Vehicle Software, Part 2

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Navistar - Vehicle Technology

Navistar positions its OnCommand Connection and OnCommand Connection Suite as a leader and the first and only in the market. Its messaging emphasizes versatility, ease of use, and comprehensive solutions. It has specific messaging for the school bus and highway vehicle markets.


  • Navistar advertises its On Command Connection Suite to be the first to have an open data architecture system that works with all telematics systems, the first and only to offer a system available from various device interfaces, and the first and only system that works with any kind of vehicle or make.
  • Navistar has emphasized the importance of "uptime" in advertising for its overall business.
  • For both OnCommand Connection and OnCommand Connection Suite, Navistar talks about its product in terms of cost savings (tow and annual repair costs) and profit maximization resulting in increased uptime.

Channels Used

  • With respect to annual repair costs, it provides customer testimonials and advertises itself as developing solutions based on listening to customers.
  • In 2015, Navistar advertised using LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, and ads in Commercial Carrier Journal, Fleet Owner and Transport Topics, which included its software offerings. Since 2015, Navistar announced its customer-centric Vision 2025 campaign in 2019 for its overall business, where it announced it had exited "survival mode".
  • In 2020, Volkswagen offered to purchase the rest of Navistar for $2.9 billion.


  • Navistar markets to the truck-buying and commercial carrier industry.
  • Navistar brands to the school bus market audience by touting ability for driver oversight, regulation compliance, increased vehicle safety, and frequency of updates and real-time communication. It also offers school bus WiFi as a product offering.
  • In regard to highway vehicles, the company touts itself as " the only truck OEM that has built and supports its own telematics solution," also citing "the important role OnCommand Connection services are playing in enabling fleets to convert reactive vehicle maintenance into predictive maintenance for improved uptime."
  • For its product, Navistar partnered with International Trucks to offer its software on all new on-highway International trucks, with two free years of service included. Its software is on an estimated 160k international vehicles.


Information on how Navistar communicates, markets, and targets its technical software/computing hardware on commercial vehicles was obtained by researching Navistar's website, with an exclusive focus on OnCommand Connection and OnCommand Connection Suite. For verification, identified central marketing and targeting themes were cross-checked against articles on Navistar and its ad campaigns in industry publication websites. Ad campaigns were searched for in industry publications and search tools were narrowed to prioritize recent results, but recent results on marketing channels could not be found. This period coincided with the company revealing in 2019 that it had exited survival mode. The number of OnCommand Connection International vehicles was calculated by taking 40% of 400,000 vehicles. Multiple searches were attempted for advertising and targeting for agriculture and mining marketing, but could not be verified.
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Peterbilt (Paccar) - Vehicle Technology

Peterbilt describes its SmartLINQ suite of technologies for trucks and fleet owners as significantly analytic, optimally diagnostic, time-saving, protective, and user-friendly. Peterbilt does not specify a particular target market in communicating the SmartLINQ, and it uses its website, press release, blog, and social media handles as channels for marketing. Peterbilt directs its SmartLINQ message at fleet managers or truck owners who use SmartLINQ enabled vehicles or prospective truck buyers in general, and not a particular target audience, and it is also not communicated to specific vehicle markets but to all SmartLINQ enabled vehicles.

Message for SmartLINQ

  • Peterbilt portrays its SmartLINQ technology as an automated system that ensures the well-being of trucks 24/7 for up to "750 engine and emission parameters". The SmartLINQ alerts its user with four levels of colored fault codes that connote the severity of the issues diagnosed; a truck's condition can be known at a glance.
  • The website describes the system as one that helps save time, protect and optimize truck function, as it allows for proactive servicing, which enables problem solving before they become significant; this also saves unscheduled downtime.
  • SmartLINQ allows sharing of truck diagnostic messages with fleet managers or the nearest Peterbilt dealerships, just in case it's something that cannot be solved single-handedly, or if it's a case of emergency. It also shows the truck's exact location.

Message for SmartLINQ Remote Diagnostic

  • Peterbilt describes its SmartLINQ Remote Diagnostics as an advanced technology that keeps trucks at peak performance and helps "maximize fleet up time and keep work on schedule" by providing real-time service alerts and recommendations, by narrowing down "service and performance" to the truck's exact needs and providing the driver with connectivity to the three nearest Peterbilt dealerships.

Message for Reasoning Engine Technology

  • It's a system that curates and "analyzes information from SmartLINQ-enabled trucks, and gives more precise diagnostics, evolves fault codes collection and analysis, and enhances analysis by linking cascading faults."
  • The system helps to foresee problems, and further enhances "fleet diagnostics and repair responsiveness."

