From Academic Kids

Peterbilt Motors is one of the primary producers of heavy duty class 8 trucks.

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Peterbilt Model 359 Truck Tractor With Semi End Dump Trailer. Image Courtesy of Construction Transport Service, Inc. Copyright 2003-2005 All Rights Reserved
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Peterbilt Model 359 Full Truck With Roll-Off Chassis Transfer Dump Trailer. Image Courtesy of Construction Transport Service, Inc. Copyright 2003-2005 All Rights Reserved

The company is also owned by PACCAR, Inc, who also owns Kenworth.


Brief History

Lumber entrepenuer T.A. Peterman purchased the assets of Fageol Motors of Oakland, CA in 1938 in order to supplement his need for custom built logging truck chassises. Fageol went into receivership in 1932. By 1938, the Great Depression had driven the value of the assets to nearly zero. Peterman acquired the defunct truck manufacturer and began to produce customized CHAIN DRIVE trucks for exclusive use by his timber concern. By the early 1940s, he began to sell his remarkable trucks to the public. Mr. Peterman died in 1945. His wife Ida, carried on the trucking business and expanded it into a serious producer of heavy trucks and truck tractors. In 1958, she sold her interest to Paccar, then a manufacturer of rail road cars. Paccar which had years earlier acquired the assets of Kenworth (the old Kent-Worthington Company) was already a major player in the heavy truck market.

Peterbilt Today

Today, Paccar's products are considered among the best made in the industry. (Afficianados of Mack Trucks may beg to differ.)

Different Models

(Gloss the evolution of design over time, trademark styling, etc.)








Quality & Preference

Quality among all heavy truck manufacturers in general is improving, however industry insiders will testify that the industy has a LONG way to go before they achieve the quality levels reached by automobile manufacturers like Toyota and Honda. Part of the reason for this is that 75% of all trucks are custom specified. This works against efforts to streamline and automate the assembly line. Although Freightliner (owned by Daimler-Chrysler) is making huge strides in efficiency, Freightliner products are generally considered "bottom of the the line" (bottom tier or lower quality) products.

In keeping with the Neutral Point of View policy, in view of the subjective opinion required to make a value judgement, and being unwilling to advocate one brand over another or engage in any other kind of "truck snobbery," I will decline to venture my personal opinion.

It's worth noting that each trucking operation must make its very own cost-benefit analysis for its particular operation. As a neutral observer and long time small fleet operator, I would note anecdotally that smaller fleet operators, specialized carriers, and owner operators tend to prefer Mack OR Peterbilt and Kenworth products. Larger fleet operators and public agencies tend to prefer the lower cost Freightliners, Navistar, and Ford products. There are regional preferences too- with truckers on the east coast of the United States preferring Macks (owned by Volvo) while west coast truckers prefer Peterbilt and Kenworth. Volvo (not to be confused with Volvo Automotive, which is now part of Ford Motor Company) and Scania seem to be the popular choice outside of north America. Macks seems to be very popular in the south Americas as well.

Manufacturing Plants

Peterbilt operates manufacturing facilities in Madison, Wisconsin and Denton, Texas. They used to operate a plant in Newark, CA from the early 1960s until the mid 1980s.

See also

External Links


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