|Model RXT (top left) is a basic, 4x2 version of the CXT. A CDL is not required to operate these trucks. (Photo top courtesy of International Truck and Engine Corp. Photo bottom by Tudor Hampton for ENR)|
The mother of all pick-up trucks has a new child. But don't underestimate its size, because this toddler makes a Dodge Durango look like a Mini Cooper.
Some call it overindulgence. Others recognize it as the latest in an "XT" series of monster-size work trucks. The vehicles have attracted upwardly-mobile general contractors and Hollywood celebrities since prototypes were unveiled early last year. The military is taking a closer look at them, too.
"The XT family is all about adding emotion to the trucking business," says Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and CEO of Navistar International Corp. It is the holding company for International Truck and Engine Corp., Warrenville, Ill., which manufactures work trucks and diesel engines. Navistar, a $7.3-billion-a-year manufacturer, says it is shooting for $15 billion in annual revenue by the end of the decade.
|Government users will begin testing MXT this fall. (Photo by Tudor Hampton for ENR)|
Available in the fall, the new RXT has a 300-hp, clean-diesel power plant that can haul 6 to 8 tons of payload and tow 12 tons. With 4x2 drive, it is the little brother of the 310-hp, 4x4-drive, model CXT, which tows 22 tons. For fuel economy, RXT gets 9 to 12 mpg, just slightly higher than its counterpart. Both are engineered for operation without a commercial drivers license.
What started out as a one-off for corporate promotions turned into the world�s largest mass-produced pick-up truck, when CXT rolled off the assembly line last September. Since then, commercial dealers have taken orders for 200 CXTs and plan to sell 500 to 1,000 this year. Public response for the super-size trucks has been "overwhelming," says Dee Kapur, president of International�s truck division. The original CXT prototype was a pet project of two truck designers and cost $10,000 to build, according to one source at the firm.
Company executives are not giving out sales estimates for the new RXT but say that retail pricing will start at $70,000 and go up depending on options. Prices for CXT start at $90,000 and top out at $120,000. Options include leather seating, DVD player, navigation system and rear-view camera.
In the concept stage is a futuristic version of the RXT that features an International-built pickup bed and rear-cab spoiler. Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., currently builds the bed on the CXT and RXT.
The fun doesn't stop there. The company also plans to build a military platform called MXT. This fall, the Dept. of Defense is testing prototypes for installation on U.S. bases, according to Archie Massicotte, International vice president of military sales. A commercial version of the 90-in.-tall MXT will be available next year, he says.
International unveiled the new trucks at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10. The firm had not exhibited there since 1980, when it was still known as International Harvester Co. It came together in 1902 as a conglomerate of McCormick Harvesting Machine Co., Deering Harvester Co. and three other companies. In addition to construction equipment, work trucks and engines, it produced the popular Scout vehicle, an early SUV that rivaled Jeeps from 1960-1980. IHC divested its operations in 1982.