It isn't hard to see how the flood of used trucks impacted Freightliner LLC, signs of high water marks are everywhere within the organization.Long gone is former truck boss Jim Hebe, and his successor...
It isn’t hard to see how the flood of used trucks impacted Freightliner LLC, signs of high water marks are everywhere within the organization.
Long gone is former truck boss Jim Hebe, and his successor Rainer Schmueckle has not just trimmed the fat, he’s hacked at it with a machete with the hopes of culling US$850 million in unneeded costs. He says some 5,000 initiatives are or will soon be under way enabling his turn-around plan to be realized by sometime in 2004.
The about face in Portland, Ore., Schmueckle insists is mirroring that of the overall economy in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) zone.
“The end of the recession should be near,” he says. “Increasing industrial activity,” should provide the deciding boost adds Freightliner’s top executive.
Despite all of the positive indicators now dancing through the financial numbers of the continent, the truck-building giant is still projecting 2002 heavy-duty sales to be slower than 2001 thanks to fleet fears surrounding new engines slated to be rolled out in October of this year.
When Schneider National announced it would not buy any iron until it is convinced reliability and efficiency issues have been solved, a slow fourth quarter was almost guaranteed. But Schmueckle feels the moves made by his company now will start to pay dividends by the second quarter of 2003 when thoughts of these bugs will have been completely vanquished from the minds of fleet owners and managers.
“Freightliner has taken control of its own destiny,” he concludes, adding the company is also looking to see continued growth in the Sterling vocational market – the fastest growing nameplate in the industry today – “…and Western Star, which we consider an untapped gem.”
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