For American Truck Simulator, SCS Software has over time managed to gather a quite impressive number of well-known American truck brands for use in their game. Or well-known for the Americans and Canadians at least. For us others some of them might be a little less of an everyday occurrence in our daily lives. So here is a quick look at the brands’ histories.
The Freightliner brand originates in 1929 as the truck manufacturing division of Consolidated Freightways and became the separate company Freightliner Corporation in 1942. In 1981 the company was bought by the German car and truck manufacturer Daimler AG (the company owning the Mercedes brand among others). Since 2021 Freightliner is part of Daimler Trucks, a separate company spun-off from Daimler AG and gathering the groups truck brands – in addition to Freightliner it also includes Western Star and outside of North America Mercedes trucks.
The American company Navistar International is the current owner and user of the International brand for their trucks. It has its foundation in the International Harvester company which started in 1902. As the name hints, the company back then manufactured agricultural machines. But when that market became less profitable in the 1980s, the focus changed to the trucks and buses business while the agricultural and other divisions where sold off and in 1986 the company was renamed Navistar International Corporation.
Since 2021 Navistar International is a subsidiary to the global truck manufacturer Traton, which earlier belonged to the Volkswagen group and also includes the truck brands Scania and MAN.
Kenworth Truck Company was founded in 1923 and is a subsidiary of PACCAR since 1945 and thus a sibling to the competitor brand Peterbilt which is also owned by PACCAR (the same company also owns the European brand DAF). Kenworth trucks are marketed in North America, Australia and parts of the Pacific region.
Mack Trucks was founded in 1900 as the Mack Brothers Company and became Mack Trucks, Inc. in 1922. The first truck was manufactured in 1905. The company became a subsidiary to French car and truck maker Renault in 1990 and in 2001 Mack became owned by AB Volvo when Volvo purchased Renault’s truck division.
Mack trucks are marketed in North American, South Aftrica, Australia and New Zealand. The iconic Mack bulldog first adorned a Mack truck in 1932.
Peterbilt was established in 1939 and became a subsidiary of PACCAR in 1958, just like it’s main competitor and “rival” Kenworth.
The Swedish company AB Volvo started as a car manufacturer 1927 and soon after also started making trucks and buses. The first manufacturing plant in North America started in 1963 in Halifax, Canada. The company’s American presence increased when Volvo bought White Trucks in 1981 and the Volvo-branded trucks in North America has even today not all that much in common with Volvo’s globally marketed trucks. But of all the brands available in American Truck Simulator, Volvo is the only one with a presence on both sides of the Atlantic and as such maybe the most well-known brand globally.
As the youngest of the brands represented in American Truck Simulator, the Western Star company started in 1967 when White Motor Company created the brand. When White in 1981 sold its truck business to Volvo, Western Star wasn’t included and instead became a separate company. In 2000 Western Star was taken over by what was then DaimlerChrysler and became part of their Freightliner Trucks division. Nowadays Western Star is owned by Daimler Trucks, which until recently was a part of the same company as Mercedes. Since late 2021 the two companies are separate entities, even if Daimler Trucks is still to a part owned by the Mercedes group.