Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) Announces New Medium-Duty Engine Assembly Line to Debut at Redford Facility

Growth of MBE 900 engine in medium-duty market fuels decision to initiate North American assembly.

REDFORD, Michigan — Detroit Diesel Corporation today announced that U.S. assembly of the successful Mercedes-Benz MBE 900 medium-duty diesel engine will be fully operational by Spring 2007. This new engine assembly line will help support the expanding medium-duty presence of Freightliner LLC business units in the North American truck market.

European and Asian versions of the MBE 900 will continue to be manufactured at DaimlerChrysler’s Mannheim, Germany, Engine Plant. Detroit Diesel Corporation and Freightliner LLC are both part of DaimlerChrysler.

“The MBE 900 has become a very popular choice among our customers and its sales have grown alongside our medium-duty vehicle sales,” said Rainer E. Schmueckle, president and chief executive officer of Freightliner LLC. “Our growth plans, coupled with the capabilities of the facility to assemble a world-class product, helped solidify the decision to locate North American assembly of the engine at Redford.”

Detroit Diesel offers four- and six-cylinder versions of the MBE 900 engine for the medium-duty market that provide coverage from 170 to 330 horsepower. The engine delivers outstanding fuel economy, superior performance and a high power-to-weight ratio. Available in North America since 1999, the MBE 900 powers customer trucks spanning a wide variety of commercial vehicle applications including beverage, utility, construction, fire and emergency, and pick-up and delivery applications. Since its introduction, more than 65,000 MBE engines have been sold in the North American market.

“The customers in the medium-duty market are diverse and need a highly reliable engine that fits their specific applications,” said Carsten Reinhardt, president and chief executive officer of Detroit Diesel. “Universally our customers tell us the reliability of the engine provides significant value to their operations by providing a truck that runs 'day-in and day-out.' World-class fuel economy also delivers quantifiable savings to our medium-duty customers. These two factors have been considerable catalysts to the growth of the MBE 900.”

Detroit Diesel is currently making preparations to create a new line for final assembly and testing of the MBE 900. Pre-production of the engine will begin in the Fall 2006, with full production anticipated for Spring 2007.

“In order to continue meeting the needs of our customers and providing them with a high-quality engine, we will be making significant changes to reconfigure our manufacturing operations to support the MBE 900 engine,” added Reinhardt. “This is great news for our workforce and the Southeast Michigan manufacturing sector.”

By 2007, the Detroit Diesel facility in Redford will be the only manufacturing facility in the commercial truck industry that produces a full line of medium- and heavy-duty engines and axles for the commercial truck markets.

Detroit Diesel Corporation is the leading manufacturer of on-highway medium- and heavy-duty diesel engines for the commercial truck market. The company offers a complete line of engines from 170 to 515 horsepower for the on-highway and vocational markets. Through its corporate headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, Detroit Diesel is engaged in the design, manufacture, sale and service of these products, in addition to supporting alternative and hybrid engine strategies for the commercial truck marketplace. 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 company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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