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6 Best Semi Truck Brands for a New Owner Operator

By Vineet Baid on August 27, 2020


The FTR Transportation Intelligence has estimated that 483,093 Class 8 (heavy-duty trucks) were sold in North America in 2018. For an owner-operator planning to start a trucking company, having a good truck is vital. The prospect of buying a new truck can be exciting as well as exhausting. With many different makes and models available in the market, it can be a task to decide which semi truck brand will be the best for a new owner operator. There is no universal choice that will suit all owner-operators. In this aspect, one size does not fit all. Finding the perfect truck depends on a number of factors.

Owning a truck can be a large investment. Thus, the decision has to look to the future. The truck should give solid service to the trucking company for at least a few years. The lifespan of an average truck is 10-12 years, but many owners do not keep a truck for that long. A truck is traditionally used for 5-6 years or 600,000 miles on average for long haul service. Most big trucking companies replace existing trucks with newer models after 3 years. They do this in an attempt to attract new drivers and retain old ones. This can help the trucking company to retain reliability, while keeping maintenance costs down. An average diesel truck generally comes with a warranty of 250,000 miles or 2 years. This warranty can be extended to 4-5 years or 500,000 miles. Generally, major trucking companies sell trucks when they have run for 400,000 to 600,000 miles. These used trucks are usually sent to the market where smaller companies/owner-operators buy them. The smaller trucking companies use these trucks until major maintenance is required. Most trucks can run for about 1,000,000 miles before major engine work is needed. This may vary depending on the make and model. If trucks are maintained diligently, they can run for a life-time. But that does require constant replacement of parts. The first truck can also be very special for many. Thus, it can be useful to weigh all options to find the perfect truck.

A understanding of what the owner-operator intends to do with the trucking company is important. A vision of the company will help in deciding on the right truck to start a trucking company with. Some of the many factors is what type of hauls the trucking company intends to undertake. Most trucks are categorized according to the hauls they do. A trucking company that plans to do short-hauls or daily hauls will not need a heavy-duty truck with a sleeper. While, a trucking company which plans to do long-hauls cannot operate with a simple truck. It’s cab has to be well equipped with a sleeper among other requirements. This will ensure that the truck driver can rest comfortably inside the truck so that hotels are not required each night. Also, for long haul trucks deciding a truck manufacturing company that offers prompt and reliable technical and mechanical support can reduce stress for the driver/owner. Read more on all the other things that are required to start a trucking business in 2020.

Here are the best truck brands for a new owner operator starting a trucking business:

KENWORTH

History

Kenworth Trucking Company was established in 1923. It was named after the surnames of the owners—Harry. W. Kent and Edgar K. Worthington. However, its journey began years before. In 1912, the brothers George and Louis Gerlinger established Gerlinger Motor Car Works in Portland, Oregon.  It was a car and truck dealership. In 1915, they had introduced their own truck, Gersix. It was steel framed and had the power of an in-line six-cylinder engine. Having this type of engine was a first for any commercial vehicle. It was ideal for logging. In 1916, the company relocated to Tacoma in Washington. It then came to the notice of Edgar K. Washington, a Seattle based businessman. He bought the company in 1917 along with his business partner Captain Frederick Kent. The company was renamed to Gersix Motor Company. Captain Kent retired from the company in 1919 and his son Harry became the new partner. In 1923, the Gersix Motor Co. was reincorporated to Kenworth, by joining ‘Ken’ and ‘Worth’. Kenworth was bought by The Pacific Car and Foundry Company (PACCAR) in 1945. 

Brief Timeline of Vehicles for Kenworth

Kenworth is one of the oldest truck manufacturing companies of America. It was also the first company to install diesel engines in their vehicles in 1933. In 1936, they introduced their first sleeper cabs. In 1976, Kenworth incorporated a raised roof aerodyne sleeper which was a first in the industry. It set the new standard for driver comfort. In 1985, the T600 was launched which was the first aerodynamically enhanced semi-truck. It could run 10 miles per gallon. The subsequent launch of T660 further enhanced the line of vehicles from Kenworth. 2012 saw the launch of T680 boasting an incredibly smooth drive, better fuel economy, and advanced aerodynamics. The vocational truck, W990 was launched in the market in 2018.

Stardom

Kenworth trucks also got featured on the silver screen. In 1977, Smokey and the Bandit featured the W900. James Bond also drove the W900B in License to Kill, released in 1989. To commemorate this brush with stardom, Kenworth launched the 007 Limited Edition of W900L in 2015.

Why should a new trucking company consider Kenworth?

