some limited applications, there will continue to be customers that require 15-liter power and we'll provide that as we introduce our MaxxForce 15, which is currently running in six fleets."