Chevrolet unveiled Wednesday new medium-duty Silverado trucks at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis that will be built by workers at Navistar’s Springfield plant.
The new Class 4, 5 and 6 chassis cab trucks, which will be aimed at fleet and commercial customers, are expected to begin production later this year, according to GM. Workers in Springfield have long been preparing for the joint venture with GM to build the trucks.
Those trucks will be available in both the International and GM brands, and will be produced with engineering input from both manufacturers.
“When you consider all of the flexibility, capability and durability we have engineered into the Silverado, along with the proven power of Allison transmissions and the Duramax diesel engine, we have a medium duty truck line that will appeal to both Chevrolet loyalists and competitive owners alike,” John Schwegman, director of commercial product and medium duty at GM Fleet said in a statement.
Navistar also revealed its new Class 6/7 International MV Series at the Indianapolis truck show. That truck also will be made in Springfield on an existing line. It will complete a refresh to the truckmaker’s line of products.
Navistar is one of the region’s largest employers with more than 1,800 workers at its Springfield manufacturing plant and thousands of retirees in the area.
Steven Volkmann, an analyst who covers Navistar for Jefferies, a global investment banking firm, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Jason Barlow, president of the UAW Local 402, said workers have been preparing the Springfield site for the GM truck production, which could begin as early as October. The additional work is good news for workers in Springfield, he said, and union officials and company management have worked well together in recent years to refresh the manufacturer’s products and boost market share.
“They’re expecting it to be a big seller,” Barlow said of the new trucks. “It’s a competitive market.”
GM officials said the new trucks were designed to improve common challenges with medium-duty trucks, including noise and poor visibility. Features on the new Silverados will include a factory-installed rear air suspension and inset doors to reduce noise and a contoured hood to improve the driver’s perspective of the road, according to GM.
The new trucks will be available in regular and crew cab models, with two-wheel and four-wheel drive capability. More than 400 commercial-focused Chevy dealers are expected to carry the new Silverado line.
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“Chevrolet’s return to the conventional cab medium duty segment is part of a multi-year strategy to earn the business and loyalty of commercial and government customers by expanding into new product segments, delivering innovative business solutions, superior value and an exceptional customer experience,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president for GM Fleet in a news release.
Along with the upcoming medium-duty trucks, Navistar workers in Springfield produce a GM cutaway van as part of a separate joint agreement with the company.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has provided award-winning coverage of Navistar and its impact on the economy and workers in Clark and Champaign counties, including stories digging into what its new partnerships with GM and Volkswagen will mean for the Springfield plant.
By the numbers
1,800: Estimated workers at Navistar’s Springfield plant
2018: Year production of GM trucks will begin in Springfield
300,000: Estimated vehicles GM delivered to commercial and government customers in 2017
400: Chevy dealers nationwide expected to carry the new truck line