DaimlerChrysler to Overhaul Truck Unit

by Katy de Vries

PORTLAND, Ore. – DaimlerChrysler Commercial Vehicle Division has announced a significant restructuring of its truck unit, effective Jan. 1, 2004. As a result, Detroit Diesel engines will no longer be available on non-Freightliner trucks.

The organizational changes will create a structure that is more closely aligned with the strategic aims of DaimlerChrysler’s Commercial Vehicles Division (CVD), according to Rainer Schmuckle, president and CEO of Freightliner LLC. Truck development will be consolidated under one management team headed by Schmuckle, regional responsibilities for truck production will be expanded and the Powersystems Unit will be shut down. The central management team will oversee units around the globe. Freightliner engineering and production will remain in Portland, Ore.

“The idea here is to synchronize global development and purchasing elements to bring the best possible concepts to life. This initiative will enable us to make even more effective use of existing synergy potential, and take advantage of the position of being the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer,” Schmuckle says. The company is expecting the move to facilitate the standardization of major components in their trucks. Schmuckle insists, however, that this does not mean Freightliner is creating a “world truck.” Schmuckle says trucks will be suited to their markets, be they Europe, North America or Asia. He says centralization will accelerate the use of common components and parts from around the globe.

As a result, third-party trade in major components is being discontinued and apart from a few exceptions, only internal brands will be supplied. The Powersystems Unit will be shut down and those plants producing major components are being assigned to regional vehicle units.

“We see particular opportunities to developing components that can be deployed across truck platforms around the world, and this organization has decided to facilitate this, for example, new heavy-duty engine platforms that will be introduced in 2007,” says Schmuckle.

Detroit Diesel, Freightliner’s sister engine company, will now fall under Schmuckle’s direction, as head of the CVD NAFTA truck business unit. But it will remain a separate company with its own divisions and departments.

“So in the end, Freightliner has even greater capability to leverage our membership in the group to bring forth a reliable product, an opportunity to work more closely with our sister companies and colleagues in the NAFTA region to develop and optimize vehicle systems,” says Schmuckle.

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