“This alliance with Volkswagen Truck and Bus marks a significant milestone in our company’s history, and we expect it will create multiple benefits for both companies in both the near and long term,” said Troy Clarke, Navistar’s chairman, president and CEO in a statement. “Now that the transaction has closed, we will move quickly to collaborate with an industry-leading, strategic partner to increase our global scale, strengthen our competitiveness, and provide our customers with expanded access to cutting-edge products, technology and services.”
DETAILS:Navistar to add 300 jobs in Springfield with second GM deal
Navistar officials have previously said the agreement likely won’t have an immediate impact on its Springfield manufacturing plant. However, it could potentially mean more products produced in Clark County in the future.
Even if the deal doesn’t provide immediate benefits in Springfield, it still provides more stability for the company’s facilities in Springfield long-term, said Horton Hobbs, vice president for economic development at the Chamber of Greater Springfield.
“It’s a significant announcement,” Hobbs said. “It may not make an impact today but long-term, it certainly sets our community up for growth. That’s really what we’ve wanted for a long time.”
For the truckmaker, the agreement means more financial flexibility. For Volkswagen, its Truck and Bus Division will gain access to the North American market, where it previously wasn't represented. The company's brands include MAN and Scania.
READ MORE: Case alleging former Navistar CEO misled investors moves forward
The companies will also work together to develop new technologies and establish a joint procurement venture for purchasing. Initially, the deal will focus on common power-train systems, but will also allow more collaboration for future commercial vehicle development.
The Springfield plant also is gearing up to begin production of a cutaway model of GM’s G Van beginning this year. Navistar and GM also made a joint agreement in 2015 to build medium-duty trucks in Springfield.
Those deals provided security, along will millions in new investments in a plant that as recently as 2010 had as few as 300 workers. Local leaders have credited better relations between the UAW Local 402 and the company’s management for making those deals possible.
“It’s a very positive sign for not only the company but the community and we’re excited to hear this (VW) announcement,” Hobbs said.
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Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of Navistar and its impact on workers throughout the region, including stories digging into its agreements with GM and rebounding employment in Springfield.
1,500: Current employees at Springfield Navistar plant
600: New jobs coming to Springfield plant as part of two deals with GM
$256 million: Investment from Volkswagen as it buys a stake in Navistar