Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Crane Fruehauf Trailers

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Pre-1960 Fruehauf Corporation approached Cranes (Dereham) with the idea of forming a joint venture in semi-trailers for the United Kingdom but was rebuffed

1960 After the death of W. F. Crane, Cranes revived the idea of a joint venture and approached Fruehauf.

1961 General engineers and manufacturers of road tankers, trailers and transporters. 250 employees.

1961 Formation of the JV Crane Fruehauf Trailers Limited.

1963 Fruehauf took a financial interest in Crane which in turn acquired Fruehauf's interest in the joint venture company in consideration of an issue of shares in Crane; Cranes changed its name to Crane Fruehauf Trailers Limited.

1963 Regulations relaxed allowing use of larger semi-trailers. The North Walsham plant was extented to manufacture a monocoque design of van

1964 an additional facility was built at the Dereham factory to manufacture tanker semi-trailers.

By the end of 1966 Crane had become the second largest trailer manufacturer in the United Kingdom with a wide range of products; service depots were being installed in various locations.

1967 Cranes acquired Boden Trailers Ltd, a fast growing rival.

1969 Cranes acquired a 51 per cent interest in Dennison Trailers Limited of Glengomley, County Antrim.

1970 Cranes formed a subsidiary, Rentco Nationwide Limited to secure a position in the growing market for trailer rental, and entered the finance field with the formation of Crane Western Finance Limited

1971 Cranes acquired Imperial Coachbuilders Limitedto provide production facilities for the building of truck bodies.

1973 Company re-organisation with the operating companies formed into subsidiaries; the name of the company was changed to Crane Fruehauf Limited.

By 1976 the parent company had 13 subsidiaries, one of which was Crane Fruehauf Trailers, which was responsible in Great Britain for the marketing and sale of the products that it manufactured and also for the marketing and sale of van semi-trailers manufactured by Crane Fruehauf Containers Limited.
The company manufactured at 3 factories:
(a) Oldham, Lancashire - specialised in the mass production of standard platform, skeletal, TIR and curtain-sided semi-trailers;
(b) South Green, Dereham, Norfolk - manufactured a wide range of non-standard trailers and semi-trailers for special tasks including low loaders, specialised heavy-duty trailers, tippers, etc; it also manufactured drawbar trailers;
(c) Toftwood, South Dereham, Norfolk - manufactured a wide range of tanker, bulk carrier and hopper semi-trailers; also manufactured tank shells for fitting to customers' rigid chassis.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Competition Commission [1]