Even though PACCAR bought Kenworth, it continued to manufacture great models in the name of Kenworth. As a consequence, Kenworth’s heavy-duty trucks have been in the market for more than 70 years. There are many reasons why a Kenworth truck can be great to start a trucking company with:

It has decades’ worth of experience- It is very important for a new trucking company to trust the company for such an important purchase. Along with all the technological know-how, relying on an experienced truck manufacturing company is an added bonus. 

Uses latest technology- Kenworth trucks use the latest applications and computer technologies to ensure a hassle-free drive. Kenworth’s advanced navigational system allows truck drivers to use Google applications. The navigational system is quite easy to use. It has an interface which is very similar to that of an Android device.

Comfortable interiors- The Kenworth trucks took the industry by the storm when they introduced sleeper cabs in 1936. Since then they have added to the driver comfort segment. Their cabs are roomy and spacious which makes the driver feel more comfortable. The raised roof in the on-highway trucks ensure that truck drivers can move more freely inside the cab. Having a spacious interior allows a driver to keep appliances like refrigerators and microwaves. Their W900 and T680 models are great favorites among seasoned truck drivers.

PACCAR Powertrain- Kenworth trucks use the PACCAR Powertrain. The PACCAR MX Engines are light in weight but extremely heavy-duty. This offers a B10 life of 1,000,000 miles. The purpose-built automatic transmission makes life on the road easier as well. PACCAR promises that their axles are the lightest in the industry. This ensures movement of loads in less effort.

Customizable options- Kenworth’s trucks can handle almost any sort of job. They have a variety of trucks, from medium-duty to heavy-duty. Their trucks cater to a shipping company as well as a construction company dealing with heavy loads. However, a trucking company can get models customized to suit its own unique requirements. Kenworth’s Bodybuilder can help trucking companies get customized models. This will be a huge plus for a new trucking company which has very specific requirements. 

Web-based tracking of problems and help centers- Drivers using Kenworth trucks can get to know the source of any mechanical or technical problem with the vehicle. Moreover, drivers do not have to hunt around for help centers. They can easily navigate to the nearest help center with the help of a the Kenworth app. With 700 dealerships all across North America, help is usually close by.

Best Kenworth model for an owner operator to consider?

Kenworth W900 - Best Truck Brand to Start A Trucking Business

Kenworth W900 above

Among the different models Kenworth has launched, the most preferred are the W900 and the T680. W990 was introduced in 2018 and is considered to be a sibling of W900. Most seasoned truck drivers like the Kenworth W900 Studio Sleeper. It is considered to be an ultimate long haul truck. It has a sleeper bunk of 86 inches. It has 565 horsepower and 1,854 lbs of torque. It is powerful and efficient. It’s customizable options also add to its popularity. It boasts an 18-speed transmission. The interior is roomy and comfortable. However, there are certain cons which have to be taken into consideration as well. For a new trucking company with a limited budget, W900’s can be quite expensive. For a new W900L with a 72-inch sleeper, the price is around $164,040. A W900L non-sleeper is priced around $151,451. Apart from the price factor, Kenworth W900 is quite difficult for new truck drivers to drive. In terms of the mechanism, it takes quite a bit of time for a newcomer to learn everything. Also, it is not very fuel economic with 5.0 miles per gallon. The overall weight of the W900L is quite a lot, especially with the studio sleeper model, which can be a negative for some drivers. 

The next truck brand to consider for an owner operator is Volvo. 

Volvo

History

The Volvo automobile company was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson in Sweden in 1924.  ‘Volvo’ means “I roll” in Latin. Gabrielsson was the economic and marketing man and Larson was the skilled mechanic. The first Volvo truck was built in Sweden in 1928. Volvo entered the American truck market with the launch of Volvo Titan, Volvo Starke and Volvo Viking in 1959. By the mid-1970s, through Volvo of American Corp., Volvo had established itself as an integral part of the American trucking industry. Volvo purchased some of the assets of White Motor Corp in 1981 and formed the Volvo White Truck Corp. The vehicles of Volvo White were sold under the nameplates of Volvo, White and Autocar. This gave Volvo not only truck assets but also White’s pan-American distribution network since until 1977, White was the distributer of Freightliner. Volvo solidified their presence in the American trucking market by entering into a joint venture with General Motors Corp in 1988. This led to the forming of the Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corp. The company’s name was changed to Volvo Trucks North America after Volvo bought all the shares of General Motors in Volvo GM. 

Brief Timeline of Vehicles for Volvo

The most popular Volvo trucks are the VNR, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH series. Coming a long way since its initial days, in 2011 Volvo had launched XE13, the fuel-saving powertrain package. Also in 2011, Volvo began the production of VNM models which can run on natural gas. In 2013, Volvo introduced the VNX heavy-haul models. In the same year Volvo made Volvo I-Shift. It has automated manual transmission which is the standard on all the models powered by Volvo now. Volvo’s North American Headquarters is in Greensboro. All Volvo VNM, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH trucks are assembled in America. It is done at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia. The engines are assembled in Hagerstown, and Maryland.

