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Navistar powers ahead with Huntsville engine plant expansion

HUNTSVILLE – Over a decade in the making, from commitment to idea to fruition, an expansion of Huntsville’s Navistar Powertrain Plant was celebrated Wednesday at the Jetplex Industrial Park.

The company vowed the plant, which opened in 2008, would be a successful addition to the city’s already vibrant industries when Mayor Tommy Battle visited Navistar headquarters and expressed concerns 12 years ago. The idea to take the plant from one major assembly line to two was sparked seven years ago in Sweden. The commitment to go forward with the expansion was made four years ago. Groundbreaking was in 2020.

(Mike Easterling/256 Today)

The Huntsville plant also has three major machining lines.

A ribbon-cutting was held at Navistar to celebrate the company’s $125 million, 10,000-square-foot expansion of the company’s powertrain production plant where the new International S13 Integrated Powertrain will be built.

The powertrain consists of the S13 engine and the T14 transmission.

“I cannot wait for the bright future that we have in store for us, the city and our customers,” Brandon Tucker, the plant’s director of production, said.

Along with Battle and Navistar executives, the ceremony lured Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield from Montgomery.

According to Stefan Palmgren, Navistar executive vice president – operation and logistics, the new product has a “global platform” but will cater to “North American needs.”

Navistar has made a commitment to protect the environment. Among improvements made to the plant during expansion included the addition of LED lighting, a wastewater evaporator that will minimize wastewater discharge and new augurs to separate recyclables from refuse to limit landfill waste.

Palmgren also said Navistar’s goal is to achieve 50 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030 and that, “This powertrain – the greatest we have ever seen – is, for Navistar and our customers, the bridge needed in the journey to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles.”

Battle and Canfield applauded the latest addition to Huntsville’s ever-expanding manufacturing footprint.

“When you look across the board Huntsville is a city that makes things go,” Battle told 256 Today. “It’s very exciting to see things like this because this is cutting edge technology. This is some of the most elite work being done in the whole world.

“And see this plant, which 12 years ago we were wondering about the future of it and where it was going, to today with 240 employees. And you never know what the future holds.”

Said Canfield, “Navistar and its parent company are international players. It’s a testament that Huntsville and Alabama has a business environment for international companies to continue to make new investments and thrive and grow here. It’s great for opportunities for Alabamians and Huntsville, of course.”


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