Freightliner Trucks To Introduce Business Class® M2 Class 5-8 Truck Line to Mexico Market

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Freightliner’s Santiago Tianguistenco Manufacturing Facility To Increase Overall Output with the Introduction of New Product Line

PORTLAND, OREGON…Freightliner Trucks today announced that it will begin rolling out the new Business Class® M2 line of medium-duty and vocational trucks to the Mexico market this summer. Production begins in June at the company’s Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico, Manufacturing Plant. With the introduction of the new truck line, the plant will increase its production rates.

The Business Class M2 is a new line of Class 5-8 medium-duty and vocational trucks from Freightliner Trucks. Unveiled to the U.S. and Canada markets in early 2002, the trucks are designed to give commercial truck operators unprecedented advantages in productivity and operational efficiency. The Business Class M2 succeeds Freightliner's Business Class product line, first introduced in 1991.

“Freightliner Trucks is very pleased to continue the highly successful roll-out of the Business Class M2 product line with our much-anticipated introduction of the new truck to the Mexico market,” said Mark Lampert, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Freightliner Trucks. “The original Business Class was very well received in Mexico and we expect our Mexican customers to embrace the successor Business Class M2 as well.”

Lampert said Mexican customers will employ the Business Class M2 in a wide variety of commercial truck applications, including local and regional distribution, food & beverage delivery, fire and emergency services, government services, towing & recovery, agriculture and many others. The trucks will be sold and serviced through the Freightliner Trucks dealer network with locations throughout Mexico.

Freightliner LLC, parent company of Freightliner Trucks, is investing nearly $20 million to prepare the Santiago Tianguistenco Truck Manufacturing Plant for Business Class M2 production. The plant has produced original Business Class models since 1997. With the start of Business Class M2 production, the plant’s overall output of all vehicles will return to pre-October 2002 production levels, with the expectation that production will rise to 72 vehicles per day in the second half of 2003. The plant’s production continues to serve the Mexico market as well as Freightliner’s customers in the Western and Southwestern United States.

Initially, the Santiago plant will produce the Business Class M2 106 model with regular cab. Later on, the plant will build Business Class M2 100 and 112 models as well as Crew Cabs and Extended Cabs.

The Santiago Tianguistenco Manufacturing plant also produces Freightliner Columbia and FLD heavy-duty trucks, Freightliner and Sterling Cargo Class 7&8 trucks, and bus chassis. Employment is 750 people.

Freightliner Trucks launched the new Business Class M2 line in February 2002. The truck was initially unveiled in a 106-inch BBC (bumper-to-back-of-cab) model. Since then, Freightliner Trucks has been rolling out a variety of Business Class M2 models and options including 100-inch and 112-inch BBC models and Crew and Extended Cabs. Production of the Business Class M2 began at the company’s Mount Holly, N.C., manufacturing plant in August 2002.

“Customer reception to the new Business Class M2 truck line has been extraordinary across the U.S. and Canada,” Lampert said. “With the Santiago plant’s proven record of building high quality commercial vehicles, we foresee excellent acceptance among Mexican customers. We expect to gain market share in Mexico and anticipate having to increase output at the Santiago plant even further.”

Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner Trucks produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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