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Freightliner

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Freightliner is a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty commercial trucks and custom chassis. As a division of Daimler Trucks North America, it specializes in producing Class 5 to 8 trucks to serve a wide range of commercial markets. Its class 8 trucks are currently the best-selling models in their class.

Freightliner also manufactures custom-made chassis used in walk-in cabs, motor homes, school buses, and commercial buses.

In conjunction with Daimler, Freightliner has successful dealerships throughout the world. Daimler head offices are based in Portland, Oregon, and have approximately 20,000 employees.[1]

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] From Consolidated Freight Lines to Freightliner

In 1929, a Portland, Oregon trucker named Leland James created his own freight hauling company, Consolidated Freight Lines. James was a firm believer that success relied on the industry's ability to innovate.

Firstly, James wanted to redesign many of his commercial vehicles to make them lighter and capable of carrying more cargo. After his suppliers ignored his suggestions, James decided to have his own mechanics customize the trucks. They began experimenting with aluminum components, suspension hanger brackets, and pulleys for reefer trailers.[2] The mechanics were also experimenting with different cab constructions, the most successful being the cab-over-engine design, which allowed for maximum cargo capacity. By 1937 Consolidated Freight Lines' new truck was added to its fleet.

In 1940, James decided to rename his company Consolidated Freightways. Teaming with five other freight lines, Consolidated formed Freightways Manufacturing Co. Inc. to build vehicles for all their fleets. The Consolidated designs were put into production with hopes that their superiority to other models would be noticed. James was not interested in entering the vehicle manufacturing industry, but instead hoped other truck companies would recognize the advancements and adapt the technology to their own. Ultimately, other manufacturers' attempts to replicate the Freightways model failed, leading James to believe the only way to do it right was to do it himself.

The first trucks off the production line displayed the Freightliner symbol (although originally hyphenated "Freight-Liner"). The company decided to once again change its name, now it would be know as the Freightliner Corp.

During World War II, Freightliner truck production was side tracked, as its factories were busy manufacturing military airplane and ship components. However, after the war, truck production resumed and flourished.

[edit] Post-war Developments

Due to post-war economic development Freightliner was able to continue designing new products. It instituted the use of aluminum alloys in cabs, axle housings, brake drums, cross members, wheels, radiators, and frame rails. In fact, its innovations persuaded James to finally open Freightliner's vehicles to the outside market in 1948. Its first sale was a Model 800. In 1950, Freightliner sold its first sleeper-cab, which was a cab-over-engine model. Its custom trucks were quickly becoming popular; in fact, Freightliner manufactured more than 100 trucks in 1950.[3]

At this point Freightliner Corp. decided to expand its sales by teaming with White Motor Co. of Cleveland, Ohio in 1951. As a result of marketing its vehicles across the country, Freightliner had sold 1,000 units by 1960.[4]

[edit] Branching Out in the 1970s

The 1970s were a difficult time for the transportation industry due to soaring gas prices. Freightliner decided to end its relationship with White Motor Co. and instead develop its own dealerships, as well as new manufacturing facilities in the eastern United States.

By the end of the 70s, Freightliner's nationwide efforts had made the company renowned throughout the industry. However, not all companies were registering the same success. Daimler-Benz AG was failing to promote its Mercedes-Benz trucks in the U.S., but remained determined. Freightliner decided to partner with Daimler for mutual benefit: Freightliner would receive more engineering resources, while Daimler would benefit from Freightliner's local fame.

[edit] Acquisitions Throughout the 1990s

By 1992, Freightliner Corporation's success had allowed it to achieve the best-selling class 8 trucks on the market. The company was now in a position to acquire other companies to spread its influence throughout the industry.

In 1995 it purchased American LaFrance, which specialized in fire trucks and emergency vehicles. It acquired Ford Motor Co.'s heavy truck business in 1997, Thomas Built Buses in 1998 and Western Star trucks in 2000.

It was also concurrently developing the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.(founded in 1995). It has grown into an expansive industry and source of income for Freightliner and Daimler. It is currently the leading manufacturer of the diesel walk-in van chassis.[5] It is also a leader in the other markets in which it deals: motor homes and buses. FCCC employs more than 900 people.

[edit] The Company Today

In 2008, Freightliner Corp. has once again changed its name, to Daimler Trucks North America "to better reflect its position in the Daimler family worldwide."[6] Head offices are based in Portland, Oregon. Chris Patterson serves as the president and CEO of this private company. 2007 fiscal year-end sales were US$2.1 billion.[7]

[edit] Marketplace

[edit] Equipment List

[edit] References

  1. Freightliner. Answers. 2008-09-09.
  2. History. Freightliner. 2008-09-09.
  3. History. Freightliner. 2008-09-09.
  4. History. Freightliner. 2008-09-09.
  5. Freightliner Custom Chassis. Daimler-Trucks North America. 2008-09-09.
  6. Media Room. Daimler-Trucks North America. 2008-09-09.
  7. Freightliner. Answers. 2008-09-09.

[edit] External Links