This site is usually more about passenger vehicles, but there is a bit of interesting news on the industrial side that involves two companies well invested in everything on wheels. Navistar, the U.S.-based producer of commercial trucks and buses is being hungrily eyed by two European automotive giants.
According to the German auto news site Automobilwoche, Volkswagen is investigating the strategic benefits of becoming a serious player commercial vehicle market in North America. Navistar and its International truck and bus business would likely help fill that gap.
VW is not working in a vacuum on this one. Fiat is also interested in gaining a foothold in the commercial truck and bus market in the U.S. When Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was asked last week about his company’s interest in Navistar. he responded, “We are interested in building our presence in the U.S. truck market.
There are also still a couple of wildcards here. Mahindra & Mahindra has a partnership in India with Navistar. Mahindra is enough of a giant in the industrial equipment world that it likely will not just sit idle as one of its associations becomes part of rival firm. Plus, there have been a few rumors that U.S.-based Navistar would possibly provide Mahindra with the ability to bring a small pickup into this country by using a Navistar facility for final assembly.
Billionaire Carl Icahn is in this mix as well. He’s increased his stake in Navistar to from under 10% to 11.87% in an effort to begin a merger with Oshkosh Truck Corp.
On our own pure speculation, if Navistar were to be sold to a foreign company, we kind of like it to be VW. This could make it much easier for the German company to sell a version of its Amarok pickup over here. There are some benefits to this idea, such as it would give the Navstar plants across America a small boost in production. Of course, there would be no chicken tax because these trucks would not be imported. Plus, the diesel-engined trucks could find a good foundation with Navistar’s commercial clientele, which would make sales not have to rely so heavily on the consumer market. There are plenty of cost factors that the Amarok would need to overcome for it to enter the U.S., but it is fun to go off into fantasyland for a while.