UD Trucks

Completion of the first diesel truck

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Along with the production of the ND1 engine, Nihon Diesel Industries pushed ahead with the manufacture of automobile chassis parts toward the creation of the first diesel truck around 1937.

The company came up against a number of issues, however, while developing the engine parts that included a deficiency in processing technology. Nonetheless, successful completion of the ND1 engine in November 1938 provided the necessary impetus to continue. A year later in November 1939, a 3.5-ton payload diesel truck equipped with an ND1 engine known as the LD1 truck was completed. Four years after the foundation of the company, Kenzo Adachi’s dream to build a diesel vehicle in his own right had finally been realized. 

The 3.5-ton payload LD1 completed in November 1939 was the first ever Japanese-made diesel truck. The test run immediately after completion led to unbelievable results and not a single breakdown. With the production of a fuel injection pump in 1941, UD Trucks could lay claim to manufacturing trucks that were entirely Japanese made (The photo is LD4 truck).

Employees working under President Adachi stood around the finished product, locked arms and shared in the joy. Nihon Diesel Industries also completed development of the three-cylinder ND2 engine (90 horsepower) in the same year. In 1941 following a great deal of effort, success was achieved in producing a fuel injection pump that was totally Japanese made. 

With this accomplishment, the ND engine series now ranged from 30 horsepower to 165 horsepower. The next endeavor saw the development of the 2.5-ton LD3 truck and 4.5-ton LD4 truck. With this, foundations as a truck maker were well and truly solidified.