Newest truck manufacturer is one of the oldest

| 9/25/2001

The newest company in the heavy-duty truck industry has a name that represents more than 100 years of quality and achievements. Autocar LLC was formed in July 2001, when parent company Grand Vehicle Works Holdings LLC (GVW) purchased the Autocar name and the Xpeditor truck line from Volvo Trucks North America Inc.

GVW acquired the Autocar name for a good reason. As the oldest vehicle nameplate in continuous production in the United States, Autocar is synonymous in the truck industry with product quality, particularly for vocational applications. As Autocar LLC, the company will create a new pairing by combining Autocar's historic, well-recognized name with an established product line, the Xpeditor, a truck used mainly for refuse hauling.

Autocar's solid reputation stems from a rich legacy of manufacturing that began in 1897; the Autocar name has graced vehicles in three centuries. The original Autocar company got its start that year as the Pittsburgh Motor Car Company. Founded by brothers Louis and John Clark, the company's first vehicle was a gas-powered tricycle. Two years later, the Clarks moved the company to Ardmore, PA, and renamed the firm Autocar. In 1905, the name Autocar became a registered trademark.

The company began focusing on trucks in 1907, with the introduction of a two-ton truck with a shaft driven axle. Autocar was the first truck manufacturer to build wheels with wooden instead of wire spokes. It introduced its first commercial vehicle in1908, and growth continued throughout the decades.

Autocar has many truck manufacturing achievements to its credit:
-- It was the first company to mass produce a truck with forward control (a configuration in which more than half the engine length is behind the furthest-front point of the windshield base and the steering wheel hub is in the first quarter of the vehicle length).
-- It offered the first four-cylinder-engine forward-control truck.
-- It was one of the few truck manufacturers to make its own engines, transmissions and rear axles.

In addition, auto historians cite Autocar trucks as being instrumental to the Allied forces' efforts in World Wars I and II. In 1953, the White Motor Car Co. purchased a controlling interest in Autocar and moved the company to Exton, PA. White primarily marketed Autocar trucks to companies in the construction, logging, mining, quarrying and oil industries.

In 1981, Volvo purchased White, renaming the company Volvo White Truck Corp., and retained the Autocar name. After July 1995, Volvo continued to use the Autocar emblem on heavy construction trucks, and in 1997, Autocar celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Although Autocar LLC is blessed with a historic name, it's bringing a new approach to the heavy-duty truck industry. Unlike other truck manufacturers, Autocar has only one product line: the Xpeditor, a Class-8 low-cab-over engine (LCOE) truck. This streamlined product roster allows Autocar to focus solely on the needs of Xpeditor users. Autocar will collect feedback from its customers and create products and services that address these comments.

"Historically, the LCOE segment of the Class-8 truck market has been too small to merit much attention from truck manufacturers. For Autocar, however, this segment is our only business," said Bob Enright, Autocar president. "We think purchasers of the Xpeditor and all LCOE trucks will appreciate the attention they'll receive from Autocar."