American LaFrance Corp's corporate headquarters and Cleveland NC manufacturing operations will move to North Charleston SC by 2003.
The 170-year-old fire truck manufacturing firm will centralize sales, engineering, purchasing, customer support, and some manufacturing functions at a plant owned by Freightliner LLC, American LaFrance's parent company. Freightliner acquired the North Charleston plant in 2000 when it purchased Western Star Trucks Holdings. This plant was idled in late 2000 as the North American truck market declined.
The move affects about 210 Cleveland-based employees, including 60 salaried and 150 hourly production positions. Headquarters employees and customer support operations will relocate by August. Manufacturing operations including custom cab and final truck assembly and the American LaFrance fire truck museum collection will follow by first-quarter 2003. Chassis production at the Freightliner Cleveland truck manufacturing plant and the American LaFrance service center will remain in Cleveland. Production employees who choose not to relocate will be given an alternative opportunity to reintegrate with the Cleveland truck plant workforce to positions and shifts in recognition of their overall company seniority.
American LaFrance ladder, fire truck, and ambulance production will continue in the company's six other manufacturing facilities across the United States.
The present North Charleston facility is situated on a 90-acre site. American LaFrance will occupy a 283,500-square-foot building and has plans to add 100,000 feet of manufacturing space.