Freightliner Finalizes Western Star Acquisition

Freightliner LLC, a DaimlerChrysler AG unit, has announced that its acquisition of 100% of the outstanding stock of Western Star Trucks Holdings has closed. Freightliner acquired the company for a purchase price of US $453 million.

Western Star will be integrated into Freightliner's vocational truck unit, Sterling Truck Corp. The Western Star brand will continue as a separate product line, and the two companies' dealer networks will be optimally configured throughout North America to offer expanded service and support.

Freightliner also gains a leading heavy-transit bus manufacturer, Orion Bus Industries. Orion products and its brand name will continue in the market, and Freightliner's specialized vehicles group - which includes Thomas Built Buses, American LaFrance, and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp - will support the company.

John Merrifield will expand his responsibilities as the senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Sterling to combined sales and marketing for the Sterling and Western Star brands. Manufacturing and engineering operations of Western Star will be directed by Roger Nielsen, general manager of operations.

Merrifield has led the development and growth of Sterling since 1997, when Freightliner acquired the rights to Ford Motor Co's heavy-truck product line.

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