Why should a new trucking company consider Volvo?

Volvo is one of the largest truck manufacturing companies in the world. There are plenty of reasons why a new owner operator can opt for a Volvo truck:

Superior cab amenities- Volvo trucks have given a lot of attention to improving their cab’s interior. This ensures that the truck can become a home away from home for long haul drivers. With improved sleeping arrangements and spacious interiors, drivers will be less likely to feel claustrophobic. Some models have an adjustable steering wheel option. The steering wheel can be adjusted according to the height of the driver. It also has a tilt-neck option that ensures comfortable drives. The interior is also well insulated so that energy is conserved and distractions are reduced.

Table and chair set up in the interior- Volvo sleepers have the intelligent facility of a convertible table/bed set. That is, the top of the table can be lowered to make the bed’s platform. The trucks also have a table and chair set up. This makes it possible for drivers to change the concept of taking rest. Earlier, rest meant lying down. But with the ‘table and chair’ set up, a driver can sit up and watch something on their phone or have the perfect dining room set-up. This multi-functionality adds to the comfort of the truck.

Customizable interiors- Volvo does not believe that one type of truck will suit all driving needs. Volvo customizes their trucks’ interiors according to the specific requirements of the trucking company. Every trucking company's needs are unique and accordingly the layout of the interior has to be designed. This customizable option further allows the operators and owners to design the perfect fit for a new trucking business.

Intelligent features- The improved air suspension on the cabs makes driving extremely comfortable. The aerodynamic design also contributes to superior driving comfort. The improved LED lights promise better visibility and less maintenance. The cabs’ height is such that drivers can be more comfortable. 

Improved Engine - The Volvo engines are light-weight and fuel efficient. They are designed and engineered in a way that reliability is improved.  This also minimizes the cost of ongoing operation for the truck driver. 

Benefits of I-Shift transmission- The I-Shift transmission makes driving easier as it helps the driver adjust the way their trucks accelerate. It has a 2,300 lbs-torque rating. This technology helps to save fuel as it gives the optimal gear shift based on the engine load, speed of the truck, and other factors.

Safety of Remote Diagnostics- Volvo’s Remote Diagnostic ensures the safety of the driver whenever on the road. Wherever the driver may be or whatever the problem, many issues can be sorted out by the facility of the Remote Diagnostics. Through the Windows-based app called PTT or Premium Tech Tool, a driver can diagnose the problems. The driver can test, calibrate and program the engine limits. This hardware connects the truck to the PC of the driver via an e-media center.

Easy to maneuver- Volvo trucks are said to be easy to maneuver and as a result are easy to drive. This is especially helpful when drivers enter urban areas for a delivery.

Easy to drive- Similar to the comment above. According to many truck drivers, Volvo trucks are easy to drive for a new driver.

Environmentally friendly- Volvo offers the option of natural gas fueling in most new trucks. Volvo is moving towards alternative trucking and fueling options. This ensures lower carbon emissions of trucks.

Volvo has a worldwide well-knit dealership network- An owner operator driving a Volvo truck will have access to worldwide dealerships for maintenance and upkeep of the truck. This is a bonus for drivers hauling international load. With the support of a well-knit dealership network across the globe, a truck driver will not have to worry about keeping spares or different accessories. 

Best Volvo truck model for a new trucking company

Volvo Brand Trucking Business - Best

Volvo VNL 760

The most popular Volvo trucks are the VNR and VNL models. The VNR models, launched in 2017, suit both the day trucker as well as the long haul trucker. The VNR 300 is an efficient and lightweight day cab. It’s short, sloped hood provides the truck driver a great view of the road ahead while making way through a crowded and congested work area. The VNR 400, a 42-inch flat-roof sleeper is best suited for overnight regional hauls where the height of the cab is an added advantage. In this model, an efficient sleeper is added as well. This allows a driver to easily drive out from busy loading sites or in time for industrial deliveries. The VNR 640 is a 61-inch mid-roof sleeper that is best suited for drivers who have to stay away from home for long stretches of time. It has extra space for relaxing and enough storage so that the living area of the cab looks nothing short of a mini-bedroom. The VNR and VNL models are run on the Volvo D11 and Volvo D13 engines. The D11 has an initial 325 hp and can move up to 425 hp at 1,550 lb-feet torque. Volvo D13 has twelve different power ratings, from 375 to 500 hp.

