40 DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION February 2014
How long it takes and how far it goes also depends a little bit
on what else natural gas is used for. Because if we start using
natural gas for example in a lot of energy plays for electricity
generation or we use it in plastics manufacturing — some plastics manufacturing is now coming back to the U.S. — it’s just
going to drive up the cost of natural gas.
So my own view is it will play a significant role in commercial
vehicles. How big a role though is still uncertain and I think it
will take some time — longer than the most optimistic people
think and maybe not as long as the most pessimistic people
think. I think it will take 10 years probably to reach any kind of
plateau point where you could say, this is probably the place
it’s going to be.
It’s an important fuel that I think will have an important role,
but I would just be careful about the people who think it’s going to be the only thing, or it’s the magic solution that solves
everything, or the people that think it has no role. It’s going
to take some time for the infrastructure to come and we find
what its natural place is. What that number is in terms of market share I really don’t know. But it’s not 100 and it’s certainly
Right now it’s roughly 5 or 7%. That’s not very much when
you think about how much stuff there is around. We are incredibly active in development on this because it’s 5 or 7% today,
but it will be higher and Cummins will provide customers with
the very best technology in natural gas. We’ve been working
on it for 15 or more years so we’re well down our third generation of engines compared to most, and will by the time it
reaches a plateau, we’ll be in our fifth or sixth generation, and
they’ll be really, really good.
VI. Cummins has been kind of the cavalry for Navistar
since it abandoned its EGR-only strategy. Has Navis-
tar righted its ship and do you expect to duplicate the
integration of SCR technology into their medium-duty
engines as you did with the heavy-duty products?
We’ve been a supplier to Navistar for many, many years
and the relationships between the companies are quite deep.
One of the places you can see that is if you go to a Navistar dealer. The dealers never stopped working with Cummins.
Even in North America, many of them built their business on
ProStar trucks and ISX engines and all their predecessors.
So the companies worked together throughout the whole time
and there were places where we disagreed — sometimes a
little publicly — but broadly speaking we kept the relationship
strong during all that time.
We don’t think of ourselves as a savior of anybody. Our view
is Navistar is a proud company with a long heritage that has
been a good customer of Cummins. We’ve been supplying
them the whole time and are happy to supply more today.
With regard to the engines, because we were trying to find a
way to supply them in North America continuously, we were always trying to figure out how we could put our engines in their
trucks. So when they came and said would you do it, we not
only said yes we could, we’d already done it. We were ready
to participate with them because we kept wanting to, and were
regularly talking to them about that.
On their part, they reacted with agility and urgency in getting
the engines in their vehicles quickly and making sure they were
available for customers. The same thing happened on the mid-range side when they decided to offer some Cummins engines
in midrange vehicles. We were ready to talk to them about that
and they acted with urgency on that and the result was a very
quick turnaround for customers and I think good results.
So we are working with them like with all customers. We offer them components for their engines and we expect that they
will offer some of their own engines into the future. How many
10 QUESTIONS WITH TOM LINEBARGER OF CUMMINS dpX
Tom Linebarger (right) succeeded
Tim Solso (left) as chairman and
CEO of Cummins Inc. in 2012.