INTERNATIONAL Truck and Engine Corporation began taking orders in October for its new low-cab-forward truck, the CF Series, and is ramping up for full production in March.
Product manager John Randall said International has the largest dealer network in North America — over 1000 locations, all of which will sell and service the CF series.
“We brought this product to the market based upon numerous requests from customers to get into the lower GVW range and also to supply this type of vehicle for the applications they have,” Randall said. “This is the first North American vehicle designed and produced in North America for the North American market. It's not a product that is built in another market and sent to North America to be sold. We spent a lot of time and effort in the design of the product and believe it meets the rigorous standards of International, or we would not be rolling this product out.”
He said the first two models are the CF 500 and CF 600 for the Class 4 and 5 markets. In 2007, a Class 3 model will be offered, further broadening the GVW options.
The CF Series is designed to address a variety of needs for customers working in urban environments. The CF Series responds to these customers' demands for a truck that's easy to drive, efficient to maintain, and economical to own. The introduction of the CF Series is a major component of International's plan to grow its business to $15 billion in revenue.
As the first two models in the CF Series lineup, the new CF 500 model targets the Class 4 market with a maximum 16,000-lb GVW rating, while the CF 600 model aims at the Class 5 market with a maximum 19,500-lb GVW rating.
Under the cab, each CF Series model is powered by the new International VT 275 diesel engine, a 4.5L V6 design that sets best-in-class standards for horsepower and torque. The engine will deliver peak ratings of 200 hp at 3,000 rpm, and 440 lb-ft of torque at 1,850 rpm. The International VT 275 builds on technology already established in the company's V8 diesel engine, the International VT 365. The CF Series integrated powertrain also offers a standard, five-speed overdrive automatic transmission.
Designed to provide outstanding maneuverability and agility for drivers operating work trucks in congested urban environments, the CF Series is built on a high-strength, low-alloy steel frame with 34"-wide frame rails, taper-leaf front suspension, and standard front and rear shock absorbers.
The chassis uses a traditionally wired system with a 135-amp pad-mounted alternator, 12-volt starting motor, optional backup alarm, optional trailer connection wiring, and standard tail lights located on the outside of the frame rail.
“It's not a multiplex system like on the current high-performance vehicles,” Randall said. “One of the things we heard loud and clear was that cost is an extreme factor with these vehicles. We elected not to bring out a full multiplex vehicle. We'll continue to listen to our customers. If that's something they want and demand, we'll look at putting on multiplex systems.”
The CF Series chassis can be upfitted with a wide range of body types and equipment for use in vocations such as pick-up and delivery, beverage, utility, recovery, leasing, and construction. CF Series models also offer optional transmission PTO capability to operate specialized body equipment.
International said CF Series owners in any business will benefit from a durable domestic truck and engine package that is long-lasting and inexpensive to own. The belief is that CF Series drivers will be more productive, aided by easy entry and egress and an ergonomically designed cab interior, and that service technicians will appreciate easy, efficient daily maintenance, with a full-tilt cab and easily accessible service points for fluid checks and fills. In addition, the CF Series powertrain, chassis and cab package offers scheduled maintenance intervals for cost-effective repairs and reliable uptime performance.
The CF Series will be sourced through the company's Blue Diamond joint venture with Ford Motor Company. It will be built with several shared components, including an International diesel engine and Ford automatic transmission. Blue Diamond will produce the CF Series at its state-of-the-art assembly plant in Escobedo, Mexico.
International said the CF Series is on the receiving end of attention from an unexpected market segment — government fleets.
“We're getting a lot of inquiries from government and municipal fleets about the CF, especially in terms of street sweeping, road maintenance, and equipment delivery applications,” said Rob Swim, director of marketing for medium-duty products. “It's a market we really didn't think about for this truck.”