Navistar CEO Talks Success of Electric School Bus, VW Partnership

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Navistar International.
IC Bus Tulsa Manufacturing Plant, also called “The Green Mile,” for its emerald-hued mile long assembly floor, manufactures 11,000 buses per year.

Troy Clarke, CEO of IC Bus parent company Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV), provided new details on its electric drive school bus in a routine quarterly earnings results conference call with key stock analysts from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and others. 

In addition to announcing the usual strong quarterly financial results during the Tuesday call, Clarke commented how pleased he is with the company’s alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus, and briefly outlined the encouraging market reaction to its new IC electric school bus. Clarke reported to analysts that the chargE electric school bus recently completed a successful West Coast tour visiting various school districts and industry functions, including the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo last month. It is also expected to be on display at the STN EXPO next month.

“We do have an electric school bus that we showed at school bus show(s). And in fact, that’s a fully operating (vehicle), very reflective of (a) production-intense school bus that we will bring to market,” he explained. “And we’ve indicated that that product probably comes (to) market in the 20ish kind of time frame (2020).”

He said the chargE is being driven “around to bus shows and media events and stuff like that. And quite frankly, it’s a very, very viable school bus that has … created a lot of interest and energy.”

Clarke added that the VW alliance “is enabling access to advanced technology and global scale. The alliance procurement joint venture remains on track to achieve targeted savings ahead of schedule. And next generation product programs are also on track.”

Even though the alliance with VW is “only just a month or two more than a year old,” Clarke commented that at Navistar, “we are tickled to death with how this alliance is functioning,” reported Seeking Alpha. “These are great partners for us.”

“Quite frankly, an issue that we’ve had is we think of more projects to work on that can really create value for both parties and both partners than we can staff—that we can catch (up) with at the present time,” he concluded. “So, our thoughts really haven’t turned to that thought process, because we’re really working to maximize the value of the alliance. And quite frankly, we’re just tapping into that.”

Of the partnership with VW, he said Navistar is “exceedingly pleased.”

“We’re getting the results that we wanted. We haven’t even begun to launch the integrated products yet, which are coming in the early part of the next decade. So, we’re excited about it,” he added.