Global commercial vehicle is attainable, says truck group president

Deepak Kapur, president of the truck group, Navistar International Corporation, gave an overview of the state of the global commercial vehicle and global technology considerations for the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle markets at the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association’s Heavy Duty Dialogue, held yesterday in Las Vegas.

Aftermarket executives listened as Kapur discussed how countries, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC countries), are experiencing quick economic growth. In order to develop, these countries must transport many goods, which means rapid growth in the commercial vehicle market.

“As expectations grow in developing countries, so do opportunities for global partnerships,” says Kapur. He discussed ways that OEMs can partner with companies in developing countries to create win-win scenarios, citing the successful International and Mahindra partnership in India.

Kapur discussed benefits and challenges OEMs face when conducting business with China and Russia. China, he says, has invested heavily in infrastructure, which stimulates a busy transportation economy. The country’s rapid economic growth is seductive to foreign investors. Yet, business practices in the country still can be inscrutable and some organizations and businesses are untrustworthy, says Kapur.

In Russia, the robust used truck market presents a large opportunity for OEMs, but the demand is ebbing as the demand for new trucks grows. European manufacturers still dominate the market, however, leaving American OEMs behind.

Also covered were key technologies for the global vehicle market. The debate between clean diesel and compressed natural gas in terms of emissions regulations was discussed. Kapur pointed out that compressed natural gas emits greater quantities of 20 toxic air components than clean diesel emits. He also spoke about the pros and cons of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology using urea versus non-SCR developments. International has committed to non-urea emission technology solutions.

Kapur ended by calling for a collective effort on the part of manufacturers, industry associations and environmental groups to have U.S. environmental standards accepted around the world.

“The global economy is changing rapidly,” says Kapur. “It’s important for our industry and our country to be on a level playing field.”

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