The VNL series offers further luxury and technical convenience to truck drivers. Launched in 2019, it is the latest Volvo has to offer. Volvo, in believing the fact that when drivers sleep better they work better, has made truck driving extremely comfortable. The VNL 760 is very spacious. It is also convenient for team driving. A driver of 6 feet 2 inches can easily sleep in the lower bunk. A driver of the same height will be able to sit up straight in the upper bunk with a lot of head room left. It has the Reefer seat with a refrigerator compartment just below it so that it is very easy for a driver to take out snacks and drinks. The modular cup holders allow cups and bottles of all width to be held.

Operators looking at a truck exclusively for heavy-hauls can opt for the VNX series. It is especially suited for long combination vehicles, logging and heavy equipment transport. The VNX series vehicles are available with up to 605 hp and a torque of 2,050 lb-feet. It has the Cummins X15 engine with a manual transmission or an Eaton UltraShift Plus. 

One downside is that Volvo truck parts are quite expensive and sometimes they are hard to get as they have to be shipped from Europe. Expensive accessories that have to be shipped from Europe take a lot of time, which makes some truckers impatient.

The 2020 Volvo VNL64T860 costs around $151,521. 

The next truck brand for an owner operator is the Freightligner.

FREIGHTLINER

History

David Hames, one of the former employees of the Freightliner trucks, says that Freightliner was started by an actual customer. This customer couldn’t find the truck that he wanted for making his business as profitable as it actually should be. It was observed in the 1930s that most heavy trucks lacked sufficient power to go up the steep grades in the western United States. It is then that the Consolidated Freightways, a traditional unionized carrier company, decided to produce their own trucks. Later, the company was named Freightliner Corp. Hence, Freightliners was a customer oriented company that wanted to do what nobody at the time did. The first model hit the roads in 1942. One of its creations, CabRoller, had one of the first sleeper cabs in the trucking industry. In May, 1981, it sold its manufacturing business and the Freightliner brand to Daimler-Benz. Daimler-Benz gave Freightliner Corp the stability that it needed at the time. It has now become a truck manufacturing company with more than 75 years of experience. According to the technical team of Freightliner, they use technology that is more common sense and market oriented. Cascadia, freightliner’s flagship highway tractor and its most popular model till date, was launched in 2007. 

Brief Timeline of Vehicles for Freightliner

Initially, Freightliner produced ‘cab-over-engine’ trucks and later on launched consolidated trucks. The first consolidated Freightliner truck, FLC-120, was introduced in 1974. It had aluminum hoods to reduce weight. The updated FLC model was released in 1984. It was featured with integrated headlights, updated interiors and set-back axle models. It was a medium conventional truck with a bumper to back length of 112 inches. Interestingly, it had the cab of the then just launched Mercedes-Benz LK. This shows that Daimler had a role in the design and manufacturing of the truck. Freightliner’s FLD models were their first-ever aerodynamic models. In 1987, the Freightliner launched the FLD-112 and FLD-120. It was an all-aluminum body. It became the bestselling truck in North America. In 1990, the FLD Classic was released which was loved by many conventional truckers of the time. Freightliner launched the FLD Raised Roof Sleeper in 1992. It had what is today known as raised condo roof, which is an integrated stand-up sleeper. It was simply unthinkable and unheard of at that time. In the following year, FLD Classic XL with a 132 inches bumper to back body was launched. It gave stiff competition to Peterbilt 379 and Kenworth W900. However, the sales of FLD models gradually fell. In 2007, Freightliner launched Cascadia, its most popular model. It is aerodynamic and fuel-efficient due to its EPA engine. Its interior is quite roomy and is quieter than the previous Freightliner trucks by 2-6 db. It has fewer operating costs. It saved 20% drag and fuel costs.

Stardom

Freightliner trucks also had a brush with stardom. The FLD Classic XL got featured in films and TV shows like Disturbia, Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Forensic files.

Why should a new trucking company consider buying the truck brand Freightliner?

Efficient use- All the on-highway cab trucks are designed in such a way that they are aerodynamic. This increases the efficiency of the engine as the power can be used more efficiently in an aerodynamically designed truck.

Sturdy build- Its sturdy build allows it to transport a variety of loads. From local loads to heavy-duty hauls, it can take up almost anything.

Lightweight- These are lightweight trucks that allow easy maneuvering even with heavier loads.

Intelligent Horsepower- Freightliner on-highway trucks can take loads almost anywhere as horsepower of the truck ranges between 350 to 600 hp. 

Rigorous safety checks- From the engineering studio to physical tests, all Freightliner trucks go through rigorous safety checks to ensure that a road-ready vehicle reaches the owner operator.

Alternative fuel option- Freightliner’s day cabs and sleeper cabs have the option of alternative fuel. It is a great choice for a company that wants to conserve conventional energy by opting for non-conventional sources of energy.

