*Opened in 1979, Mount Holly Today Produces the Freightliner Business Class M2 Line of Medium-Duty and Vocational Vehicles
*25th Anniversary Celebration Attended by U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick (9th District, N.C.), Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough, Employees and Their Families
MOUNT HOLLY, N.C… Freightliner LLC celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant with festive ceremonies at the plant on June 12. The plant opened in May 1979 and was originally designed to build heavy-duty Freightliner trucks for over-the-road applications. It is now the home of Freightliner Trucks’ Business Class M2 line of medium-duty and vocational trucks.
“Freightliner LLC today celebrates a quarter-century of manufacturing excellence at our Mount Holly plant,” noted Rainer Schmueckle, President and CEO of Freightliner LLC, which is based in Portland, Oregon. “Through their manufacturing skill and dedication to customers, Mount Holly employees have helped the Freightliner nameplate achieve and maintain a leadership position in North America’s trucking industry,” Schmueckle said.
The plant has exclusively built the Freightliner Business Class M2 line of medium-duty and vocational trucks since 2002. Before that, it produced the original Business Class product, introduced in 1991. Earlier, Mount Holly built a mix of heavy-duty Freightliners.
The Business Class M2 line features Class 5-8 models in three BBC (bumper-to-back-of-cab) dimensions, including 100-, 106- and 112-inch BBC models. Also offered are Extended Cabs and Crew Cabs. Each vehicle can be customized for a broad range of vocational and commercial truck requirements.
“The new Freightliner Business Class M2 trucks are finding new customers every day,” Schmueckle said. “It’s an indication of the M2’s strong customer acceptance in the market.”
After more than 25 years as a West Coast-based truck manufacturer, Freightliner Corporation expanded its operations to the Southeast in the late 1970s because of the large number of customers located east of the Mississippi River. Construction began in 1978 at both Mount Holly and nearby Gastonia, N.C., site of the Gastonia Parts Manufacturing Plant, which was built to supply Mount Holly with truck parts.
The Mount Holly plant opened for business in May 1979 with 134 full-time employees. It produced its first truck, a 1980 Freightliner COE, that month for Goldston Inc., of Eden, N.C. With 460,000 square feet of floor space, the Mount Holly plant was Freightliner’s largest at the time. Today the plant employs more than 1,100 people. Mount Holly production employees are members of the UAW.
Expanded and modernized several times, the Mount Holly Truck Plant now has 616,000 square feet of space after a major renovation in 2001-2. The 14-month remodel updated more than 80 percent of the floor space and prepared the plant for manufacturing the Business Class M2 product line. The facility incorporates high-tech manufacturing equipment, including robots for welding and painting, automated conveyor systems and sophisticated automated wash and paint centers.
Freightliner LLC operates a total of four manufacturing facilities in North Carolina: the Mount Holly plant; the Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant, which builds Freightliner brand heavy-duty trucks; the Gastonia Parts Manufacturing Plant, which produces parts and components for Freightliner LLC manufacturing facilities and parts distribution centers; and the Thomas Built Buses School Bus Manufacturing Plant in High Point. Combined, the four plants employ approximately 7,000 people in North Carolina.
The Anniversary Event
“The Mount Holly Truck Plant has played a critical role in Freightliner LLC's success for more than 25 years,” said Mark Moseley, Mount Holly plant manager and master of ceremonies at the anniversary event. U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick (9th District, NC), joined Freightliner executives and Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough for the celebration.
The half-day celebration included plant tours and activities for employees and their families, plus lunch and a range of games and activities designed to commemorate Mount Holly’s manufacturing history. The event included recognition of the plant’s longest serving employees, including a number of original employees with 25 years of service.
Members of the West Gastonia Boys and Girls Club performed the National Anthem to open the formal ceremony and sang ”America the Beautiful” at the close.