Where One Plus One Has
Equaled More Than Two
STREET SMARTS IS A MONTHLY
COLUMN DEVOTED TO THE
ON-HIGHWAY TRUCK MARKETS.
STEVE STURGESS WAS
FORMERLY EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF
HEAVY DUTY TRUCKING.
All too often in an acquisition or a merger, one and one add up to way less than two. That does
not appear to be the case concerning
the combination of SAF and Holland.
Now well into its sixth year, the combined company is starting to rationalize
products and brands, with the SAF name
being appended to suspension products
and trailer axles and the Holland name
going to fifth wheels and trailer hardware
like kingpins, landing legs and liftgates.
One slightly off-the-page brand that is
more familiar to Europeans is the Georg
Fischer name that for many across the
pond is synonymous with fifth wheels.
Neway, a Holland acquisition in 1999, is
the brand for North American-powered
axle suspensions, and the Trilex wheel
system is another long-established brand
that is part of the group.
Holland is a company I have known
for years; less so SAF. So after the big
Hanover show last fall, I stayed on in
Germany to go visit with the SAF side of
the house to see those products and the
plants. On the schedule were the headquarters and the huge trailer axle plant in
the countryside near Frankfurt in Bessen-bach, and then on to the Georg Fischer
operation in Singen, near the Bodensee,
where fifth wheels are dressed.
For Americans less familiar with the
family business of Sauer Axle Farben,
I should mention SAF has quite the his-
tory. Started by Otto Sauer in a little vil-
lage forge in the Spessart, the genesis
of the company was farm equipment
with the Zill’sche two-way plow that was
invented in 1881. This farm production
narrowed over the years into trailer ax-
les and the SAF side is now Europe’s
biggest trailer-axle manufacturer and
trailer disc brake supplier.
4 DIESEL PROGRESS NOR TH AMERICAN EDITION May 2011