Star burst

The LoneStar, designed to please both business-minded and image-conscious owner-operators, is “much more emotional and a reflection of who you are,” says Dee Kapur, president of the Navistar Truck Group.

Navistar International takes truck design to a new level with its new LoneStar, which boasts a prominent V-shaped grille, plenty of stainless and dozens of customizable features.

Company research of owner-operators identified the challenge in designing a truck for them: “How do we marry efficiently the best of our products with the boldness and pride these people demand?” says Dee Kapur, president of the Navistar Truck Group.

No existing truck had strong aerodynamics and other fuel-efficient qualities and yet had the “individuality and pizzazz” that owner-operators prefer, says Tom Baughman, vice president and general manager for Navistar’s heavy vehicle center. “The dilemma was you couldn’t have both,” he says. In filling that gap, he says, LoneStar creates what International calls the “advanced classic” category.

The fully tricked model unveiled in February at the Chicago Auto Show had what Baughman calls a “complete array of lights” and no shortage of shiny metal to reflect the show’s bright lights. The LoneStar will have 42 available factory accessories, including hardwood flooring and proprietary mag wheels.

Fuel savings with a LoneStar will match or exceed by as much as 2 percent that of competitors’ aero trucks, saving up to $1,200 a year in fuel costs, says Ron Schoon, chief engineer for aerodynamics. Compared to classic-styled trucks, that savings will be 5 percent to 15 percent, or $3,000 to $9,000, he says.

The truck will start around $125,000 with a standard sleeper interior, Baughman says. The LoneStar Suite, the premium interior model, will cost $135,000 to $140,000, depending on options, says Steve Gilligan, assistant general manager of International’s heavy vehicle center.

There are no plans to phase out any Navistar 9000 model to make way for the LoneStar, Gilligan says. International’s 2-year-old ProStar will not compete with the LoneStar because it is a lower-cost, more aero-efficient truck, officials say.

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Standard on the LoneStar will be ABS and a choice of roll stability systems by Bendix or Meritor Wabco, says Lenora Hardee, chief engineer for human factors and ergonomics. Traction control will be optional.

The truck is “best in class in terms of interior noise,” she says. Additional sound and thermal insulation is optional.

Will the LoneStar design, being so distinctive, get old too quickly? No, says David Allendorph, Navistar’s chief truck designer: “We’re not going to stick around with this design too long.” Just as buyers will customize the truck, so Navistar will modify it as needed, he says.

The LoneStar will be available for order in April. Production will begin in August at Navistar’s plant in Chatham, Ontario, with deliveries starting in the fall.

LoneStar Specs
ENGINES: Cummins ISX, 435 hp to 600 hp; Caterpillar C15, 435 hp to 550 hp
TRANSMISSIONS: Fuller 10-speed manual; Eaton Fuller 10-, 13-, 15-, 18-speed manual, AutoShift 10-, 18-speed manual, UltraShift 10- speed fully automated manual
FRONT AXLES: Hendrickson, Meritor, Dana Spicer. 14,600-lb. maximum
REAR AXLES, TANDEM: Meritor, Dana Spicer. 46,000-lb. maximum
BBC: 195.8 in.
WHEEL BASE: 6×4: 280-in. maximum
SLEEPER: 73-in. high rise
CAB WIDTH: 96 in.

International says its new MaxxForce 13, a 13-liter engine, will be available on the LoneStar in 2010.

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