History of Kenworth Trucks

Kenworth is one of the renowned names in the manufacturing industry and heavy-duty class 8 trucks. The company is the subsidiary of PACCAR. Before manufacturing trucks, Kenworth was known for producing school buses and transit buses. It is beautiful to know how a company of humble beginnings evolved over 90 years and is now one of America’s most sought after manufacturer of heavy-duty automobiles.

Let’s dive in and see how Kenworth grew over 90 years and the critical success factors that have worked in Kenworth’s favor.


It began in 1912 in Portland, Oregon. Two brothers George T. and Louis Gerlinger, Jr. had started this company. They started very humbly by starting a dealership for cars and trucks and named it as Gerlinger Motor Car Works. But within two years something clicked and they were not happy with just the dealership — they wanted to manufacture something of their own. So in 1914, they started their own truck manufacturing company. They decided to use a more powerful engine than typical trucks had at that time, an inline six-cylinder engine. This was an innovative engine for the time and it was the first time it was used in any commercial trucks.

In 1916, the Gerlinger Motor Company moved to Tacoma, Washington. The founders of Gerlinger Motor Company took a lease from Seattle businessman Edgar K. Worthington, who seemed to be intrigued by the success and the potential of Gerlinger Motor Company. Later, in 1917, Worthington and his business partner, Captain Frederick Kent, purchased the company. In 1919, Captain Kent retired from the business, and his son Harry Kent became the new partner in the company. They grew to be very successful, so in 1923 Kent and Worthington renamed the company Kenworth (Ken’ and Worth’). In 1926, they started producing buses and Kenworth truck parts. And since then there was no looking back.

In 1945, the Kenworth Company was bought by The Pacific Car and Foundry Company. In 1960, The Pacific Car and Foundry Company became an international truck manufacturer. Kenworth moved to Mexico with a minor stake of 49%.

In 1967, a new division was born. It was called Dynacraft division and was founded to provide hoses, adapters, belts, and other accessories to Kenworth truck plants.

In 1972, realizing that The Pacific Car and Foundry Company no longer reflected the products of the company, the shareholders and directors decided to reform the name and made it PACCAR Inc. The Pacific Car and Foundry Company became a division of PACCAR, located in its original Renton facility.

Critical Success Factors

What’s intriguing about this company is its ability to stick to fundamentals. These fundamentals have helped them to evolve from producing Kenworth truck parts and buses to becoming the most accredited truck producer in America within just 92 years.

Let’s Look at How it Happened.


What was started by two brothers in 1914, the innovation of using an inline six-cylinder engine is still being carried by Kenworth. They are still the topmost truck manufacturer who is using cutting edge technology and innovation. As we know in this era of fierce competition, it is mandatory to encourage creativity and innovation in a company. Kenworth encourages every employee to be innovative and add value to the company’s growth.

The latest dynamics in Kenworth truck parts and advanced aerodynamics allow Kenworth to remain in the topmost position in the trucking industry. This non-negotiable commitment to innovation and continuous improvement are the cornerstones of Kenworth’s success and amazing growth.


A company’s success depends on how well they walk the talk. And Kenworth has done exactly that. They never compromise on the Kenworth truck parts they use in the commercial trucks and the best of the design which they use for excellent performance and endurance of the trucks.

From Kenworth truck parts to commercial trucks, Kenworth’s tough workhouse solutions have made all the difference in the durability and performance even in the most demanding situations. In any condition, where a normal truck is frightened to tread, the Kenworth trucks deliver peak performance and offer magnificent results.


This is one of the most significant success factors of Kenworth trucks. Since 1923, when the first Kenworth product was manufactured. That day onward it is Kenworth’s legacy to provide absolutely top-class quality to everything they build. From durability of the trucks, increasing the comfort level of the driver to optimal driving efficiency are the primary mottos of Kenworth.

Thus, what Kenworth is known for is their amazing commitment to quality and uncompromising efficiency in craftsmanship. They are second to none in quality and they are still the best truck manufacturers in America.

These are the three most critical success factors which are the reasons why Kenworth is at its summit right now, enjoying the success of being the best in the trucking industry even in this age of cut-throat competition.

Where Kenworth Stands Now

The question which remains unanswered is where Kenworth stands now. It is a proud moment for Kenworth to declare that in 2014, they produced it’s one millionth truck Chillicothe, Ohio, their assembly facility. The truck was Kenworth T680 Advantage powered by a PACCAR MX-13 engine. This truck was also equipped with an aerodynamic facility which helped the truck to take turns without tilting a bit.

Kenworth’s motto of manufacturing trucks is sustainability and in today’s era environment is of utter importance. And they start with design. They use a one-of-a-kind Eco Design software that makes it easier to identify Kenworth truck parts and materials that are the least hazardous while trying to improve the chances of recyclability of the trucks they are producing.

Kenworth is also very aware of their social responsibility. They believe in offering the best quality products to the public and maintaining all ethical standards without compromising anything for the sake of making a profit. Thus, the internal stakeholders, i.e. employees, shareholders, management, and external stakeholders, i.e. customers, Government, community, suppliers are properly taken care of and given importance to their individual requirements. Maintaining these simple yet fundamental standards have made Kenworth one of the sought after companies in all over the world.

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