Freightliner LLC plans to build a new $300-million truck manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Coahuila, in northern Mexico, for the production of Freightliner and Sterling-brand trucks starting 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 Chris Patterson, Freightliner’s president & CEO. “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…so this new plant will ensure that we are fully prepared.”
The 1-million sq.-ft. Saltillo facility will be located near an existing Chrysler plant to take advantage of supply and transportation synergies, such as the extension of a supplier park and railroad terminal. 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, Freightliner noted.
This will be the second Freightliner factory located in Mexico, joining the Santiago Tianguistenco plant, which produces Freightliner-branded heavy- and medium-duty trucks for Mexico, Latin America, the U.S., and Canada.
“Five major U.S.-based OEM's now have Mexican manufacturing capability, including Freightliner LLC,” noted Roger Nielsen, Freightliner’s COO. “DaimlerChrysler [Freightliner’s parent company] 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.”