Chicago 2008: LoneStar semi might just create green envy in trucking industry

I've already heard a lot of wonderful oneliners about the just-unveiled International LoneStar. Over at Autoblog, someone writes that those Escalades are getting bigger every year and here at the Chicago Auto Show, we're pretty sure this name is a misprint. LoanStar is a more accurate name for this sleek new monster.

The reason we're covering such a huge semi on AutoblogGreen is that Navistar/International is making a big deal about the fuel efficiency gains to be had when using the LoneStar vs. other trucks with that traditional flat grille. There were even electricity-generating windmills in the promotional video for the LoneStar that was screened before the big reveal. Dee Kapur, the president of Navistar Truck Group, introduce the LoneStar and said that what his company was trying to do with this machine was to marry efficiency with the pride in their trucks that longhaul drivers demand. Officially, International estimates the LoneStar will use around 15 percent less fuel than "classic trucks," which should result in fuel savings of between $3,000 to $8,000. Guess buyers can use the savings to pay down the Loan. Actually, we don't know yet how much this truck will cost but deliveries will start this fall.
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Press Release:

New Flagship Product Blends Striking Design, Fuel Economy, Comfort

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2008 – The deep-throated roar of a big bore diesel engine wrapped in a sleek chrome grill announced the arrival today of the world's most innovative big-rig truck. Navistar International Corp. (Other OTC: NAVZ) unveiled its International® brand's new flagship product, the visually stunning and technologically advanced LoneStar, at the Chicago Auto Show.

With a striking, aerodynamic appearance and breakthrough functional innovations inside and out, the International® LoneStar® is the result of extensive customer research and automotive-inspired design – a new truck that changes the game for today's trucking professional. It creates a new category of Class 8 trucks called "Advanced Classic," in which technology and innovative styling converge with next-generation aerodynamic design to deliver superior fuel efficiency. LoneStar also sets a higher standard for comfort – 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 CEO. "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 innovatation, and embodies the spirit both of today's driving professionals and the dynamic, transforming energy inside our company."

"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 servicability that helps them make more money," said Dee Kapur, president, Navistar Truck Group. "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. The truck progressed directly from math and clay models to production – without any development prototypes.

"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, Navistar Heavy Truck Vehicle Center. "We knew we had a winning truck, and we wanted to make it available to our customers as soon as it could be ready."

LoneStar features advanced ride and handling, class-leading quietness and the luxurious and functional Suite interior that rivals many offices and living rooms.

Automotive-style features built into the LoneStar include:
Standard ABS
Roll stability
Traction control
Bluetooth Integration for hands-free phone use
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Automotive-style dash and gauges with rosewood or titanium trim
50-degree wheel cut

LoneStar's interior is as distinctive, innovative and practical as its skin. After listening to hundreds of driving professionals, the design team developed an interior that features a level of comfort and functionality typically found in recreational vehicles.

Interior highlights include:
Wood flooring in the sleeper cab
Sofa-bed design with back pillows
Swivel chairs
Closed "airline" cabinets for maximum storage
Monsoon stereo system with 11 speakers, sub-woofer and amplifier
Pull-down bed with 42-inch premium mattress
Workspaces to plug in laptop computers and work in a desk-like setting
Mini refrigerator

"In an average week, a truck driver may spend 120 hours in his or her truck – driving, eating, sleeping, running a business, even entertaining friends," said David Allendorph, chief designer for Navistar's Truck Group. "We designed the LoneStar's environment to be both highly functional and comfortable. No other truck's interior delivers the style, comfort and practicality we have built into the LoneStar."

Fuel efficiency is increasingly important for truck owners. LoneStar is projected to be five percent 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 them real money," Allendorph said. "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."

The distictive grille and sloped hood were inspired by International's D-Series trucks, which helped transform America's cross-country transportation in the early 20th Century. A restored and modified example of that truck, the DMAXX, also is on display at the International booth.

The LoneStar will be available for order from nearly 900 dealer locations in North America beginning in April 2008. Production of the trucks will begin in August 2008 at Navistar's plant in Chatham, Ontario, Canada and will be delivered to customers in fall 2008.

In addition to the LoneStar and DMAXX, other Navistar vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show include the International MaxxPro™, Navistar's mine-resistant military vehicle that helps protect the U.S. military from roadside bombs; a military version of the International MXT that includes Raytheon's advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (SL-AMRAAM) launcher; and the civilian International MXT, an extreme pickup truck launched at the Chicago Auto Show in 2006 that can haul nearly eight tons and tops out at $135,000.

About Navistar
Navistar International Corporation (Other OTC: NAVZ) is a holding company whose wholly owned subsidiaries produce International® brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce brand diesel engines, IC brand school buses, and Workhorse brand chassis for motor homes and step vans. It also is a private-label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van and SUV markets. The company also provides truck and diesel engine parts and service. Another wholly owned subsidiary offers financing services. Additional information is available at

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