Daimler Trucks North America Opens Benchmark Plant in Saltillo, Mexico

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Stuttgart, Germany / Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico – February 27, 2009 – Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) today observed the grand opening of a new, $300 million manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Coahuila, in northern Mexico. The new facility utilizes the most advanced lean manufacturing processes and techniques in the truck building industry today, incorporating continuous evaluation and improvement and best practices from other Daimler Trucks facilities and lean plants around the world. The facility is expected to employ 1,414 plant workers and 186 management and support personnel, and to generate an additional 1,100 jobs with local suppliers. After breaking ground in January of 2007, the facility was completed on time and under budget.

The Right Place at the Right Time

The 1.3 million square foot plant comprises an administration building, a training center and auditorium, a 200,000 square foot logistics center and an 875,000 square foot production facility. The site also includes a pre-delivery inspection/transporter center and test track.

The plant, which will produce Freightliner’s new flagship Cascadia™ model Class 8 truck, was sited in Saltillo for significant logistical advantages including proximity to raw materials, suppliers, customers, roads and rail. The 740 acre greenfield site provided a unique opportunity for a fully scalable, customized development, rare in truck manufacturing. The plant will produce up to 30,000 Cascadias annually, for sale in the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican markets. The Cascadia will be introduced to the domestic market in Mexico in late 2009.

The Saltillo plant is the second Daimler Trucks North America manufacturing facility to be located in Mexico, joining the Santiago Tianguistenco plant, which produces Freightliner-branded heavy- and medium-duty trucks for domestic Mexico sales, as well as for export to Latin America, the United States and Canada. As one of five major U.S.-based original equipment manufacturers with Mexican manufacturing capability, DTNA knows the value of Saltillo’s professional supplier base and superior logistics infrastructure.

“We are truly a global company, and our continuing focus is to ensure the company’s long-term health for all of our many stakeholders. Locating this facility at Saltillo makes good business sense for our company,” said Roger Nielsen, DTNA, chief operating officer. “We are confident of our ability to deliver the quality, cost and reliability our customers expect from Daimler Trucks. Saltillo offers both the manufacturing flexibility and the space for future expansion that will enable DTNA to respond to any rebound in the truck market.”

Coahuila Governor Humberto Moreira, in welcoming Daimler Trucks to Saltillo, said, “This is one of the most important projects in the region. It strengthens Coahuila as a development and investments attraction center.”

A Benchmark Among Benchmarks

Saltillo will set benchmark standards for the Daimler Trucks manufacturing facilities worldwide. Lean operations at Saltillo are focused on getting it right the first time, and nowhere is that more evident than in the plant’s goal of perfect first-time quality. In response to that challenge, Production hands off to Quality Control at the Customer Ready Center, not in an offline area, as is typical in the industry. “Offline is obsolete at Saltillo,” said Mark Hernandez, plant manager. “Problems are solved within assembly stations, not sent down the line. If a problem can’t be solved, the line is stopped until the issue has been resolved.”

At the core of quality production for the Saltillo plant is Daimler’s Truck Operating System (TOS). TOS contributes to both operational and everyday excellence and applies to every step on the production line. The system empowers each person at each workstation and provides an avenue for continuous feedback so the production process is always improving.

For Daimler Trucks, safety is not just a sign on the wall but a commitment in its factories in North America and around the world. It’s also a leading key performance indicator in lean manufacturing, which means it is a significant focus of training, a priority at Saltillo. One example of that commitment is the company’s decision not to use forklifts in the assembly facility.

The highly skilled, specially trained employees who comprise the Saltillo workforce ensure DTNA’s competitive edge. In an extraordinary gesture of its commitment to quality, the company brought the entire operations team on board a full two years ahead of plant completion. Production personnel were on board four months ahead of schedule for screening, training and qualifying, while two to four weeks is usual.

The Saltillo facility complies with DTNA’s high environmental standards, including industry-leading waste treatment and co-processing, and recycling of 90 percent of all materials. Thoughtful design elements embody the company’s commitment to a zero-waste/zero-landfill policy:

The result: a new facility that underlines Daimler Trucks’ confidence in the long-term success of the Class 8 truck market and its commitment to the Daimler Trucks Global Excellence program.

About Daimler Trucks North America LLC

Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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