Message for SmartLINQ Service Management

  • Peterbilt describes its SmartLINQ Service Management as an improved SmartLINQ technology that gives access to truck repair status and services at any Peterbilt dealership.
  • According to Peterbilt, the SmartLINQ Service Management helps to decide truck servicing proactively, provides 24/7 instant and detailed updates on the truck's servicing status, enhances stronger partnership between users and Peterbilt dealerships, gives "streamlined fleet management and logistics," and helps optimize up time.

SmartLINQ Target Market

  • Peterbilt doesn't necessarily have a particular target market for their message on the listed technologies; however, the message is significant for owners of Peterbilt trucks, fleet managers who own Peterbilt trucks, and Peterbilt authorized dealers, as SmartLINQ technologies are factory installed.

Channels for Marketing SmartLINQ Suite of technologies

  • The different channels that are used by Peterbilt to market its tech products include the Peterbilt official website, and it's social media handles. Peterbilt dedicates several web pages on its site to communicating the SmartLINQ technologies, and the site has a blog which also contains information about SmartLINQ, as well as press releases on their news page.
  • Peterbilt also uses its YouTube channel. It features some video reviews on some of their tech products. Other social media platforms operated by Peterbilt like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, mostly speak about Peterbilt trucks, the Facebook, however, has a link that redirects viewers back to the SmartLINQ web pages. The SmartLINQ app is also available on android and IOS platforms.

Marketing Style; Micro-targeting or General Marketing

  • It appears that Peterbilt does not explicitly target a particular market while branding or communicating the SmartLINQ technologies. Peterbilt markets to the general truck and fleet market, but its more useful to owners of SmartLINQ-enabled fleet or truck owners, and managers.

Marketing of SmartLINQ to Specific Vehicle Markets

  • The SmartLINQ suite of technologies is not communicated differently for specific vehicle markets. The SmartLINQ technology suite is instead marketed generally to owners of SmartLINQ-enabled fleets and trucks, as well as prospective buyers of Peterbilt trucks, as Peterbilt often advertises its SmartLINQ suite of technologies alongside its vehicles.

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Mack - Vehicle Technology

Mack Trucks (Mack) is a leading North American manufacturer of Class 8 trucks, the heavy-duty class of commercial trucks, which includes all tractor-trailers. Founded in 1900, it is now part of the Volvo Group. Mack Connect is the umbrella of its connectivity and productivity solutions. Mack Connect and its components are featured prominently on its website's Technology heading and news stories and in brochures but there is no evidence of any other marketing efforts of these features. It appears then that these features are communicated Mack's target audience, owners of truck fleets.

Mack Connect

  • "Mack Connect is the productivity solution to help you build a modern trucking business. Using predictive analytics and connective technologies, Mack Connect turns data produced by the truck, the driver and the service process into insights and actions that help you perform at your best."
  • Mack Connect covers both standard and optional productivity solutions Connected Support, Connected Business, Connected Driving, GuardDog Connect and Mack ASIST.
  • Mack's connectivity solutions are not a major piece of its outside marketing strategy. Its design firm, VSA Partners, features its work for Mack with no mention of Mack Connect or its components.
  • The advantages seen with the Mack Connect solutions seem an afterthought in the trucking industry now. For example, an article in Equipment World that focuses on technology advances in trucking only mentions connectivity in passing as it discusses the implementation of automatic wireless updates to software.

Connected Support

  • "Your trucks are only profitable when they’re on the road and on the job. Maximize your uptime with intelligent maintenance systems and time-saving repair processes."
  • Connected Support includes GuardDog Connect and Mack ASIST, both which come as options.
  • GuardDog Connect and Mack ASIST
  • GuardDog Connect monitors the truck's performance, detects and reports any problems.
  • Mack ASIST is a web-based repair management system that facilitates coordination between the service provider and fleet manager.
  • Of all of Mack's connectivity solutions, GuardDog Connect and ASIST are the ones that receives publicity outside Mack's website and brochures, as seen in Wall Street Journal or For Construction Pros, an online industry periodical.

Connected Business

  • Mack offers an open platform that sends data to the fleet management software of your choosing.
  • Mack does offer its own telematics and fleet management options: Verizon Connect, Lytx Video Solutions, Omnitracs and Geotab (for older models).

Connected Driving

Communication Differences Between Vehicle Markets

  • There is no difference in advertising connectivity features between on-highway and off-highway vehicles. For example, the entire Mack Connect suite is featured no differently with its more rugged TerraPro line, which is built for the construction and refuge industries.

Research Strategy

Information for all requested technologies were found on Mack's website. To find evidence of Mack promoting these features outside informational material available on its website and brochures, we looked at trade associations, trade publications and authorized Mack dealerships to little if any avail.

