Sterling Trucks

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Sterling Trucks
IndustryAutomotive industry
Founded1906 (original) 1997 (revival)
Defunct1953 (original) 2008 (revival)
HeadquartersRedford Township, Michigan, U.S.
Key people
William Sternberg (Founder)
OwnerFord Motor Company (1907–1996)
Daimler-Benz (1997–1998)
DaimlerChrysler (1999–2007)
Daimler AG (2007–2009)
ParentDaimler Trucks North America (1997–2009)

Sterling Trucks Corporation (commonly designated Sterling) is a former American truck manufacturer of Class 5-8 trucks. Taking on its name from a defunct American truck manufacturer, Sterling was formed in 1997 as Freightliner acquired the rights to the heavy-truck product lines of Ford Motor Company.[1] Sterling-brand trucks were sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.

Headquartered in Redford Township, Michigan (Detroit), Sterling assembled its conventional-cab vehicles in St. Thomas, Ontario. During 2009, Freightliner phased out its Sterling subsidiary.


A street-cleaning truck in Seattle by the original Sterling company

Sternberg/Sterling Motor Truck Company (1907–1953)[edit]

The company was founded in 1907 by William Sternberg as the Sternberg Motor Truck Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Early models offered were of cab-over design, in 1-, 1.5- 3.5- and 5-ton capacities. Sternberg changed the company name to Sterling at the onset of World War I. Sterling built many different heavy-duty trucks for commercial, construction and military customers in the ensuing years.

The company was bought by White Motor Company on June 1, 1951. About two years later, the Sterling nameplate was retired.

Sterling trademark[edit]

Following its last use in 1953, the trademark of Sterling would change hands several times, through White Motor Company and its successor Volvo-White Motor Company (itself becoming the North American division of Volvo Trucks).

As the Sterling trademark had become dormant for so long, when Freightliner (whose own trucks were distributed by White Motor Company from the 1950s to 1975) sought to use the name in 1997, there were no grounds for objection from Volvo.

Sterling Trucks Corporation (1997–2009)[edit]

Sterling built class 8 tractors, as well as a range of medium- and heavy-duty cab/chassis vehicles. With bodies added by third-party upfitters/body builders, these cab/chassis vehicles were used for freight distribution as well as heavy vocational uses, such as construction, snow plowing and refuse collection.

In the last few years of operation, the company also marketed light medium-duty cab/chassis vehicles manufactured by Mitsubishi Fuso (Sterling 360 models) and Dodge (Sterling Bullet models). These were typically outfitted with bodies suitable for use as lighter vocational trucks — those designed to perform jobs other than straight freight hauling — including fire trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, concrete mixers, tanker trucks, and snowplows.


Sterling HX9500 MBE
Sterling Bullet

From 1997 to 2009, Sterling produced several lines of trucks. Within Daimler-Benz, the Sterling product range was slotted between the Freightliner and Western Star product lines. Through much of its existence, the Sterling product range served as continuation of the second-generation Ford Louisville/AeroMax conventional product line (introduced in 1996).

  • Sterling 360 – a rebadged Mitsubishi Fuso medium-duty cabover sold as the Fuso FE model in the U.S. and Canada and the Fuso Canter in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand[2]
  • A line – set back
  • Acterra – used a Ford LNT 9000 body
  • Bullet – a cab/chassis model based on the third generation Dodge Ram 4500/5500 platform[3]
  • L line – set back, set forward


On October 14, 2008, Daimler Trucks North America announced a plan to discontinue the Sterling product line in an effort to consolidate its North American truck manufacturing operations under the Freightliner and Western Star brands. The company stopped taking orders for new trucks in January 2009, the St. Thomas manufacturing plant closed in March 2009, and the Portland, Oregon, plant was closed in June 2010.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Daimler to Close Sterling Trucks Unit, Cut 3,500 Jobs". Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  2. ^ "New Sterling 360 completes lineup". 2006-04-01. Archived from the original on 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  3. ^ "PickupTruck.Com – Sterling Bullet Debuts at NTEA Work Truck Show". Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  4. ^ "Daimler Trucks North America Plans Decisive Response to Changed Economic Environment". Retrieved 18 June 2009.

External links[edit]