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
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.
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."