Freightliner looks to Fort Mill or Charlotte for headquarters

The Charlotte area is one of two finalists to be the potential new headquarters of Freightliner LLC, the nation's largest truck maker, said a local source.

The source would not say where in the region a new Freightliner administrative facility might be located, though several sites, including the Fort Mill area, are under consideration. The Charlotte region is one of two metro areas in the running for the project, the source said.

The facility might later become the truck maker's headquarters, the source said. The current headquarters is in Portland, Ore.

Freightliner operates its largest plant in Cleveland in Rowan County, N.C., and has other North Carolina operations in Mount Holly, N.C., and Gastonia, N.C. The company has experienced some labor turmoil of late, laying off about 2,000 workers earlier this year as it cut back from three shifts to two at the Cleveland facility.

Freightliner blamed the job losses on the federal government, which imposed stricter diesel emission standards. That forced the company to add expensive technology to its trucks, resulting in higher prices and a dramatic drop in orders. Employment has been cyclical at the Cleveland plant over the past few years, with layoffs followed eventually by additional hiring.

Freightliner's products include trucks for long-haul transport, school buses and chassis for recreational vehicles, shuttle buses and delivery vans.