Navistar to Use Indiana Proving Grounds For Extensive Testing
Article credit to Tom Berg at TruckingInfo
The former Bosch, Bendix and Studebaker proving grounds near New Carlisle in northern Indiana is open for business under new ownership: Navistar Inc., which took it over as of April 1.
The company showed off the facility to industry reporters Tuesday with a multi-vehicle ride-and-drive that covered many of the on- and off-road testing paths on the sprawling 668-acre site.
Its main feature is a 3-mile paved and banked oval that allows steady 65- to 70-mph cruising by heavy tractor-trailers, something Navistar engineers never had before, executives said. The facility is replacing Navistar’s old technical center in Fort Wayne, a much smaller property that is being sold.
The New Carlisle proving grounds also include shops and equipment that allow extensive testing and maintenance of the wide variety of trucks and buses that Navistar builds. Navistar bought the facility from Robert Bosch, the German component maker that had acquired it from Bendix Corp. in the 1990s.
“Bosch didn’t use it anymore,” said Dennis Mooney, vice president for global product development. “We were really lucky. We got it for a really good price,” though he declined to say what it was.
“This falls in with our emphasis on uptime,” he said. “We’ll use it to make our trucks even more reliable.”
Executives and technicians showed off 14 International heavy trucks and tractors and four medium-duty models and allowed reporters to drive them on the long track, across rough testing surfaces and off-road courses. These were samples of the type of rigorous testing that the company can now do on its own property instead of renting time at other firms’ facilities.
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