The Rosenbauer PANTHER is proudly manufactured in the United States and Europe. American production is completed by Rosenbauer Minnesota and Rosenbauer Motors (chassis) in Wyoming, MN. Each truck is built to the specific needs of firefighters, majority of whom reside in the North and Central America market.
In 1997, five years after the first prototype was released in Europe, the PANTHER's adventure begins in the USA. Three models were developed; PANTHER 4x4, PANTHER 6x6 and PANTHER 4x4 air transportable which can be loaded onto a military transport aircraft. The chassis was supplied by Freightliner, one of the largest truck manufacturers in the USA. The main difference to the European PANTHER is the body material. The European PANTHER is mainly made of glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP), while the US produced PANTHER is constructed of aluminum, which has been used successfully for many years in the manufacturing of municipal firefighting apparatus. Three years after the start of localizing the PANTHER in America, the line-up was ready. The first vehicle, a 6x6, was delivered to the Tucson, Arizona Airport authority.
In-house chassis production
For six years, Freightliner supplied the chassis for the PANTHER. Suddenly the truck manufacturer streamlined its product range and ended their production of the PANTHER chassis. This was not the first time Rosenbauer had to pivot after a 3rd party discontinued their chassis design. Dedicated to the production of PANTHER, Rosenbauer America decided to build the chassis in-house. Thanks to a strong working relationship, Freightliner provided Rosenbauer the technical know-how (1,380 drawings, 210 part lists, 2,400 part masters including all necessary test and quality certificates), jigs, molds for the production, and 28 "material kits" (engine, gearbox, axles, tires, etc.). Since 2003 Rosenbauer Motors has produced the 4x4 and 6x6 PANTHER chassis. Other historical key partners have been Caterpillar who supplied the engine from 2007 (3rd generation), and then Volvo from 2012 to today.
Front-line at major airports
The current PANTHER generation was unveiled at the 2016 ARFF Working Group Annual Conference. The PANTHER is recognized around the globe with its universal exterior design, equipment, and finishes. Continuous improvement keeps the PANTHER relevant for today’s firefighters such as the new drive which meets the strict Tier IV emissions guidelines of the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and California Air Resource Board (CARB) for non-road diesel engines. The first current generation PANTHER order was received from the world’s busiest airport (by passenger volume), Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport. After passing their baptism of fire, the complete "front line" at Atlanta International Airport still to this day is made up of Rosenbauer PANTHER.
Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, Orlando, Miami, Houston, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City; these major US airports also operate PANTHER in their firefighting fleets, as do the United States Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard. In addition, the US produced PANTHER are stationed at numerous Canadian airports (Toronto, Ottawa ...), Caribbean islands and other countries around the globe.
Fun Fact: the PANTHER 6x6 prototype from 1998 is still in use today as a Rosenbauer America stock vehicle and has been frequently leased to airports and mining companies in recent years. "This vehicle probably has the most miles on the odometer, shows the most pump hours and has probably been used harder than any other PANTHER in this world," says Paul Powell, ARFF Sales Manager at Rosenbauer America. "Of course, it already looks a bit worn out, but its equipment is still working perfectly."
2000 PANTHER for Ft. Lauderdale.
PANTHER line-up for Houston.
PANTHER 6x6 Salt Lake City.
PANTHER 6x6 Atlanta International Airport.