Detroit Powertrain technology- This is technology that co-ordinates the function of the engine, transmission and axles. This results in higher efficiency for the truck. It also ensures that the truck is more cost-effective by reducing the number of times a truck is taken in for repairs. The camera on the windshield and bumper mounted rader, ensures the safety of the truck driver. Learn more about additional trucking related technology like ELDs or Trailer Trackers.

Comfortable overnight temperature- The Detroit Assurance system gives about 34 hours of heating. It also provides 10 hours of cooling to the cab. This feature allows the driver to have a comfortable temperature at night during rest without having the engine on idle. 

Superior support- Freightliner has dealerships across Northern America. Hence, support is easily and readily available.

Best Freightliner model an owner operator can consider

Cascadia Freightliner Best Semi Truck Brand Owner Operator

Cascadia 2019

Experienced truck drivers believe that Freightliner used to make some of the best trucks. Freightliner is not currently experiencing its best day. However, the Cascadia 2019 model can be a good choice for truck drivers who want to buy from a home-brand.

PETERBILT

History

Peterbilt was founded when it was realised that a truck of advanced engineering was required to work in the Northwestern forests. The transportation of cut trees from the forests to the mills was an exhausting process that took a lot of time. T. A. Peterman, the lumber tycoon decided that a heavy-duty vehicle was required to do the transportation job in shorter time and in an efficient way. Peterman purchased Fageol Motors, a failed Oakland-based company in 1938. He used its equipment to build custom truck chassis. He named the company after his own name. The first Peterbilt truck came out in 1939. Peterman launched models 334 and 260. They both had all-steel cabs. During WWII, Peterbilt served the country with its model 364. In 1944 Peterman passed away and his wife sold the company to its seven managers. In 1958, PACCAR (previously known as Pacific Car & Foundry) bought Peterbilt from its managers. PACCAR continued to produce trucks in the name of the parent company. This year, Peterbilt is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Brief Timeline of Vehicles for Peterbilt

As mentioned above, Peterman built Model 334 and Model 260. Also, in WWII, Model 364 was built to serve the country. After WWII came to an end and the handover of the company was sorted out, Model 351 was launched in 1951. Around this time, the red and oval Peterbilt logo was designed and incorporated in all trucks. Model 351 enjoyed the longest production in the history of Peterbilt. Peterbilt began to transform its design with regards to innovation around the 1960s with the introduction of Model 352. It had a 900 tilt and an aluminum UniLite cab. The signature Peterbilt bird hood ornament was made a part of all the trucks with this model. In 1967, Model 359 was introduced which further enhanced the position of Peterbilt in the truck market. The Model 348 had given a keen emphasis on driver comfort with its spacious walk-through sleeper and a sloped fibre-glass hood. The Model 362 introduced the popular cab-over-hood design. In 1986, Peterbilt introduced to the trucking community its most iconic truck till date - the Model 379. It is also the most popular owner-operator truck in history. It is considered a trucking industry legend. In the shore-truck circuit, it is the most dominated vehicle. In the 1990s, Peterbilt wanted to expand further. It entered the medium duty truck market in 1995 with the Model 330. In 1998, the integrated cab and sleeper vehicle with an aerodynamic design, the Model 387 was launched. The Model 386, the first vehicle to be designated as environment-friendly and fuel-efficient by the United States Environment Protection Agency or the EPA, was launched in 2005. The Model 587 which took the concept of aerodynamic design to another level was introduced in 2011. In 2012, Peterbilt’s most technologically advanced truck, Model 579 was launched. Also, Peterbilt’s first rugged vocational truck, Model 567 was introduced. The Model 579 and Model 567 are the most successful Peterbilt products to date.

Why should a new trucking company consider Peterbilt?

Fast- Peterbilt has the power of PACCAR MX-13, which also makes the engine fuel efficient. This particular feature makes the Peterbilt trucks quite popular among owner-operators.

PACCAR MX-13 Powertrain- Matched with EPIQ technology, this powertrain ensures that the truck and all the computerized sensors work in sync. This perfect sync of technology with the truck mechanism allows the truck to carry loads in an efficient manner.

Safety assurance- Peterbilt trucks use SmartlLINQ remote diagnostics. It enables a truck driver to detect a problem. This smart detection of problems ensures that drivers stay safe and can solve the problem as early as possible.

Driver Performance Assistant (DPA)- Less experienced drivers at times have troubles on the roads. DPA is beneficial for these drivers as it provides real-time feedback. Displayed on the truck’s dashboard, this tool can be easily accessed by truck drivers to assess their performance while driving.

Fuel efficiency- The aerodynamic design of Peterbilt trucks makes them highly fuel efficient. PACCAR MX-13 engine ensures that the engine performs well too.

