Freightliner expects to lose record sum; will announce "turnaround plan"

| 9/26/2001

According to published reports, DaimlerChrysler AG's Freightliner LLC unit, largest maker and seller of heavy-duty commercial trucks in North America, expects to lose a record $1.20 billion for all of this year, and may permanently close two truck and parts-making facilities in Portland, OR.

Stark's News Service Interactive ( reported Monday that
Freightliner generated an operating profit of $900 million last year. In the first half of 2001, losses were posted at more than $500 million.

According to reports in Stark's and The Oregonian, Freightliner is seeking to reopen a three-year labor contract with unionized workers at the Portland plants to reduce wages, kill bonuses and future wage hikes. The plan is to possibly save the two Portland sites from permanent closure.

DaimlerChrysler and Freightliner have announced an upcoming announcement regarding Freightliner's restructure, but no details have been available. Freightliner spokesman Chris Brandt said Tuesday more information would be included when the plan was announced. Brandt, who described the plan to Land Line as a "turnaround plan," said despite press reports, there had been no set date for the announcement, but it would be "fairly soon."

Stark's also reported that a Freightliner executive told Portland union officials last week that, in addition to a $1.20 billion operating loss foreseen this year, nearly 30 per cent of its dealers appear to be at the brink of bankruptcy as a severe downturn in local market demand for its commercial vehicles begins to widen in the wake of deadly terrorist attacks last Sept.11 in New York City and suburban Washington DC.