WAKARUSA, IN - Hundreds of Navistar employees welcomed President Barack Obama to its Wakarusa, Ind., manufacturing facility to celebrate the award of a $39 million federal grant to develop and build all-electric delivery vehicles and bring jobs to the Elkhart County, Ind., communities.
Through this U.S. Department of Energy grant, Navistar intends to build 400 all-electric vehicles in 2010 and expects that within a couple of years to be producing several thousand vehicles annually. Navistar anticipates hiring additional workers immediately as it ramps up production of the all-electric delivery vehicle. As volumes increase and the market grows, the company estimates opportunities for several hundred more people in the Elkhart area.
The grant application calls for the creation of up to 700 jobs, which includes Navistar employees and suppliers.
"The all-electric delivery vehicle is a concrete example of what business and government can do when we work together," said Dan Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The future is now with this electric vehicle. In fact, we already have interested customers, including some of the most respected names in the industry."
Navistar is in the process of finalizing a joint venture with Modec Ltd. of the United Kingdom to produce and sell electric Class 2c-3 commercial vehicles in North, Central and South America. This zero emission all-electric delivery vehicle would primarily be used by drivers for local deliveries where stop and go driving would otherwise consume a large amount of fuel.
Navistar has three manufacturing facilities in the area: the Monaco RV facility in Wakarusa, Ind., another facility recently purchased from Monaco in Elkhart City, Ind., and the Workhorse Custom Chassis facility in Union City, Ind.
Earlier this year, Navistar purchased certain assets of the recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturing business of Monaco Coach Corporation, one of the nation's leading recreational vehicle manufacturers.