In 1974, when he was put in charge of purchasing for his father’s company, Southwest Motor Freight, Max Fuller bought his first Freightliner truck. And on Aug. 5th, Fuller, now co-chairman & CEO of U.S. Xpress Enterprises accepted the keys to his 50,000th Freightliner. The delivery was commemorated with a ceremony at the company’s headquarters in Chattanooga.
The 50,000th is a Cascadia 72-inch raised roof sleeper tractor equipped with a Detroit Diesel DD15 engine. The truck features a commemorative plaque on the driver’s door. “Freightliner has been integral to our expansion,” said Fuller. “We like dealing with the best-in-class for everything, and the products and management of Freightliner Trucks fit that charge.”
U.S. Xpress is the nation’s third largest privately owned truckload carrier, providing dedicated, regional and expedited team truckload services throughout North America.
“Through the years, the U.S Xpress team has helped design, develop and test our products, making them an important part of our growth,” noted Mark Lampert, senior vp of sales & marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. “We are proud of the long-term relationship between U.S. Xpress and Freightliner Trucks, and look forward to continuing to provide them with the most productive and reliable trucks available in the market.”
According to Fuller, what originally drove him to select Freightliner trucks was its promise to be “the efficient machine” as well as its ability to standardize specs across the fleet. “We had no commonalities in our trucks, and the oil embargo really drove fuel prices sky high in the 1970s,” recalled Fuller. “We bought about 150 Freightliner trucks in our very first order, which was almost half of the Southwest Motor Freight fleet at the time. The new equipment, good fuel economy and consistent specs helped solve a lot of issues in our fast-growing company.”
After Fuller and fellow co-chairman Patrick Quinn launched U.S. Xpress in 1985, their new company quickly grew, resulting in the purchase of 3,000 to 4,000 trucks a year. Freightliner and U.S. Xpress established a strong working relationship in the carrier’s early days – highlighted by Fuller providing Freightliner with a 12-year exclusive agreement that began in the late 1980s and ran through much of the 1990s.
It was also during this time that Freightliner Trucks enlisted Fuller and U.S. Xpress to help develop the Freightliner Condo. More than 60 U.S. Xpress drivers worked with Freightliner engineers to design the cab and provide real-life feedback on the product.
“The Condo experience was truly a testament to our partnership with Freightliner,” said Fuller. “They listened to us, and with our help, ultimately developed what was a well-designed truck at that time. That experience further solidified our commitment to Freightliner. Freightliner has really raised the bar for everyone else in the industry. Its state-of-the-art wind tunnel testing, leading-edge aerodynamic designs and enhanced brake technologies help the trucks run more efficiently and provide enhanced driver comfort.”
U.S. Xpress recently ordered 300 Cascadias equipped with Daimler’s BlueTec SCR emissions technology.
“This has been a positive relationship from the beginning – good for my father’s company and good for my company,” added Fuller. “We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Freightliner, and to being part of that future.”