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 (www.starks-news.com) 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.