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With a history of producing tough, reliable, and durable heavy-duty trucks that goes back all the way to the early 1940s, Freightliner Trucks continue to be a leading innovative force in the industry today. Despite the ruggedness of their rigs, like any vehicle, Freightliner trucks need to have parts replaced sometimes too! At 1A Auto, it is our mission to supply you with the right parts you need to keep your Freightliner truck working in tip top shape, at a great discount. Simply put, if you are in need of a replacement part for your Freightliner truck you've come to the right place. You'll find a large selection of new, high quality aftermarket Freightliner auto parts, such as speed sensors, exhaust manifolds, ball joints, driveshafts and more.

Our product development team spends over 8,000 hours a year researching the best auto parts, and they are carefully selected by our trained engineers so you can rest assured that you are getting the correct, high quality part you need for your truck, at a discount price. If we wouldn't put the part in our own vehicles, we won't sell them to anyone else. A new aftermarket replacement Freightliner part from 1A Auto will save you 30-50% on average over a comparable new OEM replacement Freightliner part that you would get at a dealership, and our new aftermarket Freightliner parts are also extremely durable and reliable. Don't overpay for Freightliner auto parts and save yourself from a lot of potential headaches by shopping at 1A Auto.

You can shop for all of your Freightliner truck parts online and buy safely and securely right here on our website, or you can call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about any of our parts, or to buy over the phone. With over 150 years combined experience, 1A Auto's customer service representatives are the most qualified to answer your questions about all of our new, aftermarket Freightliner truck parts. Our representatives answer 99.9% of phone calls in less than one minute and emails are responded to within the hour because we know you need answers quickly to get your Freightliner truck back in working order again. We also know you want your part fast for the same reason; 98% of in stock Freightliner auto parts ship from our warehouse within one business day so that you can get back on the road in no time, and all ground shipping in the continental U.S. is completely free. And, in the unlikely case that you are unhappy with your Freightliner auto part for any reason, 1A Auto also offers the only No Hassle return policy for unused items in the industry. Simply put, our competitors can't beat the 1A Advantage. Don't just take it from us - take it from over 50,000 satisfied customers!

Look no further than 1A Auto for your aftermarket, original equipment (OE) replacement Freightliner auto parts and get your truck the parts it needs today from Freightliner enthusiasts just like you! If you happen to be an enthusiastic Freightliner owner, have a deep passion for Freightliner vehicles, or just want to learn more about the truck manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.

Overview

Freightliner Trucks is a brand of trucks produced by Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a division of Daimler AG, since 2008. The Freightliner brand however can be traced back to the early 1940s, and remains a leader in the truck manufacturing industry.

Contents

1. Origin
2. Post WWII
3. The Daimler Acquisition
4. Freightliner Today

Origin

Freightliner began with a vision from a man named Leland James. James was a native Portland, Oregon trucker who was an integral part in the merger between several local trucking companies in 1929. The result was a freight company named Consolidated Truck Lines. The trucking industry, like the automotive industry, was relatively young and there were few mass produced trucks that could handle what James needed. The roads between the cities of Oregon and Washington were shaky and steep, requiring trucks with a lot of power, and James and his transportation company were beginning to realize that what they were working with was far from ideal. They needed specific parts and trucks to fit their needs, and there were few companies out there. And the ones that were available for such a small industry were inclined to use steel parts, something James wanted to avoid. His new company, which renamed itself to Freight Lines, Inc. in 1931 and to Consolidated Freightways, Inc. (CF) in 1939, would continue their transportation practices until the hardships became unbearable. With a lack of options to fit his specific needs, James decided to resort to manufacturing his own trucks. The result was a game changer and lead to one of the most successful commercial truck lines of all time: Freightliner.

While the Freightliner name can be traced to 1940, it didn’t adopt the name or produce its first truck until 1942. James had a goal in mind of creating a truck that was lightweight, and it started with aluminum parts such as the suspension, brakes, and hood. By increasing the payload capacity by choosing aluminum over steel, James’s trucks would be much more efficient. This line of thinking lead to the formation of the Freightways Manufacturing Company, which was initially intended to help Consolidated Freightways achieve their goals. With several railroads overburdened in support of WWII, the trucking industry had taken on a larger role for freight companies in the United States. With the idea of improving the truck, the newly established manufacturing division within Consolidated Freightways led to the “No Name Truck” which was designed with an aluminum cab placed over the engine. It was made from scratch with the help of eight mechanics, many of whom would later hold key positions in the company. Their first commercial truck, the Model 600, was created with an all-aluminum cab placed over the engine. The same year the division changed its name to the Freightliner Corporation.

