Freightliner announces layoffs

Freightliner LLC announced Tuesday that it will lay off 138 regular and 362 temporary employees at its Cleveland, NC, plant January 2 and 175 temporary employees at its St. Thomas, Ontario, plant February 3 because of a slump in new heavy-duty truck orders and weakness in medium-duty truck markets. The DaimlerChrysler subsidiary said it would idle its Cleveland and Mount Holly, NC, plants from January

Freightliner LLC announced Tuesday that it will lay off 138 regular and 362 temporary employees at its Cleveland, NC, plant January 2 and 175 temporary employees at its St. Thomas, Ontario, plant February 3 because of a slump in new heavy-duty truck orders and weakness in medium-duty truck markets.

The DaimlerChrysler subsidiary said it would idle its Cleveland and Mount Holly, NC, plants from January 2 through 10 and reduce its temporary work force in Santiago, Mexico.

The company said the changes are intended to adjust the company's manufacturing capacity in response to the previously anticipated sharp decline in industry Class 8 truck orders and a weak medium-duty truck market.

Despite the market situation, Freightliner president & CEO Rainer E. Schmueckle said its turnaround remains on track.

"We were profitable in the third quarter and now expect to exceed our 2002 cost savings target of $450 million by $100 million," he said. "We continue to expect a small operating profit in 2003 despite much weaker market conditions."

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