Quality Built-In to Every Step for Increased Customer Satisfaction
WARRENVILLE, IL, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - International Truck's new
industry-leading aerodynamic class 8 tractor, the flagship International(R)
ProStar(TM), is rolling off the assembly line as scheduled at the company's
state-of-the-art Chatham, Ontario, plant. A gradual ramp-up is planned to
ensure the highest quality for this new-from-the-tires-up vehicle.
Five years in development, the new International ProStar is designed to
provide best-in-class fuel economy, unparalleled driver satisfaction,
unprecedented uptime and the lowest cost of ownership. Assisting the company's
on-schedule performance has been a major $270 million modernization of the
Chatham facility, including a complete reconfiguration of the assembly line.
The plant and its experienced workforce play a significant part in the
tractor's dynamic innovations.
"In all my years working with vehicles, I've never seen a product launch
this flawless. We've tested and retested the product design and production
process under every possible scenario to be sure we're ready for full
production," said Tom Baughman, vice president and general manager, Heavy
Truck Group, at International. "Our unparalleled assembly process sets the
standard for manufacturing heavy trucks. The additional time being spent on
quality control delivers what our customers are looking for and more."
In addition to the pre-production quality build last fall, International
has planned a gradual ramp up to full production. International started with
10 units a day to ensure an exceptionally high build quality is maintained.
Production began on January 29. The plant will continue to ramp up in discrete
steps during the first 60 days to reach a level of 30 units a day. Further
production increases will be dependent on the strength of the over-the-highway
tractor demand by late spring. At full production, the facility expects to
manufacture more than 100 trucks a day and employ two shifts. International
will release the first production units to customers in early March.
The renovated Chatham plant, which employs nearly 750 workers, includes
state-of the-art equipment and technology, a research-and-development facility
and advanced skills and training. The reconfigured assembly line is
streamlining the ProStar tractor's production in several ways by, among other
things, accommodating the ProStar's more modular production process. For
instance, modules for its battery box/air tank, fuel tank module,
pre-assembled and pre-painted chassis skirts and bottom-hinged, pre-assembled
bumpers are all part of the new process design that improves line throughput
Among other modernizing steps, a new chassis spray-paint booth improves
paint coverage while reducing paint usage and also makes environmental
improvements. And International officials have been working with ergonomic
experts to identify and make jobs as productive, quality-conducive and
ergonomically efficient as possible. Further, a relentless pursuit of
continuous improvement in safety has been underway to ensure the plant and its
employees adapt to a changing workplace.
International Truck has used a comprehensive ProStar training program
that encompasses all functions and upgrades the skills of plant employees in a
variety of areas, using a custom-made curriculum. The 576 workers who are
building the ProStar all have more than 10 years of truck assembly experience,
underscoring how International is driving quality in the production of the
Further, as the Chatham plant aims to establish a workplace model for
making long-haul and other trucks, the company has established a final-product
quality audit for each shift. The audit reviews five tractors per shift with
an extensive list of features and characteristics that are important to
customers, such as visibility, seat comfort and belly room and fit-and-finish.
INTERNATIONAL TRUCK GROUP: An affiliate of Navistar International Corp.
(NYSE: NAV), International Truck is a leading producer of medium and heavy
trucks for various markets including over-the-road, pickup and delivery,
construction, utility and governments. Based in Warrenville, Ill.,
International offers its products, parts and services through a network of
nearly 1,000 dealer outlets in North America and from more than 60 dealers in
90 countries throughout the world. Additional information is available at
For further information:
For further information: Sofia Hondrogiannis, (416) 960-5100,