Daimler planning to produce fully integrated powertrains in North American plant

Article by Christian A., on December 12, 2012

By 2015, Daimler AG will operate the first North American plant to build a fully integrated powertrain, including transmissions, axles and engines with turbochargers, intended for commercial vehicles all under the same roof. Daimler made the announcement last Monday. President Obama had attended the event.

Daimler said that it will spend around $120 million for the Detroit Diesel plant in suburban Redford, Mich. A total of 115 jobs will be created from this expansion. The plant builds engines, engine components and axles (since 2004). A Daimler Trucks spokesman said that it will begin to manufacture transmissions in late 2014 and turbochargers in early 2015, ensuring the facility is capable of full powertrain production.

In a statement, Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, said that a fully integrated powertrain from a single source is a crucial competitive advantage. Obama applauded Daimler for this investment. He said that by building all the parts in one location, each part can be designed by Daimler engineers to work better with the others.

This leads to higher fuel efficiency for the trucks and higher savings for the customers. He cited this move as an example of “Daimler’s leadership.” This is the second trip this year that the president has made to a Daimler commercial vehicle plant. Last March, he went to a Freightliner truck production plant in North Carolina. Daimler has yet to confirm if it intends to build complete powertrains in a single factory for light vehicles, just like the Mercedes-Benz brand.

Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, Daimler AG is the parent of the Daimler Group. It is involved in the development, production and distribution of cars, vans and trucks as well as the management of the Daimler Group. Its divisions include Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vanz, Daimler Trucks, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services.

Based in Portland, Oregon, Daimler Trucks North America, LLC is considered as a leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America, building and marketing commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. The diesel engines powering a number of commercial vehicles built by Daimler Trucks North America is manufactured by its Detroit, Michigan-based Detroit Diesel Corp.

Detroit Diesel Corp. had its roots founded in April 1938 when General Motors commenced building diesel engine in Detroit under the Detroit Diesel Engine Division. In January 1988, General Motors and Penske Corporation formed a joint venture, resulting to the creation of Detroit Diesel Corp. Penske, which chief executive was former racecar driver Roger Penske, owned 60 percent of the Detroit Diesel joint venture.

In October 2000, DaimlerChrysler – now Daimler AG – acquired Detroit Diesel Corp.

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