Blue Diamond LCF coming in 2004

International Truck & Engine Corp. and Ford Motor Co.'s joint venture, Blue Diamond Truck Co. LLC, plans to introduce a low-cab forward (LCF) Class 3-5 commercial truck in 2004, built entirely at International's factory in Escebedo, Mexico. "This Class 3-5 LCF is a good opportunity for us, as sales of LCFs have grown significantly in the past few years," says Steve Keate, president of International's Truck Group. "Our customers are looking for a one-stop shop when it comes to buying trucks, so having a Class 3-5 LCF helps us round out our product line." The trucks will be built using a brand-new diesel engine developed by International, as well as LCF cabs produced by Mazda, tailored to the needs of the North American market, says Keate. He added that the current sales level of LCFs in North America totals 30,000 to 40,000, a "substantial market" that International wants a piece of. "We would love to get into the Class 3-5 conventional market, but Ford is already in that market and does very well there," Keate says. "Having a Class 3-5 LCF, however, allows us to capture more business from larger leasing companies and urban pickup and delivery operations, a market that continues to grow."

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