Navistar will cease all engine production at its plant in Melrose Park, Ill., by mid-2018, and discontinue the medium-duty 9/10-liter engine series produced there. The manufacturer of commercial vehicles and diesel engines explained that most of the engines produced there are installed in its International® Class 6 and 7 vehicles, "for which alternative engine options are currently offered in all applications."
The suburban Chicago operation is being converted into Navistar's technical center, where it will perform truck and engine testing and validation, and used-truck sales and reconditioning. That repurposing effort started in 2010. At that time, Navistar installed a truck testing and validation center there, complementing an engine test center already in place, and bringing in numerous new engineering positions.
Navistar indicated about 170 jobs would be affected by ending engine production there, but it also noted that “a significant portion” of the hourly workers at Melrose Park are retirement-eligible. Assistance and retraining will be offered for others affected workers.
"Our N9/10 engine family was updated in 2014 and since then has served as a competitive niche offering for specific medium-duty vehicles,” according to COO Persio Lisboa. “As we approach future regulatory requirements, the low volume nature of the platform could not justify further product development investments on it."
Navistar offers a 6.7-liter Cummins engine for its Class 6 and 7 medium-duty trucks, which are branded as the International Durastar series, are employed as flat-bed, delivery and cargo trucks and used as emergency services vehicles, and larger tow trucks. It also offers a 9-liter Cummins engine option.
Navistar took care to explain that all of the engines it supplies for the U.S. market (including engines produced by partners, like Cummins) will continue to be manufactured domestically.