Mexico’s Fultra Buys Ohio-based Trailer Manufacturer East

Fultra Portfolio Includes Fruehauf North America
East Manufacturing trailer
East Manufacturing's Horizon round-bottom trailer. (East Manufacturing)

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Mexican truck parts and trailer specialist Fultra bought trailer manufacturer East Manufacturing, the companies said.

East declined to disclose the price.

Randolph, Ohio-based East, which was founded in 1968, manufactures aluminum flatbed, drop-deck, dump, round-bottom and refuse trailers as well as steel dump trailers and aluminum truck bodies.

East, which has 500 employees, has one manufacturing plant in Randolph. It has a network of over 90 trailer dealer locations across the United States and Canada.

The company produced 2,425 trailers and 45 dump truck bodies in 2022.

“We had a lot of companies that wanted to buy East,” said Robert Bruce, co-founder of East. “But at the end of the day, we selected Fultra because it has a demonstrated track record of taking care of its employees, customers and communities.”

Fultra also owns trailer manufacturer Fruehauf North America, trailer parts specialist Amparts-Promare and commercial vehicle and bus spare parts retailer Sierra Norte. It has over 2,500 employees.

East and Fultra logos

Tom Wiseman will be the CEO of East, as well as the top executive at Fruehauf, whose lineage goes back to the earliest days of trucking and trailers — building the first semi-trailer in 1914.

In 2022, Fruehauf opened its first production facility in the U.S. in 25 years. The Bowling Green, Ky., factory produces dry vans.

The $15 million Bowling Green facility, which opened in June 2022 and has 290 employees, had challenges with the supply chain in the first 12 months of operations, Wiseman told Transport Topics in an email.

However, the plant’s supply chain issues are decreasing as its ramp-up continues, he said.

Most of Fruehauf’s previous U.S. assets were bought by Wabash National Corp. in 1997 for $49 million after Fruehauf filed for bankruptcy protection in October 1996, including a Huntsville, Tenn., trailer manufacturing plant.

Fruehauf has been operating in Mexico for 55 years. It has a plant in Coacalco, Mexico, that manufactures dry vans, container chassis, dollies, platforms, tanks, sliding curtains, hopper and tipper trailers.

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