Alternative fuel options- Peterbilt offers trucks that not only run on diesel, but also on a number of alternative fuels. They can run on LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). Peterbilt was the first truck manufacturing company to get a truck (Model 386) designated environment-friendly from the EPA. They have gone a step further in their dedication towards the environment and have the option of hybrid electric engines. Hybrid electric engines are not usually found in commercial vehicles.

Sturdy and powerful trucks- Peterbilt trucks have a great combination of a powerful engine and a sturdy external built. This allows Peterbilt trucks to operate as dependable medium-duty as well as on-highway trucks.

SmartAir technology- This technology, with the aid of a remote condenser and a brushless fan, can keep sleeper cabs stay cool. This is an added bonus for truck drivers when they sleep. This also lowers fuel cost of the trucks.

Wide network of dealerships- Peterbilt has a wide network of dealerships across America. Truck drivers can get their vehicles serviced at any of these large numbers of dealerships.

Best Peterbilt semi truck models a new trucking company should consider

Peterbilt 579 Best Truck Brand for new owner operator

Peterbilt 579

Model 379 is considered by many veteran truckers as a legend of the trucking industry. However, it is not as widely used anymore. The Model 579 was first launched in 2012. It was re-introduced in 2018 with an integrated high roof along with a highly powerful and intelligent engine. This allows a driver to enjoy work and rest comfortably. This can be nice option for a trucking company looking for a truck which combines comfort with performance. A Peterbilt 579 Ultraloft can be pruchased for $160,460.

MACK

History

Mack trucks have a long and eventful history of 119 years. Jack and Gus Mack started Mack Trucks in 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. Together, they bought Fallesen & Berry - the carriage building company they used to work at. The first Mack vehicle, a sightseeing bus powered by an engine was launched in 1900. In 1902, the Mack Brothers Company was born. In 1911, the Mack Brothers Company merged with Sauer Motor Company, and formed the International Motor Company (IMC).

During WWI, about 4,500 Mack AC trucks were used. The British government bought 50 units of the Mack AC model to transport troops, equipment, and food. In 1917, Mack trucks got the nickname Bulldog Mack by British soldiers. The Mack truck reminded the soldiers of the British Bulldog due to its blunt-nose like hood and its durability. Hence, the bulldog became the company’s first corporate trademark. The U.S. army also made the Mack AC a 5-ton army truck. The present name, Mack Trucks, Inc. was taken in 1922. In WWII, Mack further helped America’s cause by building 4,600 powertrains for M3 Stewart and M4 Sherman tanks. It also built 26,000 six-wheel trucks and 4,500 5-ton four-wheel trucks. They also transported troops and other wartime supplies. In 1943, the body of a DC-3 aircraft was hauled by two Mack trucks from Houston to Dallas. The drive was over a distance of 340 miles. At that time, this haul was considered to be the widest and largest road haul. Mack trucks enjoyed large growth over the years. In 1979, Mack Trucks entered into an alliance with Renault. This agreement gave Mack access to the North American distribution of Renault’s medium-duty diesel trucks. 10% of Mack’s equity share was sold to Renault. Mack faced a number of harsh years in the 1980s. Volvo took over Mack Trucks in 2000, the centenary year for Mack. Since then, the production and assembling of all Mack vehicles have been shifted to the plant in Lower Macungie Township.

Brief Timeline of Vehicles for Mack

Mack trucks were popular during the two World Wars. It was America’s leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer for more than a century. Its sturdy trucks gave birth to the phrase “built like a Mack Truck.” Mack AB was the first standardized high volume unit and was launched in 1914. About 50,000 units were sold until it was discontinued in 1957. Mack AC was launched in 1916. It was a rear-drive, chain-driven model. Over 40,000 units were built till 1939.  The Model year Mack Trucks of 1918 had the first oil filters and air cleaners. The B series was developed in 1927 in response to the rising demand for a larger yet high-speed vehicle. In 1936 the E series was launched. It was a conventional medium duty truck with a cab-over trailer configuration. It is said to be one of the most versatile trucks that Mack has ever produced and sold over 78,000 units. Mack was one of the first truck manufacturers to apply a 4-wheel brake to its heavy-duty trucks. This helped improve safety during heavier loads. Mack launched its diesel engine in 1938. In the 1950s, the most popular truck was the B series. It was famous for its rounded appearance and the availability of a wide variety of models. A B-61 offered Thermodyne open-chamber direct injection diesel engine. This was more efficient and powerful. Nearly 127,000 units of the B series was sold. The diesel powered fire truck was introduced in 1956. The F Model, an all-steel cab-over model available in sleeper and non-sleeper was launched in 1962. In 1966, the R model was launched. From 1973-1983, Cruiseliner was produced. It was an owner-operator model in the cab-over configuration. Superliner, the premium conventional truck was launched in 1977 and was produced till 1993. In 1978, Mack MC & MR were launched. The industry’s first all-fiber, metal caged vehicle with a reinforced cab, the Ultraliner was launched in 1982. It showed advancement in corrosion resistance and cab weight. The CH model, one of the most popular of Mack’s highway trucks was introduced in 1988. In 1994, Mack LE was introduced. It is largely used in the recycling industry. The Vision model, a premium highway truck was introduced in 1999. Its primary use is in heavy-duty haul and liquid transport. In 2001, the Granite model, a lightweight, vocational truck was launched. In the same year, Freedom model, a medium duty versatile truck was introduced. Anthem, the aerodynamically built Mack truck was launched in 2017. 

