PACCAR Power: Premium Truck Manufacturer Has Global Reach

The Bellevue-based company has a storied history of making the vehicles that keep America moving

This article appears in print in the January/February 2020 issue. Click here for a free subscription.

PACCAR Inc. has a long history of helping to ensure commerce continues to power forward in Seattle and the world. The company traces its roots to the Feb. 11, 1905, incorporation of Seattle Car Manufacturing Co., founded by William Pigott Sr. It was located on Elliot Bay in West Seattle.

The company prospered building railroad cars for the logging industry. In August 1908, however, its plant was leveled by a fire, forcing the company into receivership. The business survived, though, and continued to operate at a facility it built in Renton.

In 1917, via a merger with competitor Twohy Brothers Co. of Portland, it was renamed Pacific Car and Foundry Co. The company continued to grow and diversify and by 1960, under the leadership of William Pigott’s son, Paul, it had become one of the top 300 manufacturers in the country.

A decade later, the company’s operations encompassed commercial-truck manufacturing, truck-parts distribution, the production of structural steel (some used in building the Space Needle) and machinery as well as financial services. The evolution of the company led to a name change in 1972, and PACCAR Inc. was born.

Today, the 28,000-employee Bellevue-based PACCAR is a global corporation that makes commercial trucks under the names Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF. It also produces diesel engines, industrial winches, distributes truck parts worldwide and offers financing and leasing services. In 2018, PACCAR recorded its 80th consecutive year of profitability, earning a record $2.2 billion on revenue of $23.5 billion. 

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