Freightliner delivers 100,000th truck of 1998

PORTLAND, Ore. — Freightliner Corp. has reached a manufacturing milestone, producing its 100,000th Freightliner-nameplate truck of 1998. The landmark truck, a Century Class tractor, rolled off the line at the company’s Cleveland, N.C., plant in November and was delivered last week to long-time customer M.S. Carriers of Memphis, Tenn.

It’s the first time that over 100,000 Freightliner-nameplate trucks have been built in a calendar year.

M.S. Carriers runs a total of 3100 company power units (90% of them Freightliners) and 12,000 trailers, and contracts with 800 owner-operators as well. An irregular-route truckload carrier, it’s been a Freightliner customer since its founding in 1978.

The previous production record for Freightliner-nameplate trucks was 84,806, set last year, and the company expects to build 116,000 trucks in 1998 — a whopping increase of 31,000, and more than four times the number it built in 1988.

This year’s total will include about 97,000 class 5-8 Freightliner trucks built in the U.S. and Mexico and 19,000 truck chassis built by business unit Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. It doesn’t include production at the Sterling Truck Corp. subsidiary, which will build some 12,000 trucks this year at its St. Thomas, Ont., plant.

The 100,000th Freightliner — a typical M.S. Carriers’ spec — is a C120 Century Class with 70-inch Raised Roof SleeperCab and a 430-horse Detroit Diesel Series 60.

To satisfy demand, Freightliner factories have been running three shifts since January. Production accelerated throughout the year and in November, those factories built more than 600 trucks a day for the first time. Freightliner-nameplate trucks are built at five plants: Portland, Ore.; Cleveland, N.C.; Mt. Holly, N.C.; Gaffney, S.C.; and Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico.

“Over the next decade, the worldwide demand for commercial trucks will grow exponentially, and the North American market will be robust,” says Freightliner Corp. president and CEO Jim Hebe.

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