Freightliner announces ‘customer facing functions’

PORTLAND, Ore. — Freightliner, the largest maker of heavy-duty trucks in North America, says it will transfer selected functions from its corporate headquarters in Portland to a South Carolina location closer to customers and production facilities.

Company officials confirmed that 341 positions are affected, including Freightliner Trucks sales and marketing functions. Other elements being relocated manage relations with the company’s dealer network, provide technical support to both dealers and customers, and ensure a reliable and cost-effective supply of replacement parts.

“The center of gravity for our Freightliner Trucks product line is in the eastern United States,” stated Chris Patterson, president and CEO of Freightliner LLC in a Portland press conference today. “We have concluded that sales, marketing and customer support activities for our flagship products are better conducted in closer proximity to the majority of our customers and dealers.”

Secondarily, adds Patterson, the company’s supplier base and affiliated companies and manufacturing activities are largely located in the eastern part of the continent. “Our plans to achieve benchmark performance as a company in the years ahead require that we address this issue head-on.”

Freightliner LLC corporate headquarters will continue to be based in Portland. Operations at the Western Star Manufacturing Plant on Swan Island, which currently employs 970, are not affected.

The departments being transferred will occupy offices in northern South Carolina, in close proximity to both the Charlotte-Douglas International airport, and within a 75 mile radius of long-established Freightliner Trucks manufacturing facilities in the region. Operations are expected to commence July 31 2008 in the new location.

Patterson stated that further relocations are possible in the foreseeable future, depending on the evolution of the company’s relationship with its affiliates and dynamics in its markets.

“Negotiations with South Carolina include contingencies in the event that we elect to center more of our operations there and we will construct a dedicated facility to house the transferred departments on land we expect to acquire in the very near term. Our specific plans will evolve with time and consistent with our business needs.”

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