History of International Trucks and How It All Began

Navistar International produces some of the most popular commercial vehicles and diesel engines available on the market today. A long history of innovative thinking and rugged construction has built a name for quality when it comes to International vehicles. The following is a look into the history of International trucks and how they have built the company they are today.

Precursors to the International Brand

Unlike many other trucking companies, International was developed from an agricultural beginning, as opposed to starting as a carriage and buggy company. The seed of the International brand began in the 1830s when the first horse drawn reaper was created by Cyrus Hall McCormick. The success of his patent led him to start the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company with his brother in 1847.

International Harvester Company is Formed

International Harvester was formed in 1902 after the McCormick’s son combined his father’s company with several other agricultural equipment companies. For the next several decades this agricultural conglomerate grew and produced some of the nation’s most sought after tractors, trucks, and other farming equipment. Through the many evolutions of the Farmall tractor, International Harvester built a reputation for innovation. The company was pressed into service during World War II and created a military truck called the M series, which was used to transport munitions and cargo between the troops.

International Harvester Becomes Navistar International

By the early 80’s, International Harvesters growth and sprawling business subsidiaries had created a company that had grown too big. This coupled with money problems, a downturn in the agricultural economy, and a strike by the UAW led International Harvester to sell off many of its agricultural businesses until only the truck and engine division was left. This was renamed in 1986 to the Navistar International Corporation that we have come to know today.

International Trucks Today

Today’s Navistar International manufactures many of the commercial vehicles that you see on the road. From school buses to semi tractor trailers to medium and heavy duty trucks, International is a company that thrives on innovation. In 2007 Navistar became the first truck manufacturer to begin producing hybrid commercial vehicles with the International DuraStar, which features a diesel/electric hybrid engine. This technology has received a grant from the US to be utilized in the production of school buses with energy efficient hybrid engines. While the project is not yet complete, the goal is to create a school bus that runs up to 40 miles on electricity alone before needing to switch to a clean diesel engine that runs on fuels that are renewable. In addition, Navistar is one of the largest US military suppliers of MRAP armored vehicles, and produces the largest truck available on the market today.

This has been a quick look into the history of International trucks and how they have become the company they are today. Whether you are looking for a dump truck, semi, or hybrid commercial vehicle, you will not be disappointed with an International.



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