The world of trucks isn’t what it seems, writes James Stan­ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

IF YOU were asked who made Re­nault Trucks, it would be fair to as­sume Re­nault was a good an­swer. It would also be fair enough to sug­gest Mit­subishi makes Mit­subishi Fuso trucks.

That would all make sense, but the truck man­u­fac­tur­ing world can be a con­fus­ing place.

Re­nault Trucks has noth­ing to do with the Re­nault car com­pany and is owned by the Volvo Truck group. As for Mit­subishi Fuso, it has been ab­sorbed by the gi­ant Daim­ler group.

The global truck-mak­ing in­dus­try is dom­i­nated by a few play­ers who have gob­bled up other op­er­a­tors. It can get a bit com­pli­cated, but hold on as Big Wheels maps out the global truck in­dus­try.


DAIM­LER is the par­ent com­pany that owns the Mercedes-Benz car brands, but it’s also the world’s largest truck maker.

Mercedes never sold its truck op­er­a­tion. It bought Amer­i­can brand Freight­liner, the largest truck­maker in the US, in 1981.

Mit­subishi Fuso used to be part of the gi­ant Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries op­er­a­tion, but Daim­ler bought a ma­jor­ity stake in 2004-2005 to give it a pres­ence in the light-duty classes.

North Amer­i­can brand Western Star was started as part of White Trucks in the 1970s. Aus­tralian Terry Pe­abody took on the Aus­tralian dis­tri­bu­tion of Western Star in the 1980s and then bought the en­tire com­pany in 1991. He sold it nine years later to Daim­ler for nearly $1 bil­lion.

Ster­ling was a Daim­ler brand un­til it was killed off last year. Daim­ler also owns Detroit Diesel, the en­gine man­u­fac­turer set up by Gen­eral Mo­tors in 1938.


THE sec­ond largest truck­maker in the world, Volvo Truck no longer has any­thing to do with Volvo cars, owned by Chi­nese brand Geely.

Volvo Truck sold its car di­vi­sion to Ford in 1999 and con­tin­ued to con­cen­trate on its heavy-ve­hi­cle busi­ness. It took over Re­nault Trucks and the Amer­i­can icon Mack truck com­pany in 2000, which gave it mas­sive cov­er­age, in­clud­ing an en­try into the lu­cra­tive US mar­ket.

Volvo fur­ther ex­panded by pur­chas­ing UD Nis­san Diesel in 2007.


THE mighty Ken­worth brand was started in Washington by Harry Kent and Edgar Wor­thing­ton and was bought by Pa­cific Car and Foundry in 1945, which would be­come PAC­CAR in 1972.

It bought Peter­bilt in 1958 be­fore buy­ing the Bri­tish Fo­den brand in 1981. Pac­car would also buy Dutch truck­maker DAF in 1996.

Fo­den pro­duc­tion ceased in 1998, but PAC­CAR con­tin­ued to sell DAF trucks re-badged as Fo­den’s through to 2006.

PAC­CAR also took over Bri­tish Ley­land in 1998, which still builds trucks, but they wear the DAF name.


VW trucks are made in Brazil, but this op­er­a­tion was re­cently sold to MAN, though VW owns about 30 per cent of the Ger­man brand MAN.

It also owns a big chunk of Sca­nia, a Swedish truck­maker that used to be part of a team with Swedish car pro­ducer Saab un­til the two split in 1995.

It was nearly taken over by Volvo and then MAN tried a hos­tile takeover in 2006, but was left with only 17 per cent vot­ing rights.

Since 2007, Volk­swa­gen Group has at­tained 70 per cent of Sca­nia vot­ing rights and now wants Sca­nia and MAN to share technology.


IVECO took over the Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion of In­ter­na­tional trucks af­ter the brand struck trou­ble in the 1980s, but it con­tin­ued in the US af­ter chang­ing its name to Nav­is­tar In­ter­na­tional.

Nav­is­tar has set up sev­eral joint ven­tures to help it sur­vive, in­clud­ing part­ner­ships with Cater­pil­lar to make CAT trucks; with Ford which takes diesel en­gines for the F-Se­ries pick-up; with Mahin­dra and Ta­tra in In­dia; and with JAC in China.


JA­PANESE brand Hino has been owned by Toy­ota since 1967, be­fore which it made cars as well as trucks.


ISUZU is a stand-alone player. Toy­ota owns a small slice, as does Mit­subishi Cor­po­ra­tion, but it is still in­de­pen­dent.


IVECO is part of the Fiat Group, which also owns Fer­rari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo.


NOW that Cater­pil­lar has stopped build­ing on-high­way en­gines and Detroit Diesel pow­er­trains are now only avail­able for Daim­ler group brands, Cum­mins is in a strong po­si­tion. Based in In­di­ana, it was quick to set up in emerg­ing mar­kets such as China, In­dia and Brazil be­fore most other Western com­pa­nies and has man­aged to re­main in­de­pen­dent.

Con­tra­dic­tions: Volvo trucks (top) have noth­ing to do with Volvo cars and (above) the Mit­subishi Fuso truck is made by Daim­ler.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.