Clarke stresses innovation during uncertain times

Lucas Deal

February 9, 2013

As he’s done since taking over at Navistar last summer, Troy Clarke is optimistic.
The man working to bring the company back from its EGR struggles of the past decade spoke with reserved confidence while addressing the crowd at the opening general session of the 50th annual ATD Convention & Expo Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
“Change is inevitable, but the heavy-duty truck market will evolve. It will growth with it,” the Navistar president and COO says. “It always has.”
As the event’s keynote speaker, Clarke took time to address five key issues facing the OEM and dealer markets today: fuel efficiency, natural gas, drivers, regulators and economics.
In each area, he spoke about the struggles OEMs, dealers and fleets are facing today, and where he sees things moving in the future.
He says Navistar and OEMs will continue to work intensively to improve the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks. He expects natural gas interest to continue to rise, and says OEM production will grow with it.
He also expects the driver shortage to continue, and says OEMs will need to work harder than ever to make trucks “people want to drive.”
As for regulations, he says to expect even more.
“The people in Washington D.C. have a strong mindset for regulation,” he says. “We have to get used to that.”
He says dealers and OEMs also have to get used to rapidly changing fleet customers. Businesses that are growing larger every day.
He thinks they can.
New cab design and engine improvements can will allow OEMs to create safer, more appealing to drive and more fuel efficient trucks; while software and telematics will produce an improved option for fleets.
No matter how it evolves, he says the commercial truck market isn’t going anywhere..
This industry is “a lifeblood of America,” he says.

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