Post WWII

The newly formed operation halted in support of WWII, but production picked back up in 1947 with a newly established plant in Portland. But it turned out that James’s once skeptically viewed vision was gaining ground, and more companies began to take interest in Freightliner’s operations. A few years later, Hyster, a lift truck company, ordered one of Freightliner’s trucks for $15,871, making them the first private company to make a purchase. In 1951, seeing they could make a significant profit and that several other private companies had a similar need to what James desired, Freightliner agreed to retail their trucks through the White Motor Company, a company founded in 1900 and who would become a leading producer of trucks in the U.S. following WWII. This would help cut production costs and increase distribution capabilities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and it also lead to some of their trucks to be known as “White-Freightliner.”

The 1950s brought significant changes to the industry, and Freightliner developed trucks that would aim to push the current limitations. One of Freightliner’s key attributes that helped establish nationwide success was their ability to listen to their customers. By meeting the driver’s needs, they could afford to innovate successfully and grow their product into something that was reliable and efficient, and they became popular for their custom designed trucks. The word “No” was not a common word heard around the company. In fact, some demands were so common that innovation led to models such as the WF64, the first truck with an overhead sleeper. The WF64 was also capable of running on gas, diesel, or liquefied propane. The innovation of firsts for the commercial truck company didn’t end there. In 1958 they created the first 90-degree tilt cab, which allowed their mechanics an easier method to make repairs.

While the 1950s firmly established Freightliner as a successful truck company capable of manufacturing reliable and innovative trucks that could fit custom demands, the 1960s would bring on further advancements. The trucking industry had officially picked up the ground it needed, and more companies found it useful to purchase trucks for commercial use. New interstate highways had been recently designed and implemented, and these boosted the industry. Demand for specific trucks depending on a company’s needs - whether it was for lumber, snow, rough terrain, etc. - also grew. Believe it or not, the 1964 WFT5366 was designed as a hauler to transport sugar cane in Hawaii. The next year also brought the Turboliner that came with a Boeing model 553 gas engine that could reach up to 300 horsepower. But it was the 1970s that would change Freightliner and propel it into the company we know today. Staying true to their roots, Freightliner continued to push the limitations on the modern truck. Some could say this began with their flagship model, the 1973 Powerliner that had a 600 hp V12 Detroit engine and was accommodated with a 2,000 square inch radiator to handle the output. Others could say it was with the FLC model that was designed with a new aerodynamic style. But a major milestone came the next year when they manufactured their 100,000th truck.

It was also in the 1970s that the longstanding distribution agreement between Freightliner and White Motor Company would come to an end, thanks to financial trouble White was facing at the time due to over-expansion that did not produce returns. Freightliner Corporation transitioned into being a freestanding manufacturer and distributor following the termination of this relationship. Interestingly, many of the first dealers of Freightliner trucks happened to be from the White Motor Company network, though there were some that signed up to sell Freightliner trucks without having any involvement with the White Motor Company. In 1979, another big event in the evolution of the company, and of the whole trucking and truck manufacturing industries, occurred. President Carter signed bills into law which deregulated transport both on land and in the air. This changed the economics of trucking, and removed the protective shield of regulated carriage that protected carriers allowing for much needed competition. A few years later, additional legislation was passed that altered traditional weight and length standards in order to lessen restrictions, and imposed a new excise tax on heavy trucks and the tires they used. This changed the rules of the trucking game even more.

The Daimler Acquisition

By the 1980s, it was clear Freightliner was one of the leading manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks. However, with all of the recent deregulation activity, Consolidated Freightways, which had been founded and flourished as a traditional, unionized carrier in the era before deregulation, realized it was in a battle for its survival. In May 1981, CF sold its truck manufacturing business and the Freightliner brand to Daimler-Benz AG, becoming a division under it. This would allow for CF to focus its attention and resources solely on its traditional trucking business. CF continued in this capacity until 2002, at which point the company shut down permanently.