From Part 01
  • "OnCommand® Connection Customers Have Seen: Up to 80% reductions in vehicle failures requiring a tow"
  • "OnCommand® Connection Customers Have Seen: Up to 30% reductions in annual repair costs"
  • "We built the first open architecture system that works with all telematics systems. "
  • "We offer the first and only system to be available from multiple interfaces such as your computer, phone or email."
  • "We created the first and only all-makes capable system that can be used with any brand of vehicle. "
  • "You want your fleet to stay on the road. If they’re not there, you’re not making money. OnCommand® Connection was designed to help keep your vehicles moving and your profits rising."
  • "Easy to install and use, it features the power of OnCommand Connection's Advanced Remote Diagnostics and electronic driver log"
  • "Whether you've got one truck or a thousand, OnCommand Connection Telematics gives you the advantage of the most comprehensive solution on the market today."
  • "The integration provides mutual customers of both systems with improved ability to manage operations, dispatch, and fleet movements, according to Axis. "
  • ""Working closely with our truck customers, we are keenly aware of the added value a leading fleet management software provider like Axis TMS can deliver when it is integrated with the up-to-the-second information about individual trucks and drivers that is provided by our OnCommand Connection telematics," said Andrew Dondlinger, Navistar vice president and general manager, connected services."
  • "In addition to the advertising, Marc USA will manage the social media rollout of Uptime through LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media channels."
  • "For Marc USA Chicago, the new Navistar campaign to represented a chance to use the agency's Behavioral Economics practice. Explained Jean McLaren, president of Marc USA Chicago: "We needed to reframe the conversation from the company's history to its vision for the future. When we heard them (Navistar) talk about uptime as a critical benchmark, we know it could represent a much bigger idea.""
  • "Perhaps reflecting the audience Navistar is targeting, new print ads are straightforward, no-nonsense pieces with ad copy underscoring the truck company's renewed focus on delivering a top-quality product with the service to match. Print ad headlines range from "It's Uptime when refusing to vie up means making a truck that does the same" to "It's Uptime when we dig in harder so you can move mountains.""
  • "The initial advertising campaign launching this month will target truck buyers and will reinforce International's commitment to building defect-free trucks that are supported by an dealer network offering fast service and cutting-edge vehicle monitoring systems."
  • "Print ads are running in trade publications including Commercial Carrier Journal, Fleet Owner and Transport Topics, and online ads are running across different ad networks aimed at the trucking audience. Navistar is also using social media to promote the campaign, including LinkedIn and Facebook."
  • ""There are three pillars underneath the 'Uptime' strategy: What we've done as a company around engineering to ensure that the trucks we build are best-in-class; what we're doing to support our customers with our dealer network; and what we do to provide software solutions so our customers can monitor, track and diagnose trucks on the road," he said."
  • "OnCommand® Connection brings you peace of mind and control of your school bus fleet with eDVIR and Advanced Remote Diagnostics."
  • "Covers all DOT-required bus inspection points and is user-configurable by the fleet manager"
  • "Guides school bus drivers through a consistent and thorough walk-around inspection"
  • "Works on Android tablets"
  • "According to Sopariwala, OCC is in use on about 400,000 vehicles—40% of which are International trucks and 60% are other brands. Each of those 400,000 vehicles send Navistar a GPS signal and several other parameters including fault codes, engine parameters and anything related to the engine control module (ECM)."
  • "As an open-architecture platform, OCC allows Navistar to partner with about 27 different telematics service providers who continuously feed the company real-time information. The OCC portal works with any hardware available such as Geotab, PeopleNet (a Trimble company) and Omnitracs, and sends Navistar the data. Since fleet owners operate multiple brands of trucks, an owner can see the real-time status of all brands, not just International."
  • "Telematics have become integral to satisfying these goals and, importantly, increasing vehicle uptime. "
  • "International Trucks announced that effective immediately, all new on-highway International® trucks sold in the U.S. and Canada will be equipped with an OnCommand® Connection telematics device with two free years of service included."
  • "Navistar International says it has left survival mode, and is now in growth mode. "
  • "“The intent is moving our International brand from this survival mode and quarter-to-quarter thinking, to being much more customer-centric,” he said."
  • "Of course, the best way to ensure customer satisfaction is to maximize uptime, and Chintan Sopariwala, vice-president of uptime, said steps are being taken in that area as well. It has geofenced all its dealerships and using OnCommand Connection has tracked repair times. It has seen a 73% improvement in repairs done within 24 hours since the first quarter of 2018, Sopariwala noted. This compares well to industry averages monitored through non-International trucks equipped with OnCommand Connection."
  • "German auto giant Volkswagen said Thursday it wants to buy the part of American truck maker Navistar that it does not already own for $2.9 billion."
  • "In 2016, VW bought a 16.8-percent stake in Navistar, giving it a foothold in the US market, and now its truck division Traton wants to buy the rest. "