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Freightliner increases its international presence.

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 9, 1996--Freightliner Corp. has announced the expansion of its leading international presence with the opening of three new truck assembly plants in 1996.

The three new assembly plants, in Saudi Arabia, the Republic of South Africa and Israel, join two other assembly operations outside North America in Australia and Mexico.

Freightliner has been North America's number one exporter of heavy-duty trucks since 1991 -- just three years after it entered the truck export business -- and currently holds a 33 percent share of the U.S. Class 8 export market. "We now sell Freightliner trucks in 23 countries," noted Freightliner President and CEO Jim Hebe.

In March, Freightliner began manufacturing operations in Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Africa in cooperation with operations affiliated with Freightliner's parent company, Mercedes-Benz AG, and will begin production in Israel this summer. "Demand for Freightliner trucks in Africa and the Middle East is known to be particularly strong," said Hebe, "so we expect to see our export volumes increase significantly."

Saudi Arabia

Freightliner began assembly of its medium-duty Business Class trucks in Jedah, Saudi Arabia, at National Automobile Industry Co. Ltd., a joint venture owned by E.A. Juffali & Brothers and Mercedes-Benz. National Automobile Industry will build its first 105 Business Class trucks from semi-knocked-down cab and chassis kits produced at Freightliner's North Carolina truck plants.

E.A. Juffali & Brothers operate the general agency in Saudi Arabia for Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks and have been a distributor for Freightliner since 1994, when whey imported 90 Freightliner beverage delivery trucks for the local Pepsi-Cola distributor, putting the Freightliner nameplate on Saudi roads for the first time.

Republic of South Africa

The opening of the South African assembly plant heralds the launch of Freightliner's heavy-duty product line in that country. Located in East London, the plant is part of a separate Freightliner division established by Mercedes-Benz of South Africa to assemble and distribute Freightliner products. Division headquarters are in Pretoria.

The plant will assemble Freightliner FLC 112 and FLD Conventionals and FLB COEs from kits built in the United States -- an arrangement made possible by the easing of South African local content and import duty regulations with the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Israel

Freightliner truck production begins in Israel this summer at Automotive Industries Ltd., a privately held vehicle assembler in Nazareth. Under a Freightliner contract with the Israeli Defense Forces for 580 FLC 112 Conventionals to be used for personnel carriers, the Nazareth plant will assemble trucks from completely-built-up cabs and completely-knocked-down chassis kits shipped from the United States.

The Israeli Government has ordered a total of 624 Freightliners, including kits and completely-built-up trucks. The initial contract was announced in January 1995.

Freightliner Corp., with headquarters in Portland, produces and markets commercial vehicles in Class 4-8 and is a member of the Mercedes-Benz AG group, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

CONTACT: Freightliner Corp., Portland

Debi Nicholson, 503/735-8535
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 9, 1996
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