Freightliner LLC announced today that it plans to construct a new $300 million truck manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Coahuila, in northern Mexico. Dedicated to the production of Freightliner and Sterling trucks, the new facility will provide additional capacity to accommodate Freightliner's long-range product planning including an expected upturn in industry demand in 2009.
"This new facility underscores our confidence in the NAFTA truck market, and our bullish mid-term outlook for industry recovery post-2007," said Freightliner LLC President and CEO, Chris Patterson. "Frankly, we were not able to produce what we could have sold in 2006 due to capacity constraints. We expect another surge in customer demand in 2009 prior to the next round of EPA emissions regulations, and the construction of this new plant will ensure that we are fully prepared."
The Saltillo plant is the second Freightliner LLC manufacturing facility to be located in Mexico, joining the Santiago Tianguistenco plant which produces Freightliner-branded heavy- and medium-duty trucks for domestic Mexico sales as well as export to Latin America, the United States and Canada. The new one million square foot facility in Saltillo is conveniently located near an existing Chrysler plant, which offers opportunities for synergy such as the extension of a supplier park and railroad terminal.
A professional supplier base and vastly improved logistics infrastructure have made Mexico a popular choice for many NAFTA-based truck manufacturing companies and suppliers. "Five major U.S.-based OEM's now have Mexican manufacturing capability, including Freightliner LLC," said Roger Nielsen, Chief Operating Officer. "DaimlerChrysler has had excellent success in recent years with quality, cost and efficiency through our Mexican operations, and we fully expect the new plant in Saltillo to set benchmark standards for DaimlerChrysler Truck Group manufacturing facilities worldwide."
The 740-acre site will also include a PDI/transporter center and test track, as well as room for future expansion. The plant could produce up to 30,000 trucks annually, and employ up to 1,600 production and management personnel. Groundbreaking is planned for the second quarter of 2007, with start of production planned for early 2009.