Hugh Wallace Phillips, founder of what was then H.W. Phillips. Photo: Phillips Industries

Hugh Wallace Phillips, founder of what was then H.W. Phillips. Photo: Phillips Industries

LAS VEGAS – Phillips Industries embarked on a year-long celebration of its 90th year in business with a press conference during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week.

Rob Phillips, president and COO, detailed historical milestones and cultural principles important to the formation and development of the company into an innovator of commercial vehicle electrical and air brake components and global supplier.

From its beginning in 1928, as a Los Angeles auto and truck parts distributor, to a global business, manufacturing and distributing over 8,000 products in more than 40 countries, Phillips Industries said it has stayed true to the family values of taking care of customers and employees, a can-do solve it attitude for any problem, determination and reinvesting in the business. Phillips Industries operates three manufacturing facilities, in California, Mexico and China staffed with more than 1,000 employees.

Some facts about Phillips Industries:

  • Every truck that is manufactured in North America has Phillips products on it.
  • Mercedes trucks manufactured in Europe are standard with Phillips products.
  • Over 55% of North-American-produced trailers are shipped with Phillips components.
  • The largest trailer manufacturer in China uses Phillips harnesses as standard.

“While we’re exceedingly proud of our history, we’re even more excited about our future,” Phillips said. “We are not going to concede our position simply because the commercial vehicle industry is changing. We’ve identified, through listening to our fleet contacts as well as other component suppliers, what the future needs are for communicating and analyzing the data generated through the increasing number of sensors in a user-friendly way. [Phillips Connect Technologies] is working today with fleets to fully develop and launch this new capability. Stay tuned.”

As part of the 90th year celebration, Phillips is rolling out a number of videos with Bob Phillips talking about the history of the company.

Some key milestones in the 90-year history of Phillips Industries:

  • 1928 – H.W. Phillips began as an auto and truck parts distributor in California.
  • 1936 – Hugh Phillips designed and patented the first reflective directional signal arm for trucks.
  • 1968 – Straight 7-way electrical assemblies were manufactured and introduced by Phillips Industries.
  • 1976 – Bob Phillips, currently CEO, designed the Supercoil, which he says was the industry’s first 7-way coiled electrical assembly in North America.
  • 1982 – Phillips introduces Sta-Dry weather-proof socketbreakers to fight corrosion.
  • 1985 – The distribution business was sold to focus on manufacturing due to increased demand from fleets and OEMs.
  • 1991 – Phillips acquired and opened an Electrical Harness Division dedicated to manufacturing sealed modular trailer harness systems. EHD would expand in production relocating twice in the next 20 years to accommodate its growth. 
  • 1999 – New 130,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility is constructed in Santa Fe Springs, California.
  • 2001 – The QCS (Quick-Change Socket) becomes standard at 80% of North American truck OEMs.
  • 2010 – Phillips Industries begins production of 12v and 24v products in China for the global trucking market.
  • 2013 – Rob Phillips takes the helm of Phillips Industries.
  • 2013 – The Sta-Dry QCMS2 is introduced as what Phillips says is the industry’s first 7-way electrical assembly with a plug and socket hybrid connection.
  • 2014 - Permalite XT lighting with Boardfree technology is introduced. 
  • 2015 – The Electrical Harness Division (EHD) moves to its current location in Arteaga, Mexico.
  • 2016 – Phillips China moves to new 8.5-acre site.
  • 2017 – A new division, Phillips Connect Technologies (PCT), emerges with the advancement of technology, to develop solutions for future intelligent commercial vehicles.

As part of the anniversary celebration, Phillips put out an ad starring Nikola Motors' new zero-emissions truck: