Cummins and Navistar have partnered to offer the former’s X15 engine and Eaton Endurant transmission in the latter’s International LT and Lonestar series trucks.
In the first month that the combination was available to Navistar customers, approximately 4,000 orders had been placed, according to Jim Nachtman, Navistar’s Heavy Duty Product Marketing Director.
“That’s a very good indication that the marketplace recognizes the advantages of the combination,” Nachtman told MRO. “Nearly 90 percent of the LTs sold today have an automated manual transmission. We believe that the Endurant will generally replace nearly all of those.”
Rob Neitzke, Cummins’ Executive Director for Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks told MRO that the Cummins/Eaton partnership just made sense.
“If we partnered together, we could get into some product development and strategy and maybe even leverage some joint assembly and testing,” Neitzke said. “It’s a 50-50 joint venture. There’s equal representation between the two companies at the board level. We’ve always been close in both business and geography. The joint venture is also set up to leverage … the capital and strengths of the parents.”
Nachtman said that the Cummins/Eaton-Navistar pairing adds the former’s innovative powertrain to the advanced aerodynamics and lightweight design of the latter’s trucks to deliver savings to a fleet’s bottom line.
“The Endurant is about 170 pounds lighter [than its predecessors] and it has best-in-class service intervals for transmission fluids,” Nachtman said. “If you look at the typical Class 8, over the road customer, trade cycles are usually in the 500,000 miles range so most will never have to worry about changing the fluid. The Endurant also has clutch life prognostics that will alert you that you’ll soon need to change your clutch. That allows you to schedule your downtime at a lower cost. From a driver perspective, the Endurant gives outstanding shift quality. It’s just very smooth during all conditions whether it’s simple acceleration, stop and go traffic, backing up to a loading dock, or accelerating from a stop uphill.”
Neitzke believes that the partnership could be even more fruitful down the road.
“I’ve been around joint ventures my whole career and there’s always the intangible benefit of putting two diverse sets of people together that start collaborating and the next thing you know, you’ve got some really good innovation and some interesting ideas,” he said.