Navistar International says it is signing body and equipment upfitters for a special partnership that will speed body installations and lower costs for the upfitters and their customers.
Called the Diamond Partner Program, the effort focuses on connecting truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) with International dealers and providing them with a range of benefits to streamline installations, improve communication, offer body builder resources, provide spec optimization, and build relationships.
It encourages TEMs to make greater use of Navistar’s Diamond Logic multiplex electrical system used on most International trucks. Working through dealers, the builder is also identifying functions that can be better done at the factory than by upfitters.
Frame drilling for body mounting is one example offered by Mark Stassel, vice president for vocational truck business. Navistar’s frame rail supplier can pre-punch the rails far more quickly and cheaply if it knows, through Navistar, where holes should be.
“That’s so much better than a guy spending four hours drilling” at an upfitter’s facility, Stassel said. “We can punch all the holes for about 75 bucks. And that preserves the e-coat that’s lost if the frame is drilled later.”
Mainframes are e-coated through a dipping process after all factory drilling is completed, which protects against salt-induced corrosion, he explained. Aftermarket drilling, however, breaches the e-coating.
So far Navistar has signed up about 50 truck equipment manufacturers. There are hundreds of TEMs in business and “we intend to sign hundreds,” Stassel said.
TEMs that are part of the Diamond Partner Program receive a number of benefits that include:
- Application Engineer: When a TEM signs up for the Diamond Partner Program, they are given an assigned application engineer who is responsible for their account.
- Spec Review: International will send a cross functional team to review the TEM’s chassis specifications to evaluate order content and make recommendations that could remove cost, improve delivery time, and improve vehicles.
- Joint Customer Events: A Diamond Partner is offered the opportunity to host mutual customers for a VIP customer tour of Navistar’s World Headquarters in Lisle, Ill., and a possible ride and drive events.
- Diamond Logic: TEM technicians are trained on the Diamond Logic electrical system, which integrates with the International truck chassis to deliver precise, high performance diagnostics and customized use of a vehicle’s electrical systems. In addition, as part of the program, International will waive the annual payment fee for both its Engine Diagnostic Software and Diamond Logic Builder, while enrolling members in automatic renewal for uninterrupted access.
All of these benefits are provided completely free of charge to Diamond Partners, and there is no fee for signing up.
“We believe that driving collaboration between the dealer and the TEM is how you succeed in the vocational truck business,” Stasell said. “The Diamond Partner Program encourages these interactions in a way that completely changes the way that we and our dealers work with TEMs.”
Vocational trucks are a major focus of Navistar, and it is growing its share of vocational business. This requires considerable effort because whereas on-highway business is composed of two segments, general freight and lease/rental, vocational includes six segments – one of them construction -- and 34 subsegments, he said.
Navistar has doubled its share of vocational truck business in this year’s first quarter compared to last year, and gained six percentage points in its share of medium-duty business, Stassel said. International offers four truck models for vocational users: Class 8 HX and HV, Class 6-7 MV, and now the Class 4-5 CV, which recently entered production.