The interesting story of Iochpe-Maxion and International trucks

The Iochpe Group bought its first truck in 1937, when it was still in the logging business in Rio Grande do Sul. It was a D-30 International imported from the US by Salomão Ioschpe, second-generation entrepreneur from the Ioschpe family. Despite the near-total lack of highways and the deplorable conditions of the few that did exist, the vehicle could shift larger cargos more quickly than the ox-drawn timber lorries used before. With the truck ferrying lumber and timber from the Group’s sawmills to the railway loading platforms, the Group was able to increase productivity. Before purchasing the D-30, Salomão hired the driver Janguinho (João Rodrigues), a rare asset in the region back in the day.     

The truck ran on gasoline, but as gas was rationed and expensive during the War years (1939-45), it was refitted for woodgas. Gasoline was only used on stretches of road that were too demanding for the alternative fuel, and gears were installed to give the engine that extra leverage. As the truck didn’t have a driver’s cabin, one had to be specially built in wood.    

Interestingly, forty years later, in 1978, a partnership between the Iochpe Group and International Harvester Corporation became the majority shareholder in Indústria de Máquinas Agrícolas Ideal, based in Santa Rosa, Rio Grande do Sul. At the time, the company was manufacturing various models of IDEAL combine harvester (1170, 1170 DS, 1175 and 1175 DS), in both the hillside leveling and conventional versions, powered by diesel and alcohol engines supplied by MWM and Perkins. Strategically, the acquisition of Ideal was a milestone for the Iochpe Group, kickstarting its involvement in the agricultural machinery sector, especially the automotive segment.    

In 1999, Iochpe-Maxion formed a joint venture with Navistar, the North-American manufacturer of International trucks, creating Maxion International Motores SA. The aim was to begin production of 7.31 and 175 to 205 cv diesel-powered V8 engines with electronic fuel injection (the first in the country) for the US truck and heavy-duty pickup market. In 2001, Iochpe-Maxion sold its stake to Navistar, which acquired 100% control over Maxion Motores, renamed International Engine South America Ltda.   

Today, through Maxion Structural Components, the Iochpe-Maxion Group supplies frames and chassis to all the main commercial vehicle manufacturers in South and North America, with 6 plants located across four countries (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay).