Daimler Truck North America
Detroit Diesel

Detroit commemorates 85 years of manufacturing

Sept. 25, 2023
Detroit Diesel Corporation was founded as part of General Motors, the GM Diesel Division, in 1938. The company joined Daimler Truck North America through a 2000 acquisition.

Engine manufacturer Detroit Diesel Corporation, a division of Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) headquartered in Redford, Michigan, is marking its 85th anniversary.

Founded in 1938 as part of General Motors, GM Diesel Division, Detroit set out with one focus: Crafting top-tier engines for heavy- and medium-duty trucks. Over the decades, it expanded its product line to encompass more than state-of-the-art engines, including automated manual transmission, axles, battery-electric components for zero-emission vehicles, and cutting-edge technologies for enhanced connectivity and safety.

To date, Detroit has produced 1.1 million heavy-duty engines (DD13, DD15, DD16) and employs nearly 3,000 Daimler Truck employees, the company reported. Detroit continues to achieve milestones in manufacturing with the goal of ensuring all products and services provide a comprehensive solution to meet the ever-evolving needs of customers.

Detroit’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident through its partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program, with the Redford campus achieving SEP 50001+ platinum level status. DTNA, DTE Energy, and the state of Michigan also recently announced partnering to build a federally funded charging hub located next to the Redford campus to provide a more accessible charging infrastructure to those within the industry. 

“Detroit is extremely proud of our rich 85-year history in the transportation industry,” Matt Pfaffenbach, Detroit plant manager, said in a news release. “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.”

Key milestones in Detroit’s 85-year history:

  • 1938: General Motors forms GM Diesel Division
  • 1987: Introduction of Detroit Diesel Series 60 (S60)
  • 1988: Formation of Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC)
  • 2000: Daimler acquires DDC, placing it under Daimler Truck North America
  • 2008: DD15 engine platform launches globally, 1 million S60 engines sold
  • 2015: Launch of DT12 transmissions
  • 2017: Launch of medium-duty (MD) engines
  • 2020: New front axle assembly line and turbo assembly lines begin production, Gen5 DD15 production begins
  • 2021: Gen5 DD13 engine and advanced 6x4 carrier begin production
  • 2022: HVB (high-voltage battery) and eDrive begin production

Detroit is dedicated to its local community. Employees take pride in giving back and engaging with the community by partnering with organizations, such as the Downtown Boxing Gym, Redford Public Schools, and various community nonprofits.

To celebrate this milestone, Detroit hosted celebrations at its Redford campus on Sept. 20, bringing together team members from corporate, plant teams, and Daimler Truck Financial Services (DTFS) team, who will soon be joining the Detroit campus. Remote celebrations for employees in Portland and Saltillo will follow in the weeks to come.