Is Your Chevy Express Made by GM or Navistar?

The Chevy Express has been around for decades and remains essentially unchanged. It comes available in various configurations, from passenger to cargo, as well as a variety of powertrains. General Motors‘ Express and Savana vans are frequently converted into shuttle buses, school buses, ambulances, or other utility or service vehicles.

Two different companies and two different assembly plants produce the Chevy Express Cutaway fleet vehicle. While its partner Navistar constructs the Chevy Express Cutaway model at its own facility in Springfield, Ohio, GM manufactures all versions of this vehicle at its Wentzville plant in Missouri. So how can owners tell who made their Express? Let’s look at how to know if Navistar or GM built your Express.

What is the difference between Navistar and GM?

Chevrolet logo, makers of the Chevy Express made by GM or Navistar.
Chevrolet logo | Getty Images

Navistar, which replaced International Harvester, is now the owner of International brand trucks and diesel engines. Navistar mainly deals in commercial vehicles. In addition to producing school and commercial buses under the IC Bus brand and commercial trucks under the International brand, Navistar also has its own line of diesel engines.

On the other hand, GM is one of the largest automakers in the world. As one of the big three automakers, GM’s success has been well-documented over the years. According to Global Financial Data, in 1955, GM became the first American corporation to make over $10 billion in a year. Since 2017, GM has contracted Navistar International to manufacture its Chevy Express Cutaway.

How to tell who built your Chevy Express

According to GM Authority, one of the easiest ways to determine who built your Chevy Express is by the VIN. The second character in the VIN should be either a “G” or an “H,” with a “G” denoting that the van was made in Missouri by GM and an “H” indicating that it was constructed in Ohio by Navistar. The third character in the VIN should be either a ‘B’ or an ‘A.’ These two letters show that the vehicle was built as an incomplete cutaway for upfitting by a different entity.

This VIN decoding is only relevant for the Chevy Express Cutaway. 

Navistar does not produce the regular Chevy Express. All of these vehicles are built by GM in Wentzville. Another interesting piece of information that the VIN can determine is the engine type. The eighth character in the VIN will have the letter ‘P’ or the numbers ‘7’ or ‘1’. The letter ‘P’ tells you that this vehicle has the 4.3L V6 LV1 gasoline engine, while the number ‘7’ indicates it has the 6.6L V8 L8T gasoline engine. If it has the number ‘1’ in this position, the vehicle is equipped with the 2.8L I4 LWN turbodiesel Duramax engine.

Specs on the Chevy Express

The Chevy Express is available in 8-speed and 6-speed automatic transmissions. The available engines are a 2.8-liter four turbodiesel that produces 181 hp, a 4.3-liter V6 that produces 276 hp, and a 6.6-liter V8 that produces 401 hp. It has a towing capacity of 9,800 lbs and a maximum load capacity of 2,480 lbs. It can be configured as a cargo or passenger vehicle with seating for eight, twelve, or fifteen passengers. 

The Chevy Express and Navistar partnership have been successful so far, but that isn’t where this partnership ends. It was recently announced that GM would partner with Navistar again to supply fuel cell technology to new semi-trucks. According to CNBC, J.B. Hunt Transport is expected to be the first customer to pilot the semi-trucks and hydrogen fueling system at the end of 2022. The first trucks are expected to be available for sale in 2024.

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