Our Heritage

“Wabash was started by a group of idealists who had a vision for doing things differently.”

– Rod Ehrlich, former CTO and founding member, Wabash National

Wabash History: A Heritage of Innovation

Beginning in 1985, when a small group of entrepreneurs got together to improve how semi-trailers were designed and built, Wabash National Corporation led the technological breakthroughs that now support the largest fleets in North America.

From DuraPlate composite panels to advancements that make trailers more aerodynamic and fuel efficient, Wabash National continues to drive innovation in our expanding product portfolio.

Serving a growing field of industries—including commercial transportation, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, biotech and many others—Wabash National businesses work beside customers to solve specific business challenges. Today, our diverse product portfolio offers a wide array of high-performance solutions, ranging from commercial transportation equipment to advanced composite materials.

The same passion for innovation, continuous improvement and customer relationships that drove our early success is still our foundation. No matter what we manufacture, or where we manufacture it, we share a united spirit and culture.
  • 6C0A5684-2100x1400-8fddc425-053e-44c4-acc7-522725479dce

    DuraPlate Cell Core becomes standard on HD dry vans, reducing weight by up to 300 lbs. and supporting fleets’ toughest load requirements with exceptional durability and maximum payload capacity.

  • 33 - 2016
    For the sixth time since 2006, Wabash National is recognized as an IndustryWeek 50 Best U.S. Manufacturer. This achievement reflects the commitment to safety, innovation and continuous improvement demonstrated by employees, as well as the strong, collaborative partnerships with customers and suppliers.
  • 35 - 2017
    Wabash acquires Supreme Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of truck bodies. Fueled by the consumer preference for home delivery, adding Supreme to the Wabash family enables the company to be at the forefront of the final mile evolution in transportation.
  • 34 - 2017
    Wabash opens new operations facility in Little Falls, Minnesota. The facility serves as the primary site for production and assembly of advanced composites, including proprietary molded structural composite (MSC) panels, MSC truck bodies and MSC refrigerated trailers.
  • 32 - 2015
    Wabash National exceeds $2 billion in revenue.
  • 31 - 2015
    Wabash expands its aerodynamics offerings, creating the industry’s largest portfolio of products designed to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and lower operating costs. 
  • 30 - 2015
    In response to changing trends and needs in the trucking industry for final mile and home delivery options, Wabash introduces its own line of truck bodies.
  • 27 - 2013
    Wabash produces its 500,000th DuraPlate trailer, which is built for Crete Carrier Corporation, one of the largest privately owned trucking companies in the U.S.
  • 25 - 2012
    Wabash acquires Walker Group Holdings (now integrated into Wabash brands as Walker, Brenner and Bulk), a leading producer of liquid transportation systems and engineered products.
  • 24 - 2011
    Wabash partners with Nussbaum Transportation to develop DuraPlate XD-35—a dual-function, extreme-duty dry freight van—the transportation industry’s first dry van with a 35,000-pound floor rating.
  • 22 - 2009
    To address fuel efficiency regulations, Wabash National introduces DuraPlate AeroSkirt. This highlights Wabash National's ongoing innovation to improve fleet fuel consumption and operating costs and reduce emissions.
  • 21 - 2009
    Leveraging DuraPlate technology into new industries, Wabash National produces collapsible DuraPlate Storage Containers.
  • 20 - 2008
    Wabash adds Benson aluminum platform trailers to its portfolio, complementing Transcraft’s steel and combo flatbed offerings. The company consolidates platform trailer manufacturing to one state-of-the-art, 180,000-square-foot facility in Cadiz, Kentucky.
  • 19 - 2008
    Wabash establishes the DuraPlate Products Group, now Wabash Composites, a new business focused on identifying end markets and products for DuraPlate.
  • 18.5 - 2007
    Wabash’s DuraPlate dry van trailer receives U.S. EPA SmartWay certification, thanks to the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and fuel economy.
  • 18 - 2006
    Wabash introduces the Alpha Line at its Lafayette operation— automating several aspects of trailer manufacturing, accelerating productivity and increasing capacity.
  • 17 - 2006
    IndustryWeek magazine recognizes Wabash as one of its 50 Best U.S. Manufacturers for the first of many years. 
  • 16 - 2006
    Wabash National acquires Transcraft Corporation—one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of flatbed and drop deck trailers.
  • 15- 2005
    Wabash receives ISO 14001:2004 registration—the first semi-trailer manufacturer in North America to achieve that distinction—setting the industry standard for efficiency, risk management and customer satisfaction.
  • 14 - 2003
    Wabash National Corporation receives the U.S. Senate Productivity Award for achieving $75 million in cost savings and improving productivity by 50%.
  • 13 - 2003
    Expanding the DuraPlate® product line, Wabash launches the DuraPlate HD dry freight van. Developed for heavy-duty applications, DuraPlate HD revolutionizes performance in high abuse freight applications such as automotive, carpet and paper transport.
  • 12 - 1999
    Wabash produces a record 70,000 trailers for North American fleets.
  • 11.5 - 1998
    To streamline operations and accommodate increasing needs for trailer flooring, Wabash acquires Cloud Corporation and Cloud Oak Flooring Company, Inc. to produce laminated hardwood floors for the trailer market. 
  • 10 - 1997
    Wabash acquires certain assets of Fruehauf Trailer—the company that built the world’s first semi-trailer in 1914.
  • 9 - 1996
    Wabash introduces a game changer: DuraPlate composite panels. After a decade of research and development, Wabash becomes the first trailer manufacturer to design a composite panel suitable for commercial transportation equipment—setting a new standard for durability and performance. Wabash quickly finds applications for DuraPlate beyond semi-trailers, and adapts DuraPlate for industrial and commercial uses.
  • 8 - 1995
    Wabash begins manufacturing innovative refrigerated van trailers in a state-of-the-art facility with a computer-controlled insulating process.
  • 7.5 - 1994
    Wabash achieves number one market position in semi-trailer manufacturing.
  • 6 - 1992
    Inc. Magazine writes, “Wabash National’s success is more than just a case of a bunch of good old boys being in the right place at the right time…It goes after the market with innovative products and relentlessly roots out inefficiency under its own roof.”
  • 5.5 - 1991
    Wabash National Corporation issues an initial public offering of 2.4 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: WNC), raising $39 million.
  • 3 - 1987
    Wabash National designs and builds the RoadRailer—incorporating bimodal technology that enables trailers to move easily between roadways and railways.
  • Sears_Trailer_2
    The team builds its first trailer for Sears, Roebuck & Co.
  • Wabash-Group-Photo-1985
    Donald J. “Jerry” Ehrlich and a small group of innovators from Monon Trailer decide to shake up the transportation industry by manufacturing better-performing, higher-value semi-trailers.