Freightliner LLC to add 700 employees at Portland plant

Freightliner LLC's announced today that its Portland, Ore., truck manufacturing plant will begin a second shift and add about 700 full-time employees.

The company cited significantly increased demand for Western Star- and Freightliner-brand heavy-duty trucks produced at the facility. The new shift will start in August. Freightliner LLC will immediately begin recalling and hiring employees to staff the new positions.

"The Freightliner Group continues to see stronger demand across our national heavy-duty truck business," said Rainer E. Schmueckle, President and CEO of Freightliner LLC. "Favorable economic conditions and customers' need to replace older equipment or expand their operations are driving a robust recovery of the North American Class 8 market. We expect the market to continue its stronger performance through the end of 2004 and beyond."

The Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant produces a variety of heavy-duty trucks for long haul and vocational applications. Western Star models produced at the plant include the 4900 EX, 4900 FA, 4900 SA and the 6900 XD. Freightliner truck models built at the facility include the Coronado, Century Class S/T and the Columbia. The Portland plant also builds heavy-duty vehicles for the U.S. military.

Employees will be added over the next few months as the plant ramps up to full production capacity on two shifts. The Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant currently employs 1,100 people on one full production shift. With the addition of the new personnel, plant employment will rise to about 1,800. The plant's employees are represented by the Machinists, Teamsters, Painters and Service Employees Unions.

The plant is part of the Freightliner Group's NAFTA commercial vehicle manufacturing network that includes manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Ontario. The Group employs more than 14,000 hourly-paid workers throughout its manufacturing locations.

"Freightliner LLC continues to invest in the Portland operation by adding a significant number of excellent jobs at the Truck Manufacturing Plant on Swan Island," Schmueckle said.

Freightliner already employs more than 2,000 people at the company's corporate headquarters here.

He said the new jobs were being added to take full advantage of available capacity at the plant during a rising market and therefore help improve the facility's under-performing cost-structure.

Freightliner LLC, based in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, American LaFrance and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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