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New Pickup, a 14,500-Pound Monster Capable of Towing 20 Tons, Makes Hummer Look Rather Puny

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

DALLAS September 17, 2004; David Koenig writing for the AP reported that this one could make the Hummer look like a girlie car. International Truck and Engine Corp. is producing what it calls the world's biggest production pickup, a 14,500-pound monster capable of towing 20 tons.

"It's a super head-turner," said Ken Wallace, an International dealer in Fort Myers, Fla., who has been driving one for about two weeks. "Other motorists hang out of their cars to take pictures of it."

But does anybody really need a vehicle that is nine feet tall, eight feet wide, 21 1/2 feet long and gets about seven miles on a gallon of diesel?

Rob Swim, International's marketing director, said the 5-passenger CXT will appeal to image-conscious contractors, roofers, landscapers and other small-business owners who can use the towing power but also want to draw attention to themselves.

"This truck is for businesses that want to make a bold statement," Swim said. "It's for business people that want to promote as much as perform."

International, the operating division of Warrenville, Ill.-based Navistar International Corp., makes the CXT at its Garland plant. The mayor and many of the plant's 700 employees attended an official CXT unveiling Thursday, although the truck has been in production for several weeks.

International makes about 85,000 commercial vehicles a year, from dump trucks to school buses. But it hasn't made a full-size pickup since the 1970s.

From the front, the CXT looks identical to International's other heavy trucks. International added a pickup bed to its truck chassis and dressed up the cab. One interior package includes leather seats, wood grain trim, a drop-down DVD player, satellite radio and a rear-mounted camera.

But without question, the most noteworthy thing about the CXT is its size. It weighs nearly twice as much as the Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup and is more than two feet taller. It dwarfs full-size sport-utility vehicles.

International says the CXT is the heaviest production pickup out there and boasts the most towing capacity. It comes with all-wheel drive, air brakes, a 70-gallon fuel tank and a bed that tilts back like a dump truck.

The price is also big -- $93,000, but options can boost that to $115,000. Some other large pickups cost under $30,000.

Company officials say they expect to sell nearly 100 this year and 500 next year.

Swim said the company isn't marketing the CXT as a consumer vehicle, although he added that drivers don't need a commercial license to get behind the wheel.

"Anybody can lease a Hummer now for $500 a month. Soccer moms are driving them," he said. "This is not a soccer mom's vehicle."

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