Daimler has opened a new manufacturing plant of Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) in Saltillo , Coahuila, in northern Mexico. The plant will produce Freightliner trucks.

The President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, was on hand for the opening ceremony.

The facility, which was built with an investment of US$300m, is expected to create 1,400 direct jobs and 200 indirect ones. In addition, it will generate 1,100 jobs within the local supplier industry.

After breaking ground in January 2007, the facility was completed on time and within the planned budget. The plant in Saltillo covers 1.3 million square feet of space and includes a production facility, a logistics centre, administration building, and a training centre.

“With the new Daimler Trucks North America production plant in Saltillo, Mexico, Daimler Trucks is improving its competitive position on the North American continent over the long term,” said Andreas Renschler, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management and Head of Daimler Trucks.

Daimler said the location decision in favour of northern Mexico was influenced by the site’s significant logistical advantages, including proximity to raw material sources, suppliers, and customers, as well as good connections with the road and rail network.

The plant will produce Freightliner’s new flagship, the Cascadia heavy-duty Class 8 truck. The plant in Saltillo can produce up to 30,000 Cascadia trucks annually for sale in the US, Canadian, and Mexican markets. The Cascadia will be introduced on the domestic market in Mexico in late 2009.

The Saltillo plant is the second Daimler Trucks North America manufacturing facility to be located in Mexico, joining the Santiago Tianguistenco plant, which produces Freightliner-branded heavy and medium-duty trucks for domestic Mexico sales, as well as for export to Latin America, the United States, and Canada.

“We are confident that with the Cascadia from Saltillo we will be able to fulfil our customers’ high expectations regarding product quality, operating costs, and reliability,” continued Andreas Renschler.

“Saltillo offers both the manufacturing flexibility and the space for future expansion that will enable Daimler Trucks North America to respond to a rebound in the truck market.”