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Mobility and logistics are few of the key drivers in the American economy. These involve countless hours navigating through different states to transport goods, raw materials, and machinery essential to drive the industries forward. This process keeps the US trucking a staple job and lifestyle to some Americans. To these American truckers, life on the road is an adventure. They encounter different personalities in diners, gas stations, and truck stop. Some of them have even built reputations among the truckers' circle based on their performance, experience, and mastery of the roads. And like the drivers, truck brands have also established their own reputations. Freightliner is no exception. The brand has been serving the American industry for more than 70 years now, and there's no sign of it slowing down. We explore how the brand built itself up and how it continues to provide quality Freightliner parts to its market.
Freightliner Corporation was a derivative of the now defunct Consolidated Freightways. Led by founder and CEO Leland James, the brand launched its first commercial vehicle named the Freightliner Model 600 in 1942. As USA entered the war, production for commercial trucks was halted to give way for the manufacturing of war materials. By 1947, the brand resumed the production of trucks and Freightliner parts, and relocated to its Portland factory. A few years later, the Eastern Freightliner was launched. The truck was designed for hauling single semi-trailers. During the same period, the brand was able to sell its first transcontinental cab-over-engine truck capable of pulling a 35-foot trailer. From there on, Freightliner progressed in the industry. It even developed industry innovations like the four-wheel-drive truck and the first 90-degree tilt cab. These developments meant that the company also had to reinforce its production of quality Freightliner truck parts.
As Freightliner continued to evolve through the decades, it began gaining market preference. It became known for its ability to custom-build trucks with Freightliner accessories according to customer specifications. In the '70s, the Freightliner Powerliner became the brand's flagship truck. It boasted an engine capable of 600 horsepower, very capable to pull heavy loads. The product line-up continued to expand with the brand introducing conventional long-nose trucks and low-cab-forward trucks.
By 1981, Freightliner was acquired by Daimler-Benz AG. The acquisition allowed the brand access to new technologies used to build cars and trucks under the Daimler-Ben wing. In 1987, the aerodynamic Freightliner FLD became North America's best selling Class 8 truck. A few years later, the brand reached the top of the North American heavy-duty truck market.
At present, the brand line-up includes models like the Cascadia, Coronado, Classic, Century Class S/T, and Columbia. With the brand still growing and now tapping into the online world, the market can expect more Freightliner parts online as well as aftermarket Freightliner parts.
For the past few years, Freightliner answered the challenge created by the US Department of Energy. Truck manufacturers tried to develop new technologies that can further improve the capacity and efficiency of trucks. The brand came up with the Freightliner SuperTruck. It was designed to comply with at least 50% improvement in both freight efficiency and brake thermal efficiency. The result was a truck capable of 12.2 mpg and 115% freight-efficient. This is a continuous evolution. You can safely say that there will be more innovations to be launched in the years to come.