ZERO TO FOUR BILLION IN FOUR YEARS
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE meets Archie Massicotte, President of NAVISTAR Defense, LLC
Before we publish the interview with Archie it is worth looking into the history of Navistar and its military business in particular. Indeed as Archie told us the Corporation had no military sales at all in 2003, which rose to $4.3 billion in 2008! He tells us how he achieved this in this interview.
BATTLESPACE first visit to Navistar was at AUSA National 2005 on the Navistar Stand in 2005 when International Sales Manager Rob Puhalovich gave the Editor an overview of the enormous growth in military business. The company’s products had earlier come to the eye of the Editor and our Industry Editor John Reed who has a history of advising U.S. truck manufactures and driving the ubiquitous Diamond ‘T’ in Egypt whilst serving in the British Army.
For a Corporation which turns over $10 billion annually and has a world-wide network of nearly 1,000 dealer outlets in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico and more than 80 locations in 70 countries throughout the world, it hides its light under a bushel.
The McCormick Company was founded in 1861 in Chicago, Illinois, one year prior to the American Civil War. The Company developed the first self binder harvester in 1885 a sight familiar on many British farms up to even as late as the 1960s before the combine harvester was introduced. In 1889, the two largest U.S. agricultural implement manufacturers McCormick and Deering negotiated a merger, this created the International Harvester Corporation in 1906, of which the McCormick tractor brand created in 1908 was one part. Truck production started in Fort Wayne Indiana in 1923. In 1937, in the middle of the Great Depression, the International ‘D’ Series truck was introduced within a month.
What began as a company producing equipment for farmers and truckers in 1902 adapted to produce military vehicles in 1918 for World War I efforts. By 1941, the company shifted all product focus on military vehicles for the Allies. During World War II, International produced the M-series of military trucks that served roles with the Marine and Navy as weapons carriers, cargo transporters and light artillery movement. International earned a reputation of being able to handle traversing sandy beachheads under fire, carrying over-capacity loads and spending months slogging through jungle conditions.
International Harvester fell on hard times during the poor agricultural economy in the early to mid-1980s and began exiting many of its business sectors in an effort to survive; in the process, it shed most of its operating divisions: Construction Equipment Division to Dresser Industries; Solar (gas turbines) Division to Caterpillar; Cub Cadet (lawn and garden equipment) to MTD Products and, lastly, the Agricultural Division to Tenneco who merged it with their JI Case subsidiary. After the Ag sale in 1985, all that remained of IH was the Truck and Engine Divisions and the company changed its name in 1986 to Navistar International Corporation. (The International Harvester name and IH logo were assets of the Agricultural Division and consequently were part of the sale to Tenneco; the IH name and logo are still in use being incorporated into the Case IH brand name). IH had used the International brand in its agricultural, construction and truck product lines and the brand name continues on in product lines of Navistar International’s International Truck and Engine Corporation subsidiary.
In January 2006, the company declared it would not file its form 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on time. The delay was caused by the disagreement with its auditors, Deloitte and Touche, over complex accounting issues. In April, Navistar fired Deloitte, its independent auditor for 98 years, and hired KPMG to help restate earning back to 2002 in order to fix accounting