A MaxxForce 15 engine awaits a driver at Navistar’s Heavy Duty Boot Camp, held in Tooele, Utah, near Salt Lake City.By Jim Park, Equipment Editor
Navistar dealers from across the U.S. and Canada have been gathering at the Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City. They are here for close look at the latest product offerings from Navistar — and its competitors.
The best way to sell your product is to know what you’re selling against, says Navistar senior vice-president, Jim Hebe. That’s why he is inviting International dealers to his “Heavy-Duty Boot Camp” event. Over the next several weeks, representatives will be participating in a series of comprehensive two-day training events.
Along with insights into the features, benefits, and service support for the International ProStar + and MaxxForce 13 and MaxxForce 15 big bore engines, these training sessions also include a competitive engine tear-down and a ride-and-drive component featuring both International and competitive-make heavy-duty trucks.
“We’re providing our dealer network with the tools and information they need to serve their heavy-duty customers,” said Jim Hebe, Navistar senior vice president, North American sales operations. “We know we have the most customer-focused products in the industry and we are giving our people first-hand experience to understand not only our products and services, but all industry regulations and dynamics affecting their purchase decisions.”
Dealers and their reps have the opportunity to ride or drive any of the available Navistar trucks around a 2.5-mile road course at the Miller Motor Sports Park, along with competitive models for side-by-side comparisons.
The course features a number of right and left turns and some straight-aways long enough to get the truck up to 40 mph or so. Drivers and riders — even those without CDLs — could experience the ride and handling of the trucks as well as the interior comforts and interior noise levels at a modest road speed. In the absence of any hills, the dealer people could still experience the torque and horsepower of the engines on the straight-aways.
Dealers also had a rare opportunity to learn much more about the MaxxForce 13 and 15 engines and compare them to competitive engines, not side-by-side on engine stands, but dismantled and laid out on benches.
Tim Schick, Navistar’s director of business and product development, said the competition build some good engines, and it’s instructive to compare what they do right to what Navistar is doing right.
“When you put two camshafts or two turbocharges side by side on a bench and study how they work in their application and how they perform, we can show the dealers where we think we are superior, and that’s becomes a terrific sales tool,” Schick says. “Sometimes, we find room for improvement in our own product, too. Believe me, this is as much a learning exercise for us as it is for the dealers.”
Navistar had two ProStar + models at the Boot Camp event equipped with MaxxForce 15 engines. The engine was announced and the first prototype started up at the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2009. The service-ready engine was announced in March at the CONEXPO/CON-AGG construction industry trade show in Las Vegas.
We took several laps around the course to whet our appetites. Later, our Equipment Editor, Jim Park, took one of the MaxxForce 15 equipped ProStar + models on an extended test drive around the Salt Lake City area, including a trip up the hill on Interstate 80 heading east out of town.
Watch for Jim’s observations of the MaxxForce 15 in an upcoming issue of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
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