Navistar’s Bill Kozek made a splash in the trucking industry earlier this year when the announcement came through that he would be leaving his post as general manager at Peterbilt to assume the role of president, North American Truck and Engine Business, at Navistar.
Overdrive and CCJ Equipment Editor Jack Roberts talked with Kozek in a one-on-one phone interview this week to discuss why he made the move to Navistar and what lies ahead for his new employer, including challenges it faces and opportunities it sees.
The full interview is on Overdrive sister site CCJ, but below are a few highlights. Click here to see the full interview.
Q: What current “hotspots” have you identified as your top priorities and what can you tell us about your plans to deal with them?
Kozek: Our top priority now is to restore International’s reputation in the marketplace and regain the sales momentum we had before the 2010 emissions problems. That’s it, plain and simple.
And how we do that is by visiting our customers day in and day out and showing them the new ProStar+ with either the Cummins ISX15 or the MaxxForce 13 engines with selective catalytic reduction.
And by doing that, we can restore customer confidence and demonstrate to them that we provide the lowest cost of ownership proposition in the industry today.
And really, if you want me to be honest, that simple mission is really my first, second and third priorities today.
Q: Have you been out talking to fleet and Class 8 customers, yet? If so, what are you hearing from them in terms of concerns and how are you preparing to address those concerns?
Kozek: I always get the same question: What were you thinking?! (Laughs)
But I always give them the same answer: I wanted to be here at International and I’m glad to be here.
But, you know, what I hear over and over again is that they really want Navistar to be successful. And they want our products to be good and they ultimately want our products.
And we’re out there now with our Cummins option and our Cummins SCR solution. And we’ve got seed units running successfully in fleets now. And it’s really refreshing to be standing in front of them with a good story to tell and not have to apologize for the products we’re selling today.
Again, even at the height of our woes, our customers never stopped pulling for Navistar. And at the end of the day, they know Navistar is here to take care of their trucks. Our customer service is the best in the industry.
And our dealer network – one of the main reasons I’m here today, by the way – is very strong in both numbers and quality.
So we’ve got a lot of good things to talk about today when I’m out with our customers.
Affected trucks include model year 2008-2018 Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 4700, 4900, 5700 and 6900 trucks. DTNA says after hard brake applications, the brake light pressure switch may not activate the brake lights with the light application of the brake pedal.