In our first February issue… A billion-dollar industry. Trailer manufacturing may generate a billion dollars in annual sales by 1969, C W “Lefty” Alexander said in his presidential address to the TTMA convention in January 1960. At the time, annual sales of trailers had reached $385 million — up from $119 million in 1949.
Fruehauf expands. Fruehauf Trailer Company announced the construction of two factory branches — one in Seattle and the other in Spokane.
Harold C Bennett dies. Bennett founded Utility Trailer Manufacturing in 1914 with his brother Ernest.
Volvo comes to America. The first quantity shipment of Volvo diesel trucks arrives at a U S port. The engines ranged from 90 to 185 hp.
New officers. The Truck Equipment & Body Distributors Association elected new officers: Bob Bosbyshell, Truck Transport Equipment; George Mewhort, Mid Continent Equipment; Carl Ayoub, Motor Truck Distributors; Joseph Waite, The Heil Company; Charles Shields, Truck Equipment Company; Tom Pieratt (staff executive secretary); and Bill Hoyerman, General Body Sales Corporation.
Trailer production declines. Trailer production dropped to 9,803 units in November 1968. Through the first 11 months of 1968, manufacturers produced 94,345 trailers
Hobbs Trailers expanded its Blue Mound van plant in Fort Worth, Texas.
Clement acquires Garwood. Garwood, a company that first built a dump truck in 1912, was acquired by Clement Industries of Minden, Louisiana. Garwood Division of Sargent Industries produced dump bodies and hoists.
Truck body sales strong. The U S Department of Commerce predicted that sales of truck and bus bodies would be valued at $3.215 billion in 1979.
Great Dane adds plant. Great Dane Trailers opens a reefer-only trailer plant in Indiana to complement the dry-freight plant that it opened three years earlier.
Rawson-Koenig reports higher revenues. The service body manufacturer posted higher profits in 1988, the first year of the merger between Rawson Industries and Koenig Iron works.
Trailer shipments exceed 176,000. Trailer manufacturers shipped 176,035 complete trailers in 1988, relatively unchanged from the 180,142 shipped in 1987.
Beall buys Boyd Tank. Beall Trans-Liner purchased the assets of Boyd Tank in Boyd, Texas.
Bouncing back from the fire. School bus manufacturer Wayne Canada is back in business after fire destroyed all but a 20,000-sq-ft warehouse.
Fruehauf reorganizes. The industry's largest trailer manufacturer undergoes a massive restructuring plan that includes a proposed recapitalization to gain improved financing. The plan includes being reorganized into five groups: 1. Dry freight and refrigerated van trailers. 2. Platform trailers. 3. Liquid and bulk tank trailers and dumps. 4. Components. 5. Containers and container chassis.
The ten largest trailer manufacturers in the annual Trailer/Body Builders report were (from largest to smallest) Wabash National, Great Dane Limited Partnership, Utility Trailer, Trailmobile Corporation, Stoughton Trailers, Strick Corporation, Dorsey Trailers, Manac, HPA Monon, and Lufkin Trailers.
Wabash National reports $1.3 billion in sales. Revenues and earnings for 1998 were up more than 50% from the previous year, according to Jerry Ehrlich, chairman, president, and chief executive officer.
HPA Monon opens new warehouse. The trailer manufacturer announced a 20,000-sq-ft parts operation in Country Club Hills, Illinois.
New Nabors. Nabors Trailers announced the opening of a new manufacturing plant in Mansfield, Louisiana.
Reading Body founder retires. Irving Suknow, founder and owner of Reading Body Works, announced he was stepping down after almost 35 years with the company. He started the company in 1955 with two people in the office and eight in the shop.
E Lehnert & Sons, 125 years old, opens new shop in suburban Baltimore.
As part of our 50th anniversary coverage, each month Trailer/Body Builders will present items of interest from archived issues.