American LaFrance has created the Commercial Truck Division, with a goal of continuing the growth of the Condor low-cabover product line in existing and emerging markets, while developing new products through sales initiatives.
Jeff Cook, who has led the Condor product line sales efforts over the past two years, will assume the role of Vice President of the Commercial Truck Division.
“We have a proven track record of quality and reliability with Condor that is evident in the repeat orders we receive today from customers that purchased some of the first Condors off the line in 2000,” says Cook. “The economy has made the larger truck companies think twice about spending money on new products for low-volume applications, especially if they involve any degree of modification. With the dedicated resources that we have in the Commercial Truck Division, we can move quickly and efficiently toward developing solutions for customers in niche markets.”
While the division is new to American LaFrance, the vision for the 179-year-old company is not. In the early 1920s, a spinoff of American LaFrance, the American LaFrance Truck Company, was created to capture anticipated sales following WWI. However, as used military trucks flooded back into the market, the American LaFrance Truck Company was merged with Republic Motor Truck Company, a former heavyweight in commercial trucks, to form LaFrance-Republic Trucks in 1929. The company was later purchased in 1931 by Sterling Motor Truck Company, which in turn was purchased by White Motor Company in 1951.
“We have a 1923 American LaFrance commercial truck that greets you when you enter our corporate office. It reminds me that someone else had my responsibilities almost 100 years ago,” jokes Cook. “It is an exciting time for our company. In the past, we didn’t have the resources or structure to reach too far out of our comfort zone. With our new organization, it is not only encouraged, but required. It is going to be fun.”