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