Fultra, the parent company of Fruehauf, has acquired East Manufacturing, expanding Fultra’s trailer footprint in North America after returning Fruehauf to production in the United States last year.
East Manufacturing makes aluminum flatbed, drop deck, dump, round bottom, and refuse trailers as well as steel dump trailers and aluminum truck bodies. The deal brings those products to Fultra, which manufactures Fruehauf van trailers in Mexico and, starting last year, in the U.S.
Robert Bruce, co-founder of East, said a lot of companies wanted to buy East, but Fultra was selected because it has a demonstrated track record of taking care of its employees, customers, and communities.
“East will continue to operate as a standalone entity with all existing management and employees as a key to move forward,” said Tom Wiseman, who will be CEO of both East and Fruehauf Inc. “We will build on East’s strengths combined with group synergies to deliver even greater value to our customers and dealers.”
“East really fits with our vision to be the trusted solutions partner for the commercial vehicle market in North America,” said Jorge Martinez, CEO of Fultra. “We are confident that our employees and communities as well as customers, dealers, and suppliers, will benefit from our combined strengths.”
The Return of Fruehauf
Fruehauf was established in Detroit in 1890. Founder August Fruehauf is viewed as the inventor of the semi-trailer.
The brand had largely disappeared from U.S. highways in recent years. Fruehauf had closed its previous U.S. operations in 1997; in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, Wabash was making trailers under the Fruehauf brand. Another company, Fruehauf de Mexico, produced Fruehauf trailers in Mexico. Last year, Fruehauf North America opened a plant in Kentucky to assemble dry van trailers.
East was founded in 1968, when it introduced a new aluminum body design that, for the first time, was durable enough to replace steel, according to the company’s website.