A rich history.
On April 1, 1928 DAFs founder, Hub van Doorne, started a small engineering business, "Hub van Doorne, Machinefabriek en Reparatie-inrichting". Together with his brother Wim he laid the foundations of DAF as a leading truck manufacturer.
Hub van Doorne, born at America (in the Dutch province of Limburg) on 1 January 1900, was the eldest son of a village smith. In the mid nineteen twenties, Hub van Doorne was foreman in the engineering works of Sjef Mandigers in Eindhoven, where he came into contact with Mr Huenges, the owner-director of the Coolen brewery and ice factory. Mr Huenges had a Stearns-Knight automobile with a sleeve valve engine. Whenever this special engine failed to operate, Hub van Doorne proved to be the only one who could get it going again. Mr Huenges was so impressed by the technical capacities of Hub van Doorne that he offered help in setting up a business for Hub. On 1 April 1928 Mr Huenges made NLG 10,000 available for this purpose. This was the beginning of DAF.
The engineering business began with four employees in a small workshop in a corner of the brewery. The activities focused on welding, engineering and forging work, in particular for the canal boats calling at Eindhoven and for Philips, for which products such as balustrades and bicycle stands were made. Within a year, the first expansion was already a fact and there were 32 people on the payroll. The Great Depression in the nineteen thirties forced the young company, which by now was co-managed by Hub's younger brother Wim, to look for new activities. It was decided to start manufacturing trailers and semi-trailers. In 1933, when electric welding of heavy load bearing constructions was still in a very early stage, Hub van Doorne and his engineering assistant Mr Baghuis ventured to start assembling complete chassis by welding. The result was a featherweight semi-trailer which attracted the attention of everyone in the trade.
DAF demount trailer.
1936. By now the company name had been changed into "Van Doorne's AanhangwagenFabriek" ('Van Doorne's Trailer Factory'). A unique invention was ready for production: the DAF demount trailer. It had been specially developed for the loading and unloading of railway containers for intermodal rail-road transport. These containers were about 3 metres long and their laden weight was approximately 3.5 tonnes. With the demount trailer those containers could fast and easily be loaded onto and unloaded from a railway wagon and also collected from and delivered to the customer. This made DAF in fact one of the very first suppliers of container trailers in the world. Incidentally, in 1935 the company employed already about a hundred people, a number that was to be tripled in the next five years.
Start of series production.
During the Second World War, DAF managed to prepare itself for the period that followed. The design and production engineering for a new trailer was completed and, more important, three prototypes of a real truck were built. In the post-war reconstruction years in the Netherlands there was a great demand for transport equipment. The series production of trailers and semi-trailer was started, the Engineering department worked on the first buses and preparations for an automobile factory were getting serious. For the manufacturing of the truck chassis, the first part of a new factory was built on a site along the Geldropseweg, where the DAF factories are still situated today.
The first commercial vehicle.
In September 1949 the production of commercial vehicles was started and just over six months later the new factory, with an area of 9,000 m2, was taken into use. The range consisted of three models: the three-tonne A30, the five-tonne A50 and the six-tonne A60. They were powered by Hercules petrol and Perkins diesel engines. Chassis, brake components and wheel hubs were manufactured in-house. Furthermore, at the RAI European Road Transport Show in 1950, the one-tonne A10 van made its debut. On the basis of this vehicle a pick-up truck, the A107, was developed for export purposes. The range of models expanded rapidly. Special chassis for tippers and refuse vehicles were introduced and DAF also developed a complete range of military vehicles.
In-house engine production.
To guarantee the quality of the engines, the company decided in 1956 to start manufacturing them itself. The engine factory was opened at the end of 1957 and it produced Leyland engines under licence. But DAF soon developed its own versions. DAF was even one of the first manufacturers to use a turbocharger on diesel engines for trucks. However, not just the engines, but the cabs, too, were further developed. Initially, when the production of trucks was started, DAF supplied only chassis. The manufacturing of the cabs was left to the bodybuilders. But in 1951 DAF already launched a cab completely of its own making. The first series was characterised by a grille with seven horizontal chrome strips; in 1956 the front was slightly modified and the number of strips reduced to six. On 3 May 1955 the 10,000th DAF chassis came off the line. At that festive occasion, Hub van Doorne announced that the company had received an army order for 3,600 vehicles and that the necessary expansion of the factory had already been started.
Mother of international road transport.
In 1957 DAF introduced a new series of heavy trucks, the 2000 range, and in the same year a normal control vehicle was launched for specific market segments. A year later the in-house production of axles was started, for which in the mid-sixties a completely new factory was built and equipped at Oevel, near Westerlo in Belgium. This factory was - and still is - also used for the manufacturing of axles. In 1962 DAF presented the Eurotrailer, a semi-trailer with integral aluminium body. In the same year, the transport world was surprised with the completely new DAF 2600. With a compact design for optimum load length, DAF had succeeded in building a modern truck, which could also be supplied in sleeper cab version. The 2600 was nicknamed the -mother of international road transport'. With this truck, DAF was for years the market leader in driver comfort. In July 1964 the 50,000th truck chassis rolled off the assembly line. A year later, the company's founder, Hub van Doorne, retired from 'his' DAF, which at the time had acquired more than one hundred patents since its establishment.
In a relatively short time the company had developed from a company manufacturing chassis and buying a lot of the components required from third parties, into a factory making complete motor vehicles. At the 1958 RAI European Road Transport Show it even launched its first passenger car, the DAF 600, with a revolutionary fully automatic drive, the Variomatic. This car was later followed by, amonst others, the 33, 44, 55 and 66, all of them featuring this special drive. In 1972 Volvo took a minority stake in DAF?s passenger car division and some years later (in 1975) it became the full owner. In total, DAF produced some 820,000 passenger cars.
In 1970 DAF introduced a completely new truck generation with tilt cabs (F1600 - F2200). This made engine maintenance easier and less time-consuming. Three years later, an over 20 cm wider version of this tilt cab was used for the new 2800, one of the great successes in the history of the company. With its twin-bunk sleeper cab with full-size beds, and its powerful 11.6 litre DAF engines, this was the successor to the illustrious 2600. DAF was the first truck maker in the world to use a turbocharger in combination with a charge cooler (which it called "intercooler"), as a result of which the engines were able to deliver even more power and torque while fuel consumption was attractive, too. In 1975 DAF launched two entirely new trucks for distribution transport, the F 700 and F 900.
The internationalisation of road transport caused a growing need for service outside the country's borders. At the beginning of the seventies DAF set up ITS, its International Truck Service, which stranded drivers could call upon for fast roadside assistance.
Leading in driver comfort.
In the mid-eighties DAF started an intensive co-operation project with British Leyland, which initially resulted in the supply of Leyland-developed distribution vehicles carrying the DAF logo: the 400 van, but also the 600, 800 and 1000 distribution trucks, later called the 45 series. In 1987 Leyland was taken over by DAF. The success DAF had gained in the heavy segment, with the 2800 and later with the 3300 and 3600, was given extra impetus when in the same year the DAF 95 was introduced. The cab of this vehicle had been developed in collaboration with the Spanish company Enasa (Pegaso). Just like its predecessors, the 2800, 3300 and 3600, the 95 could of course also be specified with the extra roomy SpaceCab. For ten years DAF was highly successful with this top-of-the-range model, the 'International Truck of the Year 1988'. In 1989 DAF was floated on the Amsterdam and London stock exchanges. Just like the 95 series, the lighter 65, 75 and 85 series launched in 1992 proved extremely successful.
DAF Trucks N.V.
In the early nineteen nineties the commercial vehicle market collapsed, in particular in Great Britain, the market on which DAF greatly depended. It proved impossible to keep the company afloat. But it did not take long before there was a new DAF. Within a few weeks the new DAF Trucks N.V. was established. With a very modern product range. In 1994 DAF presented the 95 Super SpaceCab, with even more space and even higher driver comfort. In 1996 DAF was taken over by PACCAR, which gave certainty for the future of DAF. PACCAR is one of the world's biggest truck makers, the manufacturer of leading brands such as Kenworth and Peterbilt.
"Trucks of the Year".
Friend and foe were surprised by DAF when in 1997 it presented the new 95XF. It was the perfect truck for heavy and long-distance haulage. This was also the opinion of the international trade jury, which voted the 95XF "International Truck of the Year 1998". The CF series was thoroughly rejuvenated and on 6 May 1999 DAF delivered its 500,000th truck.
Over the past years DAF has renewed its model range completely. In 2001 the production was started of the new CF series for medium-heavy and heavy haulage and of the new LF series for distribution transport. The LF was elected ?International Truck of the Year 2002?. In 2002 DAF presented its new flagship, the new XF. However, DAF's present growth in the Western European commercial vehicle market and also in other markets is not accounted for by the models alone. In the heavy segment DAF had a market share of almost 13% in 2003, and for this year and the coming years there are of course plans for achieving even greater success. An extensive network of highly qualified dealers is of great importance here, as is a comprehensive package of services, for instance for trailer units. All this has given DAF an excellent basis for a further strengthening of its position in the years to come.
Much of the material on this website is copyrighted. Original articles appearing herein are subject to copyright. Please don't copy stuff from the site without asking; it may belong to someone! Any trademarks appearing on this site are the sole property of the registered owners. No endorsement by trademark owners is to be construed. The products, brand names, characters, related slogans and indicia are or may by claimed as trademarks of their respective owners. Every effort has been made whenever possible to credit the sources. The use of such material falls under the Fair Use provisions of intellectual property laws.