Detroit's 85th Anniversary: A Journey of Grit and Growth

REDFORD, MI – The heart of America’s engine technology for commercial vehicles, Detroit, is proudly celebrating its 85th anniversary as a beacon of growth and innovation. Nestled in the heart of Redford, Michigan, this titan, part of the Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) family, has risen from humble beginnings to dominate the industry with its exceptional products, cutting-edge engineering, relentless innovation, and a dedicated workforce that knows no bounds.

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Born in the Motor City

Back in 1938, Detroit’s engines roared to life under the General Motors umbrella as the GM Diesel Division. Their singular mission? Crafting world-class engines destined for the heavy- and medium-duty trucks that keep America moving. But they didn’t stop there. Over the decades, Detroit diversified its offerings, adding automated manual transmissions, rugged axles, eco-friendly battery-electric components for emission-free rides, and state-of-the-art technologies ensuring unparalleled connectivity and safety.

1.1 Million Engines and Counting

Fast forward to today, and Detroit is basking in the glory of producing a jaw-dropping 1.1 million heavy-duty engines, boasting names like DD13, DD15, and DD16. With a workforce of nearly 3,000 dedicated Daimler Truck employees, Detroit continues to shatter manufacturing milestones, driven by the unwavering commitment to provide comprehensive solutions that evolve with the ever-changing demands of their discerning clientele.

Green Commitment and Charging Hub

Detroit’s commitment to eco-sustainability shines through its partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program. Their Redford campus proudly boasts the prestigious SEP 50001+ platinum level status. But that’s not all – in cahoots with Daimler Truck North America, DTE Energy, and the state of Michigan, they’re cooking up plans for a federally funded charging hub right next to their Redford HQ. This initiative aims to make charging infrastructure more accessible for the industry.

A Tribute to the Past and the Future

Matt Pfaffenbach, Detroit Plant Manager, summed it up beautifully, saying, “Detroit is extremely proud of our rich 85-year history in the transportation industry. Our remarkable milestones and success are attributed to loyal customers who drive our Detroit products on the road each and every day. This level of success only becomes possible with dedicated employees who design, build, and deliver our industry-leading products. They have shaped our past and will play a key role in forging our future path.”

A Journey Through the Ages

  • 1938: General Motors births the GM Diesel Division.
  • 1987: The trumpets sound for the arrival of the Detroit Diesel Series 60 (S60).
  • 1988: The birth of the Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC).
  • 2000: Daimler Truck North America gives DDC a warm hug, bringing it into the fold.
  • 2008: They roll out the red carpet for the global debut of the DD15 engine platform, with a million S60 engines already owning the highways.
  • 2015: The big reveal – DT12 transmissions step into the limelight.
  • 2017: Say hello to the medium-duty (MD) engines.
  • 2020: They fire up new front axle and turbo assembly lines, kicking off Gen5 DD15 production.
  • 2021: The Gen5 DD13 engine and the advanced 6×4 carrier strut their stuff.
  • 2022: HVB (high-voltage battery) and eDrive production dawns.

Community at Heart

Detroit isn’t just about business. They’ve got big hearts for their local community. Their dedicated squad beams with pride as they give back, teaming up with the Downtown Boxing Gym, Redford Public Schools, and a slew of do-gooder nonprofits.

Celebrating the Milestone

To make a grand to-do of this historic milestone, Detroit threw a bash at their Redford headquarters on Wednesday, September 20, bringing together the top brass, the factory magicians, and the soon-to-be members of the Daimler Truck Financial Services (DTFS) team, who are about to join the Detroit family. And for their crew in Portland and Saltillo, they’ve got some remote shindigs lined up in the weeks ahead.

The Road Ahead

Detroit’s 85-year journey isn’t just about reminiscing over the good times. It’s a living testament to their unwavering dedication to keep dishing out the finest in powertrain tech and ingenious solutions for generations to come. If you’re curious about how Detroit’s steering the ship into the future, check out the wisdom they’re dropping at

Source: Daimler Truck North America, September 23rd 2023