Daimler Trucks North America will nearly double the rate of production at its Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner Truck Manufacturing Plant by October 2012, adding a second shift and approximately 1,072 workers and 29 engineers and other support personnel. At present, the plant employs approximately 1,400 shop employees and 72 engineers, managers, and support staff.
The increase is a response to heavy demand for the Freightliner Cascadia, a Class 8 (on-highway) truck for which backorders loom as long as six months, according to the manufacturer. DTNA is a Daimler subsidiary that builds Class 4-8 vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses brands.
DTNA chief operating officer Roger Nielsen said “The growing demand for Freightliner products is testimony to our brand focus on providing efficient business solutions for our customers, and access to Daimler resources and technology. We’re delivering trucks with industry-leading fuel-efficiency technology and the lowest total cost of ownership.”
The Cleveland plant is the largest Freightliner Trucks manufacturing site in the U.S. opened in 1989. It builds Class 8 on-highway truck models, including the Cascadia, Columbia, and Argosy product lines. Almost 20% of the Freightliner trucks built there are sold internationally through Daimler subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
In addition, the second production shift, increased activity the Cleveland plant will lead to more activity at the DTNA Components and Logistics Plant in Gastonia, N.C., where 90 new hourly workers and 10 salaried and support staff will be added to staff second and third shifts. That operation opened in 1978, and stamps, fabricates, and performs sub-assembly for cab and chassis parts. The Logistics operation sequences parts used by DTNA manufacturing plants and aftermarket packaging.
Most of the positions at both sites will be filled by who will be recalled from lay-offs in 2009.
“The Freightliner Cascadia, built here in Cleveland and equipped with our DD13, DD15, and DD 16 engines with BlueTec emissions technology, has met with overwhelmingly strong market acceptance,” according to Nielsen. “Despite global economic challenges, we’re building the most innovative truck on the market today and the demand for them is growing throughout North America.”