History of Freightliner Trucks

Freightliner Trucks is a renowned manufacturer of heavyweight trucks in America. It’s also a manufactures of tractor trailers and also truck chassis. As we speak, it is a part of Daimler Trucks North America (a branch of German Daimler AG). Now that you know its present, what is the history of the freightliner trucks? Read on.

Early years

For a long time (since 1942 to be precise), Freightliner Trucks has been commonly known as Freightliner Inc. This is not all; in the 1930s it was called Consolidated Freightways. In an attempt to better the abilities of heavy trucks and make them climb the mountainous parts of the United States, Consolidated Freightways began developing its line through the reconstruction of Fageols. It also produced freightliner truck parts.

These trucks came to be known as “Freightliners” hence the start of the Freightliner Company. The first trucks were manufactured in the factory of Consolidated Freightways in 1942. And in the same year, the company was renamed Freightliner.

Although World War II temporary put a halt to the production of trucks at Freightliner, it came back to the truck making business in Portland after World War II (1949 to be precise). The first truck to be sold was bought by Hyster (a fork life maker). Today, that vehicle has a place of honor in Washington D.C.

In 1951, the company decided to merge with White Motor Company in Cleveland. This worked well and Freightliner was able to distribute its vehicles far and wide. The partnership endured for close to twenty-five years and the trucks from the partnership were popularly referred to as “White Liner” trucks.

1960s and 1970s

In the early 1960s, Freightliner was looking for means to minimize costs such as the penalty on importing duty on the trucks manufactured in Burnaby, B.C. To achieve this, they had to open assembly plants in California, Chino, Indiana, and Indianapolis that dealt in freightliner truck parts.

In 1974, Freightliner put an end to its fruitful relationship with White Motor Company because that company began having some financial issues. From that year onwards, Freightliner became an independent truck manufacturer and distributor. In fact, it was around that time when it came up with its first traditional trucks model, which was an adjustment of a high-cab over model. At that time, these trucks took almost fifty percent of the market because of the lengthy regulations that limited the truck-trailer trucks.

The company went on to thrive and open new plants in North Carolina and Mount Holly in 1979. That year, when the then current president, Carter, put his sign on new regulations that saw transport rules deregulated, another milestone was marked. The regulation completely changed how the trucking industry operated. Moreover, it did away with the industry’s protection from competition and this saw Teamsters Union come up with a stronghold position in the freight transport business.

Preppie 1980s

The 1980s saw the implementation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982. This Act brought more changes to the trucking industry by making the length and weight rules more relaxed and putting in place the new excise taxes on truck tires and heavyweight trucks. As a result, the restriction of the overall length of the trailers became a thing of the past. However, the trailer itself became restricted and could not go further than fifty-three feet long.

During the time when transportation industry was de-regulated, the Freightliner did awesomely well. In 1981, however, the company was having problems and this saw the management arrive at a decision to sell it Daimler-Benz. It was done. It also had to close its plants in California, Indiana, Indianapolis and Chino. By 1989, however, the company (Freightliner) was able to buy an already existing plant in Cleveland that had previously manufactured transit buses.

More changes in the 1990’s

By 1991, Freightliners was improving and was even able to manufacturer a new series of weight trucks that came to be known as “Business Class”. Being the first truck of such kind, it was rattling successful.

Freightliners also began manufacturing trucks and offering freightliner truck parts in Mexico next to a plant owned by Daimler. Generally, 1990s was a good epoch for the truck industry at large. Freightliner was able to flourish as well. During this time, Freightliner was under the management of James L. Hebe who had joined the company in 1989.

Several notable products that were produced in the 1990s became Custom Chassis of the Freightliner. The Custom Chassis was meant for vans which were to be used in businesses such as Cintas and UPS, school buses, shuttle buses and diesel recreational vehicles. In the year 1997, “Aeromax” (a heavy weight truck) was purchased from the Ford Motor Company. The Freightliners renamed it “Sterling”.

The Modern Era

In 2000, Freightliner purchased Detroit Diesel Corp. And when Daimler integrated Detroit Diesel Corp into Freightliner, the company became even larger. Regrettably, it took more than it could handle at the time. The following year, the supply exceeded the demand! Obviously, this brought financial problems to the company and the former CFO, Rainer Schmueckle, was called to help get the company back into shape.

In the hopes of getting the company back in shape, several plants were consolidated or closed. This almost worked, but in 2007, workers in the North Carolina plant conducted a strike. And although close to 700 workers were fired, most got back their jobs a week later. In 2008, the company became Daimler Trucks North America.

Throughout this epoch, a number of rescue and fire apparatus manufacturers were adopted and absorbed into the American entity.

Freightliner today

Today, freightliner is active in making heavy weights trucks and freightliner truck parts. Also, it is responsible for the manufacture of class-two van referred to as the Sprinter and marketed through Mercedes Benz in Europe.

As of January 2012, Freightliner had intentions to hire one thousand one hundred additional workers for its Cleveland to add to the 1500 that already existed. This, however, was a temporary measure.

Freightliner is by no doubt the most popular and well-renowned for making dependable and durable that we see on the road. We have to admit, this company has come a long way. It faced numerous challenges, but it always had a way of overcoming them. On August 2014, the Cleveland plant had two thousand six hundred employees. But despite this, it never stopped hiring more employees.