REDFORD, MI — Detroit Diesel Corp. (DDC) and Freightliner LLC announced on February 25 plans for a $275 million investment in a manufacturing and office facility here. Under the companies' plans, the 3.2-million-square-foot Redford facility will become home to a new heavy-duty truck engine line, medium-duty engine assembly, and expanded axle assembly. In addition, the Redford campus of buildings will house the new headquarters of Sterling Truck Corporation and Western Star Trucks, two business units of Freightliner LLC. Detroit Diesel Corporation and Freightliner LLC are both part of DaimlerChrysler's Commercial Vehicles Division. Built in 1938 and expanded several times in phases, the Redford facility is already home to Detroit Diesel Corporation's headquarters and manufacturing operations, including the state-of-the-art DDC Series 60 EGR engine manufacturing line. It also houses MTU Detroit Diesel manufacturing operations, which builds large diesel engines for marine, mining and other applications. Since 2001, Redford has also been the home of Axle Alliance Company (AAC). A part of the Freightliner group, AAC builds front and rear axles for heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicles. All of these operations combined currently employ a total of approximately 2,800 people at the facility. Over the next two years, the technical capabilities of the facility will be expanded considerably and it will become one of the most advanced truck engine and components manufacturing facilities in North America. By 2007, the Redford facility will accommodate the manufacturing of an all-new heavy-duty truck engine. Currently in development by Detroit Diesel and parent company DaimlerChrysler - the engine will be launched in 2007 and will incorporate the latest in diesel engine and emissions technology. For an extended transition period, the new engine will be sold in tandem with the popular Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine. In the NAFTA market, the new engine will be installed in heavy-duty vehicles produced by business units of Freightliner LLC. The Redford facility also will house assembly operations for the MBE 900 medium-duty diesel truck engine. Available since 1999 in North America, the MBE 900 is currently built in Mannheim, Germany. Beginning in 2007, North American versions of the engine will be assembled at Redford. The MBE 900 powers Freightliner group vehicles for a wide variety of commercial vehicle applications including beverage, utility, construction and pick-up and delivery applications. In the Redford facility upgrade, Axle Alliance Company (AAC) will expand into gear set manufacturing, along with its current axle assembly operations. Installed as proprietary axles in a variety of Freightliner group vehicles, these components continue to grow in popularity. Over the next year, AAC will increase its Redford operation by 85,000 sq. ft. to implement a state-of-the-art gear set manufacturing facility. Construction has already begun to accommodate these new operations. The Redford complex will be further enhanced by the addition of a new headquarters for Sterling Truck Corporation and Western Star Trucks. "A headquarters location in Redford will offer strategic advantages for Sterling and Western Star, including synergies with the numerous DaimlerChrysler operations on site and in the area," he said. Sterling and Western Star will relocate from Willoughby, Ohio, to Redford in the second quarter of this year. Detroit Diesel is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler and part of the Freightliner Group. Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks in North America and a leading manufacturer of medium-duty vehicles. Freightliner produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, American LaFrance, and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner LLC is a DaimlerChrysler company.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials