The historic Fruehauf name originates from the 1890s when a young blacksmith, Augustine Fruehauf, set up a business near Detroit. In 1914, he designed and built the very first semi-trailer, for his sawmilling friend, towed by a Model T Ford.
The business grew quickly, and the original trailer was constantly improved. One of the additions was a fifth wheel, which led to the automatic coupling of today.
From expansion across America, to Canada, South American and France, the company became a global giant of trailer manufacturing. Its brand came to New Zealand in 1969, through a licensing agreement with the Domett family, which had been manufacturing trailers in Feilding since the 1940s.
This agreement provided the New Zealand transport industry with access to world-leading trailer designs. The alloy ribbed bathtub is one of the original Fruehauf designs still in production today. It is strong and versatile with uses in road contracting, metal and fertiliser transportation.
Today Fruehauf is owned by two long-standing members of the transport industry, Phil Watchorn and Jeff Mear. In 2020, they celebrated eleven years of ownership and take pride in re-establishing Fruehauf as a leader in Innovative Road Transport Equipment, Repairs and Maintenance.