Freightliner to bring 340-plus jobs here

A sales and marketing division of Freightliner will call York County home, moving more than 340 jobs to a new $10 million site, officials say.

The nation's largest truckmaker eventually could move its headquarters from Portland, Ore., to a 300-acre facility on S.C. 274, close to more than half its manufacturing plants, which are in the Carolinas.

Some key positions will be in York County by the end of July, according to a press release issued by the company Thursday.

"The center of gravity for our Freightliner Truck product line is in the eastern United States," Freightliner President and CEO Chris Patterson said in the release. "We have concluded that sales, marketing and customer support activities for our flagship products are better conducted in closer proximity to the majority of our customers and dealers."

In a special meeting Thursday morning, the York County Council agreed to offer the trucking company tax incentives to build an office facility, said Mark Farris, York County's director of economic development.

Freightliner plans on leasing space soon at Intellicenter-Charlotte in Fort Mill and having a newly built facility in about four years, Farris said.

Council members were excited that the eventual office campus on S.C. 274 could attract more business to the area.

"I think it'll help stimulate economic growth -- especially in the western side of the county," Council Chairman Buddy Motz said. "We've got a quality company that would be moving here and investing a good bit of capital in infrastructure and buildings."

Affected employees were told Thursday, and it's unclear how many open positions will be available when the company moves.

Relocating more divisions of the company is possible down the road, according to the press release.

"Negotiations with South Carolina include contingencies in the event that we elect to center more of our operations there," Patterson said. "We will construct a dedicated facility to house the transferred departments on land we expect to acquire in the very near term."

Freightliner is looking to purchase land owned by Crescent Resources on S.C. 274 near Crowders Creek Elementary School and Lake Wylie, Motz said. That 400-acre tract is valued at more $1.85 million, according to the county's Web site.

Councilman Tom Smith said talks to move the company to York County hadn't been in the works for very long.

"It came together very quickly," Smith said.

Freightliner has about 2,700 administrative employees at its headquarters in Oregon, but it operates five manufacturing plants in the Carolinas -- including a plant in Gaffney and plants in Cleveland, Gastonia, High Point and Mount Holly in North Carolina.

Its largest plant is in Cleveland, N.C., where about 2,000 workers were laid off earlier this year when the plant cut back from three shifts to two.

The company is undergoing several changes, including changing its name to Daimler Trucks North America in January. Its products include trucks for long-haul transport, school buses and chassis for recreational vehicles, shuttle buses and delivery vans.

Details of the tax incentives discussed behind closed doors Thursday morning aren't available yet, Farris said.

"It's good for economic growth, economic development, and it's good because the company will be a good citizen," Motz said.