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U-Haul

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U-Haul
Truck Rental Company

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Wikipedia: U-Haul

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A truck and trailer rental company founded in 1945 and based in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

An unmarked small U-Haul truck appears on the cover of the 2013 book Ruth Jones by Rod Mills.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's U-Haul page on 31 May 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

U-Haul is an American moving equipment and storage rental company, based in Phoenix, Arizona, that has been in operation since 1945. The company was founded by Leonard Shoen (L. S. "Sam" Shoen) in Ridgefield, Washington, who began it in the garage owned by his wife's family, and expanded it through franchising with gas stations.

U-Haul is owned by AMERCO, a holding company which also operates Amerco Real Estate, Republic Western Insurance, and Oxford Life Insurance. The Shoen family currently owns about 55% of the publicly traded stock corporation. The company rents trucks, trailers, and other pieces of equipment, but many U-Haul centers and dealerships also provide self storage units, LPG (propane) refueling, hitch and trailer wiring installation, and carpet cleaners, among other services.

Because of the company's ubiquity (there are over 16,000 active dealers across the country) the name is sometimes used as a genericized trademark to refer to the services of any rental company. The livery used on rented vehicles is widely recognized, primarily consisting of white and a thick horizontal orange stripe, in addition to a large state- or province-themed picture, known as SuperGraphics.

In 1945 at the age of 29 Leonard Shoen co-founded U-Haul with his wife, Anna Mary Carty, in the town of Ridgefield, Washington, with an investment of $5,000. He began building rental trailers and splitting the fees for their use with gas station owners who he franchised as agents. He developed one-way rentals and enlisted investors as partners in each trailer as methods of growth.

By 1955 there were more than 10,000 U-Haul trailers on the road, and the brand was nationally known. Distracted to some extent by growing his business, Shoen took time for multiple marriages and eventually had a total of 12 children, each of whom he made stockholders. Shoen transferred all but 2% of control to his children when two of them, Edward and Mark launched a successful takeover of the business in 1986. Family squabbling over the U-Haul empire turned to physical confrontations between some of his children at company meetings, even before the 1986 takeover. The takeover sparked a major family dispute that led to a $461 million judgment in favor of Leonard Shoen and others. In 1999, 83-year-old Leonard Shoen suffered fatal injuries when he crashed into a telephone pole near his Las Vegas, Nevada, home.

The Shoen family, currently led by chairman and president Edward "Joe" Shoen, owns about 40% of the company through their AMERCO holding company. AMERCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2003 and emerged in March 2004. The filing did not include or affect U-Haul operations.

In 2012, another moving and storage company, PODS, sued U-Haul in U.S. District Court for trademark infringement, claiming that U-Haul "improperly and unlawfully" used the word "pods" to describe its U-Box product. On September 25, 2014, a jury ruled that U-Haul had infringed on PODS' trademarks, causing confusion and damaging business for PODS. The jury found that U-Haul unjustly profited from mentioning the term on its marketing and advertising materials and began using the word only after PODS became famous as a brand name in the industry. The jury awarded PODS $62 million in damages. In 2014 UHaul sued HireAHelper for trademark infringement, a suit that was settled out of court.

In December, 2015, U-Haul was used by UPS to help temporarily expand UPS's fleet to handle a surge due to Christmas and other holiday volume.


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
29 January 2019U-Haul and Employee Plead Guilty to Felony Violations of the Hazardous Materials RegulationsU.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
8 April 2019Maryland Man Charged with Interstate Transportation of a Stolen VehicleU.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland
5 November 2020Three Indicted in Connection to FraudFBI Phoenix


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