Area Development
Early next year Navistar International Corp. will expand its line of heavy duty trucks when it begins assembling its new International Load Star model at a manufacturing plant in Colbert, Alabama, at Barton Riverfront Industrial Park in the northwest part of the state.

The firm will open its truck manufacturing and assembly plant at the former National Alabama Rail Car facility. The Retirement Systems of Alabama, which owns the building in which the plant will be housed, provided a long term lease as part of a state economic development incentive package to create jobs in the region. Gov. Robert Bentley predicted it could eventually create more than 2,000 jobs.

The truck will primarily used by the waste hauling industry. "We talked to drivers to better understand their needs and what is missing from the trucks they drive," said Jim Hebe, Navistar senior vice president, North American sales operations. "To fit driver needs, we optimized the space in the cab, increased seat and steering wheel movement, and adjusted joystick placement to deliver an outstanding ergonomic and customizable work environment. The exterior boasts the signature appearance and design of the International Truck brand."

Truck engines for the new model will be manufactured at the company's engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama.

Bill Taylor, chief executive of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said the plant will extend the state's growing automotive industry to a new area of the state.