Navistar Inc., a commercial truck and engine company based in Lisle, Ill., bought the 668-acre property from Robert Bosch Corp. in April and plans to enhance that tradition.
“This is going to be a customer showcase,” said Denny Mooney, the company’s senior vice president of product development. “We’ll be bringing customers in from all over the country.”
Navistar has a facility in Melrose Park, Ill., where the company performs laboratory testing on engines and vehicles. In the past, the company also rented time at proving grounds — including the facility in New Carlisle — when engineers wanted to run tests in a closed course.
“Everybody is just thrilled that we were able to get this facility,” Mooney said. “We want to be a leader in the market from a reliability and durability standpoint. Having a test track like this is really going to help us test our products and make them more reliable and more durable.”
Just about every type of vehicle — from golf carts to semitrucks — has been tested at the proving grounds. Most of the testing, however, is on heavy vehicles such as commercial trucks and buses.
The facility also has around 20 outside customers that use it to test products. Some of them, for example, are local RV manufacturers. Those outside customers also have employees at the site in addition to the 45 people who work for Navistar. The facility can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, depending on customer needs.
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