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Navistar, Ford outline details of Blue Diamond truck venture

DEARBORN, Mich. (Aug. 7, 2001) -- Ford Motor Co. and Navistar International Corp. today finalized their joint venture to build medium-duty commercial trucks, rolling out a new company called Blue Diamond Truck Co.

The joint venture will build class-6 and -7 commercial trucks to be sold independently under the Ford Division brand and Navistar's International brand.

The truck will have a common chassis based on International's recently introduced 4000-series vehicles. Ford and International will separately develop cabs, interiors, vocational focus, nomenclature, and other brand characteristics for Blue Diamond vehicles.

The trucks will be built at Navistar's plant in Escobedo, Mexico. The factory, opened in 1998, currently produces 4000-series vehicles.

International-branded trucks will exclusively use International I-6 or V-8 engines. Ford-branded trucks will offer International diesel engines as standard and other industry engines as options. International is the worldwide leader in the production of mid-range engines in the 160 to 300 horsepower range. Blue Diamond will also supply truck and diesel engine service parts to Ford and International, and explore other advanced diesel engine opportunities, the companies said.

Blue Diamond officials said the joint venture would focus on medium-duty vehicles and, eventually, class-3 through -5 trucks. Ford agreed not to produce class-8 trucks until February 2008 when it sold its commercial vehicle business to Freightliner four years ago.

Prototype production of the Ford truck will begin later this year with full production scheduled for late 2002. International's new high performance medium truck is already in production.

The first such vehicle will be a new specialized commercial truck due in 2003.

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