Freightliner LLC Announces 2008 Move of Key “Customer Facing” Functions to Support Freightliner Trucks Brand
Company officials address time and distance issues in support of its key customers
Selected departments will be relocated to South Carolina, effective July 31, 2008
Corporate headquarters to remain in Portland, Oregon
PORTLAND, ORE: Freightliner LLC announced today that it will transfer selected functions from its corporate headquarters in Portland to a South Carolina location closer to customers and Freightliner Trucks 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 chief executive officer 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, our supplier base, our affiliated companies and our Freightliner Trucks manufacturing activities are largely located in the eastern part of the continent," Patterson added. "Our plans to achieve benchmark performance as a company in the years ahead require that we address this issue head-on."
Company officials stressed that Freightliner LLC corporate headquarters will continue to be based in Portland. "Our corporate headquarters will remain here in Portland, with a workforce of 2,200 once the transfer is complete. Operations at the Western Star Manufacturing Plant on Swan Island, which currently employs 970, are not affected. My office, and key functions such as research and development, Information Technology, finance and accounting, human resource management, procurement and logistics, and others, remain in Portland. And our commitment to support the communities in which our employees live and work is not changed in any way," Patterson affirmed.
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. The majority of employees affected by the transfer will be relocated in early summer, 2008. Operations are expected to commence July 31 in the new South Carolina location. South Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Joe Taylor stated, "We welcome this expanded Freightliner LLC presence in South Carolina and look forward to a constructive partnership." Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, is located in Gaffney, South Carolina.
Employees were notified of the Company’s decision today, following an internal announcement in early September that a potential move of selected customer facing functions was under evaluation. Relocation offers have been extended to all employees whose jobs are being moved, regardless of level or corporate service.
"This has been a difficult decision for many reasons. We are acutely aware that this choice affects career and personal plans for many of our employees and their families," stated Patterson. "We are taking steps to minimize potential cost and disruption for the employees who choose to move, and to appropriately compensate those who cannot accept our offer for personal or professional reasons."
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."
Freightliner LLC is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 trucks and is a part of Daimler Trucks, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.