Meritor is one of the highest profile brands in the global truck parts industry. The company is famous for developing original equipment axle, steering and brake components for many European trucks like DAF, IVECO and Volvo, and all North American trucks including Freightliner, Kenworth and Western Star. Meritor operates through its aftermarket distribution partners to reduce the cost of Meritor replacement parts and help truck operators maintain optimal performance while minimising vehicle downtime and operating costs.
This article focuses on the history and impact of Meritor on the global commercial vehicle industry. Read on to learn more about Meritor’s history.
The Meritor brand came into focus in 1997, yet its history dates back to the early 1900s. To understand the origins of Meritor, you must first consider the history of Rockwell International.
In 1919, Willard Rockwell invented a new bearing system for truck axles. Rockwell acquired Wisconsin Parts Co and established the Rockwell Manufacturing Company to produce his invention. In 1929, Timken-Detroit Axle and Wisconsin Axle were formed after Timken Detroit bought Wisconsin Parts Co. Willard Rockwell rose to become the company’s president in 1940.
In 1953, Willard formed Rockwell Spring and Axle Company by merging three companies: Timken Detroit Axle, Wisconsin Parts and Standard Steel and Spring. The company changed its name to Rockwell Standard Corp. in 1958.
Rockwell Standard Corp. acquired North American Aviation in 1967 to establish the North American Rockwell Company. In 1973, North American Rockwell merged with Rockwell Manufacturing Co. and began to develop space shuttle technology. The new company was known as Rockwell International.
In 1975, Rockwell international set up the headquarters for its automotive operations in Troy, Michigan. The company’s automotive arm exhibited rapid growth and developed several innovations such as;
– 1989: Innovative 9- and 13-speed on-highway transmission systems
– 1993: The first permanently lubricated universal joints
– 1996: Engine Synchro Shift transmission system
In 1997, Rockwell international spun off its automotive business to form a new company known as Meritor Automotive.
In 1998, Meritor purchased Euclid Industries and Lucas Varity’s Heavy Vehicle Braking Systems business. Meritor also acquired Volvo Trucks’ heavy vehicle manufacturing operation in Sweden. Two years later, in 2000, Meritor Automotive merged with Arvin Industries to form ArvinMeritor Inc.
ArvinMeritor began developing axles for military applications in 2007. This work led to the development of the Meritor®17X axle. ArvinMeritor expanded operations by establishing a 400,000 square-foot facility in Monterrey, Mexico.
In 2009, ArvinMeritor developed a hybrid drivetrain system so linehaul trucks could save fuel and achieve zero-emission modes for several driving conditions.
ArvinMeritor also developed the Meritor®14X tandem drive axle system in 2010 to save fuel and operational costs. By 2012, the company had sold more than 100,000 Meritor®14X tandem drive axle units. The axle system was famed for its lightweight and exemplary performance.
In January 2011, ArvinMeritor reverted its focus to commercial vehicles. The company discontinued its light vehicle business and changed its name back to Meritor.
Since 2013, Meritor has been looking to the future and directing the commercial vehicle technology trends. The company resolved to focus on enhancing customer value, reducing production costs and investing in quality personnel.
Meritor’s approach has made it one of the leading providers of original equipment and aftermarket parts for European and American trucks across the globe. Today, Meritor boasts about 8,600 employees with offices in 19 countries. The company reports annual revenue of about $3 billion across its divisions. Meritor has stood the test of time and is a proven quality technology provider for the commercial vehicle industry.