Apr 1, 2008 12:00 PM
On the Eve of World War II and in the years following, the International D-Series pickup truck set the pace for a rapidly changing America. Nearly 70 years later, the classic styling of that pickup became the inspiration for the new 2008 International LoneStar.
Sporting a sleek chrome grille that contributes to an aerodynamic appearance, the Class 8 tractor combines state-of-the-art performance with classic automotive-inspired design.
The LoneStar debuted in early February at the Chicago Auto Show.
Executives at Navistar, which produces International trucks, said they believe they have created a new category of heavy-duty trucks that they are calling “Advanced Classic.” It is where technology and innovative styling converge with next-generation aerodynamic design to deliver superior fuel efficiency.
LoneStar also sets a higher standard for comfort, they said, through improved ergonomics, an industry-leading suspension, advanced electronics, and a quiet cab.
“This truck is unlike anything on the road today,” said Daniel C Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The International LoneStar closes the gap between workstyle and lifestyle for driving professionals, combining peak productivity with emotional appeal.
“It is the product of Navistar's culture of relentless innovation, and embodies the spirit both of today's driving professionals and the dynamic, transforming energy inside our company.”
Dee Kapur, Navistar Truck Group president, added: “Our customers told us they want three things: A truck that makes a statement about the driver, comfort on the road — whether working or resting, and the combination of fuel economy and serviceability that helps them make more money.
“LoneStar delivers on all accounts. Now, drivers don't have to compromise. They can have it all — looks, efficiency, comfort, functionality, and productivity.”
LoneStar is a breakthrough product that resulted from a breakthrough process, said Navistar executives. The truck progressed directly from math and clay models to production, without any development prototypes. The development team used digital-development and rapid-prototyping design tools to their maximum advantage.
“Our engineering team, which has diverse backgrounds in the automotive, aerospace, and trucking industries, felt confident that we could develop this truck without spending months in prototyping,” said Tom Baughman, vice-president and general manager for the Navistar Heavy Truck Vehicle Center.
“We built off the experience from ProStar, which we launched just over a year ago,” he said. “The design team had good data, good computational alignment, and good calibration between our digital tools and the field-test vehicles we built for ProStar.”
International touts its ProStar as “the most aerodynamic, fuel-efficient Class 8 truck on the road today.”
The cutting edge design effort for the LoneStar added up to a bold design with plenty of opportunity for customization. Exterior features include the stylized grille, long rounded hood, wide and curvy bumper, and stacked halogen headlamps.
LoneStar offers sophisticated ride and handling, class-leading quietness, and the luxurious and functional Suite interior that rivals many offices and living rooms, Navistar executives said. The interior is as distinctive, innovative, and practical as its skin.
After listening to hundreds of driving professionals, the design team developed an interior that has a level of comfort and functionality typically found in recreational vehicles.
Daycab and sleeper models give the LoneStar the ability to serve in short-haul and long-haul applications. The standard sleeper cab is a 73-inch high-rise. Sleeper options include International's MaxxSaver auxiliary power unit.
Among the interior's features is wood flooring in the sleeper cab, sofa-bed design with back pillows, pull-down bed with 42-inch premium mattress, swivel chairs, closed “airline” cabinets for maximum storage, workspaces to plug in laptop computers and work in a desk-like setting, mini refrigerator, and the critically acclaimed Monsoon stereo system with 11 speakers, sub-woofer, and amplifier.
LoneStar is projected to be 5 to 15 percent more fuel efficient than classic trucks, equating to an annual savings of $3,000 to $8,000.
“The aerodynamic design of LoneStar's hood, windshield, and side skirts will save money,” said David Allendorph, Navistar Truck Group's chief designer. “Truck pros can have a unique, customizable truck that will reward them at the pump. When you are spending $1,000 or more with each fill-up, you really appreciate the fuel efficiency of the LoneStar.”
An efficient drivetrain also contributes to fuel economy. Standard equipment for the tractor includes a 435-horsepower Cummins ISX diesel engine, Fuller 10-speed transmission, and Meritor drive tandem with Bendix antilock braking and International's IROS air-ride suspension.
Power options include ISX horsepower ratings up to 600, and Caterpillar's C15 engine rated at 435 hp to 550 hp. Customers also can specify Eaton automated transmissions, Dana drive axles, MeritorWABCO antilock braking, and Bendix and MeritorWABCO stability control systems.
The LoneStar will be available for order from nearly 900 dealer locations in North America beginning this month 2008. Production is set to begin in August at Navistar's plant in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. Customer deliveries will start in this fall 2008.
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