A Century of Engineering Innovation

by David Giroux, Director of Communications and Corporate Marketing5/5/2017
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As the director of communications and corporate marketing at Daimler Trucks North America, I feel strongly that I have the best job in the world. In my position, I have the honor to represent and communicate for the brightest, most passionate people in the industry who design and build, hands-down, the best trucks on the road. I have the honor to work with corporate marketers, communicators, social media planners and digital agencies that disseminate our message across the North American commercial vehicle industry.   

I also have the honor to publish the first in a new blog series that provides our website readers a glimpse into the inner workings of Daimler Trucks North America.  This blog is designed to spotlight those thought leaders within the company whose work results in the best trucks on the road today.  

However, you don’t get to be the best in the world overnight. It takes years of commitment to extraordinary engineering, visionary design and cutting edge innovations in technology. This year, we celebrate three milestones in our history, 100 years of Thomas Built Buses, 75 years of Freightliner and 50 years of Western Star! 

My blog takes a look back on our rich history of innovation with an eye toward how we plan to continue defining the future of commercial vehicles.

Daimler Trucks North America was built on a challenge as relevant today as it was when the company was founded in 1942 as Freightliner Corporation: to build a better vehicle.

When the company’s founder, Leland James, startled the industry by building truck components with lightweight aluminum instead of the traditional steel, nobody could have imagined how far we would come all of these decades later. Many subsequent firsts have been achieved, many of which we hold as patents in safety, fuel efficiency, aerodynamics, among other areas of engineering and design. This is in our company’s DNA and will be as we continue to advance engineering innovations for years to come.

Perhaps most of all, we are proud to make a positive impact on society with our iconic brands. Freightliner is, perhaps, one of the most ubiquitous brands in the United States. Almost half of the trucks on the road are Freightliners, hauling goods to warehouses and stores to supply us with all the necessities and comforts of life. Because of trucks, furniture, food, school supplies and hospital equipment all get to where they need to be to keep society running.

Freightliner is the founding brand of our company, and today it leads the industry. Most recently, the advancements have come to life as our new Freightliner Cascadia – the regeneration of a vehicle that changed the game nearly 10 years ago – is once again redefining the modern commercial vehicle. The new Cascadia boasts leading technologies from our Detroit brand of engines and transmissions. Our newest Freightliner, along with our research vehicles like our autonomous Inspiration truck and ground-breaking, fuel-efficient SuperTruck, represents our future.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Western Star, our heavy-duty vocational trucks. Each Western Star is custom-built and designed to tackle the toughest applications, including off-road, heavy haul, construction and logging. Year after year, customers rely on these serious trucks to help build the infrastructure of our towns and cities.

Going back further to 1916, Thomas Built Buses started from modest beginnings as a streetcar company to become the leading manufacturer of school buses today. We’re proud to have the privilege of transporting America’s children to school and home, and we are proud that Thomas buses have become a symbol of strength, stability and leadership in our communities.

And if we go back to when the first motor truck was built in 1896, you’ll see we were there, too, as it was invented by our founder, Gottlieb Daimler – most famous for having invented the automobile itself with Carl Benz of Mercedes-Benz fame.

This year, as we look back over a century of innovating transportation, we honor our past and look forward to our future as we work on creating the next advancements that will continue to drive the forward advancement of transportation and society. 

I hope you enjoy the blog, as it will dive into all the areas of the business that make us the undisputed market leader. We will explore every aspect of our business from the bottom up, so please keep reading; I think you will be impressed.  

David Giroux Director of Communications and Corporate Marketing

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