North America’s oldest truck brand celebrates 124 years of the proud Autocar name. Autocar, LLC, manufacturer of specialized severe-duty, custom-engineered Class 7 and Class 8 vocational trucks, commemorates the 124 year of the Autocar truck brand. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the company manufactures its vocational trucks in Hagerstown, Ind., and its $120 million, 1-million-square-foot heavy-duty work truck plant in Birmingham, Ala. With deep American roots, the Autocar company is the only 100 percent American-owned company that assembles 100 percent of its trucks in the USA.
Autocar engineers trucks that support critical American infrastructure sectors such as refuse, material handling, concrete and logistics. “As we celebrate 124 years of the iconic Autocar brand, we appreciate those who have played such a big role in the company’s success,” said Andrew Taitz, chairman of today’s Autocar Truck. “The early builders of Autocar-brand trucks were ahead of their time when they built Autocar No. 1 in 1897. That tricycle, powered by a one-cylinder gasoline engine, now resides in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.”
“Today’s Autocar is a new company with a historic brand. It continues to disrupt the industry, which is one of the reasons we are known as the BADASS brand. We continue to innovate and lead the industry by manufacturing severe-duty vocational trucks that provide customers the perfect tool for their jobs with the most uptime, support and impact on their bottom line,” Taitz added. “The Autocar brand led the way in green innovation dating back to 1923 with its first two EV (electric vehicle) trucks: Autocar Truck E1 and Autocar Truck E2. This year, we introduced Autocar E-ACTT electric powertrain designed for severe-duty applications.”
Autocar does not have dealer inventory. Most vocational truck manufacturers sell stock mass-produced trucks through a dealership with no concern as to what body will need to be installed. Then, they compromise the original design with extreme modifications to mount the body. This step almost always includes cutting solid steel, splicing wiring and reconfiguring the chassis outside the control of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer). At Autocar, every truck is built right the first time, specifically designed for a customer’s particular job.
Autocar is the only OEM to change the model for refuse truck production, bringing together two main components—the chassis and the body—and building the truck as one complete tool. That means Autocar, alone among truck OEMs, does not build a truck until it knows what body will be used. The company’s Power of One process starts with engineering each truck based on specific customer needs. Then, Autocar works closely with the selected body company’s engineers to design the vehicle. Body components are installed during the production process, ensuring full Autocar OEM quality. Electrical harnesses are installed together, eliminating the risk of splices, loose connectors or drilled access holes. Body components are huck-bolted onto the frame rails in precise locations rather than being welded, thus avoiding displacement and damage to the rails.
Autocar makes the safest cab-over severe-duty trucks in the nation. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows Autocar trucks have 20% fewer accidents overall and 40% fewer accidents with injuries than all other manufacturers combined. No other cab-over severe-duty vocational truck minimizes driver distractions like Autocar. Autocar trucks are engineered with 325 degrees driver visibility and the tightest turning radius, meaning less backing and fewer collisions. Autocar’s all-steel cabs and wrap-around bumpers are damage-resistant. Thoughtful details, such as fluid service points on the curbside, add up to make Autocar the safest truck in the business.
Because Autocar thinks differently than any other OEM in the world, it continually drives the industry forward. Autocar proudly claims that it builds the biggest, baddest trucks in America. After all, the company just released the nation’s first BADASS dump truck. Autocar’s tagline is “Always Up,” and its focus is to ensure its products never break down.
Autocar brand highlights and firsts:
- Louis Semple Clark introduced the world to “Autocar No. 1” in 1897
- In 1899, the Autocar-brand vocational truck was engineered to carry and deliver packages. Even in 1899, Autocar-brand trucks were engineered and manufactured specifically for their customers’ needs
- In 1907, the Autocar brand heralded the first shaft-driven commercial vehicle for operation on solid tires
- In 1911, the brand applied to trucks exclusively
- In 1923, America’s first electric trucks, the E1 and E2, carried the Autocar brand
Fast forward to today’s latest innovations:
- In 2008, Autocar, LLC introduced the Autocar ACX Low Cab-Over with many industry firsts, including a spacious and ergonomically designed cab, B-pillar corner rear windows and integrated body controls
- In 2017, Autocar was the first OEM to provide fuel saving tech with ultra-low emissions
- In 2017, Autocar was the first OEM to offer compressed natural gas (CNG Trucks) two years ahead of the industry. Today, 60% of the trucks it sells are CNG and is the largest supplier of Class 8 CNG trucks across all industries
- In 2021, Autocar and Big Truck Rental introduced the first and only national terminal tractor rental program for fleets across North America
- The nation’s first BADASS dump truck was delivered in 2021 with the tagline: “Always Up”
- In 2021, Autocar became the first truck manufacturer to implement Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) in refuse trucks
- In 2021, Autocar introduced an emissions-free, all-electric version of its Autocar ACTT terminal tractor, the E-ACTT