It costs as much as $125,000. It gets less than 10 mpg. It dwarfs minivans. It promises to make onlookers "gawk and gasp."
Actor Ashton Kutcher drives one. So does pro basketball star Jalen Rose.
It's a Hummer, right? Wrong. It's the CXT, a commercial pickup from International Truck and Engine Corp.
International's core business is selling diesel-engine dump trucks, trash haulers and school buses. But the company plans to use the CXT and its new kid brother, the RXT, to build its 102-year-old brand with events, promotions, apparel and toys.
The CXT is 21 feet long and has a 9-foot-tall cab. The RXT, which goes on sale this fall, is smaller. Both boast luxury options that include leather seats, a drop-down DVD screen and player and satellite radio.
The pickups always will be niche vehicles, said Rob Swim, International's director of marketing strategy. He says International sells 500 to 1,000 CXT trucks each year.
CXT buyers are primarily business owners who use the truck to promote their companies, says Al Saltiel, International's marketing vice president.
International is part of Navistar International Corp. International's XT lineup includes the MXT concept pickup.
The truck line "has spawned a lot of merchandising," Swim says. Wal-Mart expects to sell 200,000 radio-controlled toy CXT trucks during the Christmas season.
International has expanded its line of branded merchandise tied to the truck family. A new promotion with Irwin Industrial Tools includes a "Rule the Road Giveaway" that offers contestants a one-year lease on a CXT and $2,500 worth of tools.
Other automakers have tried broader truck marketing approaches. Volvo Trucks North America Inc. advertised during the 1998 Super Bowl.
AM General Corp., which makes military vehicles, ran ads in consumer publications for its Hummer H1. General Motors later bought the rights to product development and marketing for Hummers.
Bill Hanley, sales manager of an International dealership in Hackensack, N.J., is trying to sell his first CXT. He got the truck in stock two months ago.
Says Hanley: "It's a toy."