DTNA to ramp up Western Star production

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Western Star

Daimler Trucks North America on Thursday, Oct. 20, announced the addition of a second shift and plans to ramp up production at its truck manufacturing plant in Portland, Ore., creating about 350 new jobs at the facility by the end of 2012. The additional workers represent a nearly 50 increase in personnel at the plant and will include about 330 shop employees and an additional 20 engineering and support positions to facilitate increased production.

The Swan Island facility exclusively produces heavy-duty Western Star brand Class 8 trucks for use in mining, logging, oil field and construction, as well as on-highway trucks and other specialized vehicles, representing about 2 of North American truck sales this year. Western Star launched its newest vehicle, the 4700, earlier this year.

DTNA says the increase in production capacity and hiring comes in response to a strong and steady rise in Western Star orders throughout 2011 and company expectations for continued growth in 2012. Western Star trucks are sold internationally with key sales in the United States, Canada, Australia, South America, South Africa and Indonesia. The Portland plant currently employs about 700 shop employees and 50 engineers, managers and support staff.

“We are delighted to be able to make this announcement today here in Portland and proud of the achievements of our Western Star work force,” says Martin Daum, DTNA president and chief executive officer. “The growing demand for our Western Star products is testimony to our brand focus on premium customer specifications combined with our leading powertrain technology.”

The current hiring activity is the first time since 2006 that DTNA has had open-market hiring for shop positions at this plant. Hiring of new employees will begin in November, and the new production shift is slated to be at full capacity by February 2012. A second wave of hiring is planned for next summer to support the projected increase in demand.

“Western Star is known as a serious work truck, and for good reason,” Daum says. “They’re built here in Portland with a heritage of the toughest vocational uses – logging, mining, specialized heavy hauling and military use. Despite global economic challenges, Western Star has been able to leverage its well-earned reputation and access to Daimler resources and technology to capture market share, leading to our announcement today.”