Stardom

Mack trucks have their own share of stardom too. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Megatron, the lead character is transformed into a military Mack truck. Disney’s Cars series has a semi-truck called ‘Mack.’

Why should a new owner operator consider buying a Mack?

Apart from being in the truck manufacturing industry for 120 years, Mack Trucks have a number of quality features that will attract an owner-operator of a new trucking company:

Practical trucks- Without extra adornment that might seem excess, Mack trucks have the right balance of technical and mechanical intelligence. The trucks are heavy-duty and versatile. The trucks have a 3-point entry option which allows a truck driver to easily climb into the cab without holding the steering wheel for support. This is convenient and practical. The self-cleaning feature ensures cleanliness in the truck without much hassle on the truck driver’s part. 

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries- Mack trucks are equipped with AGM batteries which are designed to control drastic change in temperature or excess heat.

Superior engines- In 1967, Mack launched Maxidyne constant hp engine. It provided peak horsepower over a wider power band. This resulted in an increase in fuel efficiency. The E7 series of 12 liters engine was introduced in 1988. At present, Mack MP engines have a torque as high as 2,060 lbs. This high torque level and clean running engine ensures that less maintenance is required and higher fuel efficiency is maintained.

Alternative fuel options- Mack has an alternative fuel option of natural gas in their TerraPro and Day Cabs. Mack, in working with the EPA, has also maintained the emission standards set by the government.

Thoughtful design- Mack trucks have an ergonomic design. Almost all external sounds are blocked with the help of their sound deadening feature. With all the outside noise blocked, a driver can sleep more easily and more comfortably.

Sturdy exterior- Mack trucks have a 7mm thick frame rail which protects the truck by giving it a sturdy body. 

Advanced technical assistance for truck drivers- Mack truck drivers have a number of advanced technical features that make driving on the roads safe and secure. All the faulty codes of the truck can be detected and relayed to the diagnostics via Mack’s Guard Dog. This ensures that all problems are sorted and the trip is not delayed. Mack also gives their clients the One Call Roadside Assistance. This feature provides help to driver wherever and whenever a problem arises. 

Customizable- It is often seen that a truck designed by the manufacturer does not have all the features that a new trucking company needs. Mack’s Body Builder Manual is for those trucking companies. Through this manual, trucks can be customized according to the owner operator's requirements. 

Wide network of dealerships- Apart from immediate help and assistance, a truck needs regular maintenance and occasional repairs. Mack’s dealerships are widely available not only in America but also in Canada and Mexico. 

Best Mack model an owner operator should buy

Mack Anthem Truck Brand for Starting a Trucking Business

Mack Anthem

Mack Anthem, first launched in 2017 can be a great option for a new trucking company. Its aerodynamic design makes driving easier. Its steering wheel and seat height can be adjusted according to the height of the driver. All the controls can be reached from the driver’s seat. The high-roof cab allows a truck driver to stand up and stretch while taking a break. There’s a lot of storage space to keep all the belongings and necessary appliances of the owner operator. All the practical features are supported by Mack’s MP engine and Mack’s transmission which ensures a smooth and safe drive. The price begins from $130,840.

INTERNATIONAL

History

J.P. Morgan took the step to merge McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Deering Harvester Company and three smaller agricultural equipment firms to form International Harvester in 1902. Most of International Harvester’s agricultural division was sold to Tenneco, Inc in 1985 and the following year the remaining portion was named Navistar International Corporation. Navistar International Corporation is more commonly known as International, which specializes in building on-highway, medium-duty and severe duty trucks.

Brief Timeline of Vehicles for International

The international line of trucks specialized in agricultural vehicles ever since inception. With the formation of Navistar International Corporation, the tag of ‘Harvester’ was removed. Along with many on-highway, medium duty and severe-duty trucks, pick-up trucks were also built by the International brand. It had stopped producing Scout, an off-road vehicle which began its days as a competitor to Jeep and was later replaced by the SUVs, in 1980. International marketed the International Extreme Truck Series (popularly known as the XT series). XT series trucks were produced from 2004-2008. The XT series trucks were discontinued as the sales had dropped lower than expected. The medium-duty, International TerraStar was first produced in 2010 and was discontinued in 2015. It was the smallest conventional truck produced by Navistar. The International DuraStar was originally named the International 4000 series. It was first launched in 2001 and in 2019 it was re-launched as International MV. The International LoneStar, one of the most luxurious trucks running at present and one of International’s most popular trucks has four variants: the standard LoneStar model called LoneStar, a truck without the sleeper section called the LoneStar Daycab, the model designed by Harley-Davidson called the LoneStar Harley, and LoneStar Recovery which is the tow truck LoneStar. 

Why should a new trucking business consider buying an International Truck?

Fuel efficiency- With their special MPG Package, International trucks offer owner operators greater fuel efficiency.

Enhanced external features- Their aerodynamic model provides drivers with a comfortable drive. There are other energy efficient features like predictive cruise control, bumper seals and wheel-covers.

Superior engine- The LoneStar has an 18-gear Transmission and is powered by the Cummins X15 engine. It has 605 hp and a torque of 2,050 lb-feet.

Power APU system- It’s Auxiliary Power Unit or APU does not require a generator. APU systems provide power to all the truck appliances and hence, are quite important for a truck.

Best International truck a new trucking business should buy

International Best Truck Brand for new owner operator

International Lonestar

International’s LoneStar can be considered as an option for a new owner operator. The Harley-Davidson model has a wooden floor divider between the work and the rest area. The bed-lifting mechanism along with the soft and light mattress designed by medical experts ensures that a truck driver has a comfortable place to sleep. It is power-packed as well as extremely comfortable. A 2020 LoneStar can be bought for $159,900.

So Kenworth, Volvo, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Mack, and International are 6 of the best semi truck brands that a new trucking business or owner operator can consider when purchasing a truck for a new business. A short look at what the future may hold is below. 

A SNEAKPEAK INTO THE FUTURE- Tesla

By the end of 2020, Tesla plans to begin production of its all-electric power Class 8 semi-trailer truck, the Tesla Semi. It was first unveiled on 16th November, 2017. As per a Tweet by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, this semi truck makes science-fiction dreams a reality. The company had initially announced that the all-electric truck will be able to run for 500 miles after a full-charge and 400 miles with an 80% charge. These trucks can be charged from ‘Tesla Megacharger charging stations across the country.’ 

This futuristic truck will be powered by four electric motors. The truck has been designed in a way that the batteries have been placed between the front and back wheels, at the floor of the cab. The Tesla Semi will be available in two battery configurations — 300 miles and 500 miles. Tesla will be offering a warranty for 1,000,000 miles. It has been stated by the company that the maintenance of these trucks will be simpler than that of a diesel truck.

Features to look out for in Teslas Semi:

On a 5% grade, the Tesla Semi will have a speed of 65 miles per hour.

The driver will still sit in the front of the truck, but in the center.

Apart from touch screen displays at the two sides of the steering wheel, there are no other instrument panels. 

The Tesla Semi will have an explosion-proof wind shield.

The Tesla Semi’s standard equipment will include enhanced autopilot. This enhanced autopilot will give semi-autonomous capability to the truck:

  • The autopilot system will ensure that the truck stays in it's own lane.
  • The truck will be able to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Emergency brakes will be applied when required.
  • It will be able to detect and warn the driver of any potential danger lying ahead for the vehicle on the road.
  • It has active safety control features that will be able to detect signs of and ultimately prevent jackknifing.
  • This autopilot technology will eventually enable a convoy to run with only one driver in a truck.

To see more information on this and other electric vehicles please visit our article on what we think is the future of trucking.

Some possible downsides of the Tesla Semi

According to the researchers of Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering, an electric truck may not be very suitable for a long-haul truck. It has estimated that the weight of an electric truck will be upwards of 25,000 lbs. An all-electric truck with a heavy battery will only be suitable for short or medium hauls.

A heavy battery can take up as much as one-third of the total payload. This will make it incapable of carrying heavier loads.

The long-term ownership and maintenance cost of an electric truck cannot be determined as Tesla has not stated how long the first-installed batteries will last and what the replacement cost is thereafter.

Cost of a Tesla Semi

As announced by Elon Musk in November, 2017, the price of a 300-mile range Tesla Semi will be $150,000 and the 500-mile range will cost around $180,000. The Founders’ Series Semi will be offered by the company at a price of $200,000.

There are many options for a new trucking business and the future looks very exciting as well. 

 




Vineet Baid

Vineet Baid
Like the simple things in life like chocolates, beer, and fries.


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