Since its inception, the cherished design of the original Freightliner had been in a constant state of evolution, and it would not have been without the keen sense of awareness Freightliner developed from listening to its customers. The cab height was raised so truckers could stand comfortably in their cabin, but one of the most notable changes was the drift in demand from flat-nosed trucks to long-nosed trucks. This changed the way models were manufactured, and the new design was geared toward an aerodynamic style, changing the image of the conventional truck. It became one of the best selling Class 8 trucks in North America and led the company to nearly double in profit into the 1990s with the expansion of the FLD. Innovation also increased with their Airliner suspension, and in the 1990s the now-defunct semi-truck Century Class increased safety and fuel economy. The 1990s did also bring with it a period of financial turmoil due to a downturn in the industry in general, but cost reduction programs were put in place that helped to restore the company to profitability when the market rebounded. The company also made numerous acquisitions during the 1990s in order to diversify itself, including Thomas Built Buses. In 1998, its parent company Daimler-Benz AG, merged with and then subsequently acquired the Chrysler Corporation, forming DaimlerChrysler, with U.S. operations generally referred to as the “Chrysler Group.”

In the year 2000, a part of Freightliner’s past popped up again. That year, the Freightliner division acquired Western Star Trucks, Inc., originally founded in 1967 as a division within the White Motor Company to sell trucks on the west coast, from Australian businessman Terry Peabody who had purchased the company in 1990. White itself, who had helped Freightliner get to where it is today, went defunct in 1980 and its U.S. assets were acquired by Volvo AB in 1981, while two energy-related companies based in Canada purchased its Canadian assets, including a plant located in British Columbia and the Western Star nameplate and product range. The Western Star brand continued on under the Freightliner Corporation, alongside Freightliner branded trucks and others for the majority of the decade. Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC), a diesel engine manufacturing company founded in 1938, was also acquired in 2000.

By the early 2000s Freightliner also began offering the Business Class M2, which could be used for several business applications that could be altered to fit many industries - such as electrical and oil. The trucking industry was far from what it had once been, and many vehicles were making long distance trips, in some cases across the country. In order to raise fuel economy, Freightliner was the first North American manufacturer to create a wind tunnel. This helped them develop a sleek and more aerodynamic design that can be seen in the Cascadia model, one of Freightliner’s most popular makes of all-time. The Cascadia was built on a new platform and came with a new aerodynamic design with a sloped hood. It was a sign that Freightliner was still headed in an innovative direction and has been partly responsible for making Freightliner top of its class as the best selling brand for commercial trucks.

In 2007, DaimlerChrysler sold a majority of its interest in the Chrysler Group to a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, and thereafter it became a new company, Chrysler LLC. DaimlerChrysler changed its name to Daimler AG shortly afterwards, but maintained a 19.9% interest in the now separated Chrysler LLC. This also led to the announcement that the Freightliner Corporation would be renamed to Daimler Trucks North America, LLC in 2008, with Freightliner Trucks becoming a brand under this new division. In April of 2009, Daimler AG came to an agreement with Cerberus Capital Management to give up its remaining stake in Chrysler LLC, days before Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy.

Freightliner Today

Today, Freightliner operates as brand of trucks, like Western Star, produced by the Daimler Trucks North America LLC (formerly the Freightliner Corporation) division. Nearly all trucks from Freightliner feature Daimler’s BluTec catalytic convertors and have improved fuel economy with each model. These have all been made possible with Daimler’s wind tunnel that’s used for testing, as well as their minor additions to their trucks such as side skirts and roof deflectors. Many of their cabs come in different sizes and are still built with aluminum as the main material, holding true to James’s vision that many skeptics were quick to shoot down. Their ability to listen to the customer, increase payload capacity, and improve fuel economy has led to a loyal customer base and is the reason for making them the best selling rig for a number of years. They’ve even released a new prototype that has once again morphed the image of the conventional truck. Rightfully nicknamed the “Revolution,” it features LED headlamps, an integrated grille, hidden headlights, a back entry door, keyless entry, wraparound windshield, and much more. Innovations such as these show that Freightliner is still focused on improving the conventional truck and remaining a top seller for years to come.

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