Freightliner LLC has announced it intends to divest its American LaFrance (ALF) fire and emergency services manufacturing business unit. ALF produces and distributes a line of fire and emergency apparatus including chassis, aerials, ambulances, pumpers, rescues and tankers.
Ladson SC-based ALF was acquired by Freightliner in 1995. ALF is the fifth largest fire and emergency services vehicle producer in America. It currently operates six manufacturing facilities and five owned dealer locations across the U.S. and has a workforce of approximately 1,200 hourly and salaried employees.
Freightliner said it will not include the Ladson facility in a sales agreement. Two current ALF manufacturing facilities in Hamburg, NY and Casper, WY will take on body production transferred from Ladson.
"While the company has been driving improvement programs in recent times and we believe the American LaFrance business has growth and profitability potential, we also believe this potential can be better realized by a company that has a focus on ALF's core markets," said Freightliner LLC president & CEO Chris Patterson. “As a result, we have been in discussion with a number of parties who have an interest in acquiring the assets of ALF and several organizations have emerged as likely investors.
"Despite the occasional cycle, the market for custom fire apparatus is expected to grow based on the need for more fire trucks, technology advances, increased federal funding for Homeland Security, and the need to replace older fire equipment," Patterson added.