Daimler Expands Factories, Invests in New Tech

With a 33% increase in warehouse and storage space, the expanded facility increases efficiency and storage capacity, enabling smoother operations and faster turnaround times.

The new DTNA engineering facility will be approximately 110,000 sq. ft. and will consolidate testing activities under one roof with a focus on research and development for emerging propulsion technologies, such as battery electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
The new DTNA engineering facility will be approximately 110,000 sq. ft. and will consolidate testing activities under one roof with a focus on research and development for emerging propulsion technologies, such as battery electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
Daimler Truck

Daimler Truck has experienced a few expansions recently. This includes a leadership expansion for Kevin Bangston, a remanufacturing plant expansion, and a few new facilities. These expansions are expected to strengthen the company's ties and increase space and opportunity. 

According to the company:

Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) announced two significant investments at its headquarters complex on Swan Island, a new Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) training center adjacent to Electric Island and a new engineering facility at the DTNA campus. 

The new addition to Electric Island represents the next phase to accelerate testing and development of charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles since the first-of-its-kind public charging station was built in partnership with Portland General Electric and opened in 2021. The new training center will be used for the DTNA dealer network and as a resource center for community stakeholders interested in the clean transportation industry. The anticipated project will cost $3 million with half of the costs being funded through a forgivable loan from Prosper Portland, the city of Portland’s economic development agency.

The new DTNA engineering facility will be approximately 110,000 sq. ft. and will consolidate testing activities under one roof with a focus on research and development for emerging propulsion technologies, such as battery electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The project is anticipated to cost $40 million and will be partially funded by the state of Oregon with a $700,000 forgivable loan from the State’s Strategic Reserve fund.

“Daimler Truck North America is proud to call Portland, Oregon our home,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of DTNA. “We appreciate the city and state’s support of our expansion plans to further promote the development and proper testing of advanced technology and look forward to collaborating for many more years to come on training and employing a future-ready workforce.”

“Oregon is the location of choice for businesses leading clean technology innovation in the U.S.,” said Business Oregon Director Sophorn Cheang. “Our partnership with local and regional economic development leaders to support DTNA’s investment adds to the region’s competitiveness and will provide opportunities for our skilled workforce in manufacturing and engineering for years to come.”

Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio said, “I am thrilled by DTNA’s decision to invest significant resources and continue to lead heavy-duty vehicle technology right here in Portland. I want to acknowledge and thank Gov. Kotek for her commitment to this effort and to building the clean economy. I also want to recognize the Prosper Portland Board, Kimberly Branam, and the outstanding team at Prosper Portland that has worked closely with DTNA for many years. Portland is where Freightliner was founded more than 80 years ago, DTNA is an anchor employer in our city, and today’s announcement is a proud moment for all involved. The future of heavy-duty vehicle technology in Portland is very bright and very green.”      

DTNA's history in Portland dates back to the founding of the Freightliner brand in the city in 1942. When Freightliner was acquired by the former Daimler AG in 1981, the manufacturer established its North American headquarters for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in Portland. Since then, DTNA has based all research and development activities for North America in the region. Also located on Swan Island is the Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant, which has been in continuous operation since 1969 and today produces the battery-electric Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 as well as the Western Star X-Series. DTNA employs over 3,000 people in the Portland region.

Remanufacturing Plant

Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing LLC (Detroit Reman), a brand of Daimler Truck North America, celebrated the grand opening of its plant expansion in Hibbing, Minnesota, increasing its manufacturing and remanufacturing footprint by twice its size. This marks a significant milestone in the company's mission towards innovation and sustainability for battery electric vehicles (BEV).

The expansion allows Detroit Reman to expand its focus to BEV-specific remanufactured parts, including a dedicated space for high-voltage manufacturing components such as batteries and inverters. The facility supports the increasing demand for electric vehicle components, which is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

"We are excited to unveil our expanded facility in Hibbing, which underscores our commitment to innovation and growth in the electric vehicle sector," said Drew Backeberg, senior vice president of aftermarket at DTNA. "This expansion not only enhances our capacity and efficiency but also positions us to meet the growing demand for electric vehicle components driving us towards a more sustainable future."

The new space will focus on the repairing, remanufacturing, and repurposing of commercial batteries. The facility expansion, which will add 11 new production lines by the end of 2024, underscores DTNA's commitment to supporting the ever-evolving needs of BEV customers.

“Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation is proud to support this expansion project with a $10 million business loan and a $500,000 infrastructure grant to the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority. Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing is a vital part of the Iron Range economy,” said Commissioner Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. “It provides hundreds of jobs to local people and increases the region’s tax revenue. The remanufactured batteries and components will be utilized in heavy haul trucks throughout the nation to support the transportation and commercial vehicle industry. The expansion emphasizes the impact that northeastern Minnesota has on the entire nation and we are proud to play a role in the electrification and growth of this industry.” 

The facility expansion will be located on the Range Regional Airport property. A long-term lease agreement highlights the business investment goals for the Hibbing community, supported by collaboration with local agencies, including the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, whose mission is to promote and invest in business, community, and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.

With a total of 120,000 sq. ft., including 12,000 sq. ft. dedicated to BEVs, DTNA's strategic investment reflects the growing demand for electric vehicle components in the marketplace. With a 33% increase in warehouse and storage space, the expanded facility increases efficiency and storage capacity, enabling smoother operations and faster turnaround times.

Bangston Role Expansion

Daimler Truck North America announced the expanded role of Kevin Bangston as president and CEO of Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) in addition to his current role as president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses (TBB), effective May 3, 2024. Bangston succeeds Jeff Sather, who will be retiring after 23 years of dedicated service at DTNA.

With over 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, Bangston is well-equipped to lead FCCC into its next era of business. Bangston started his DTNA career in 2001 working in corporate finance. His success in various roles led to international leadership positions in Germany, Southeast Asia, and Japan. He returned in 2019 as the general manager of Distribution Network Development and has been serving in his current role at TBB since June 2021. Under his leadership at TBB, Bangston has demonstrated exceptional adaptability and has helped fuel Thomas Built’s growth in the electric vehicle market, having recently announced the delivery of its 1,000th all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus.

Both FCCC and TBB teams will report to Bangston under this new structure where he is responsible for strategic vision, overseeing operations, and driving growth across key business areas of DTNA's Specialty Vehicles division, which includes recreational vehicles, walk-in vans, and delivery vehicles, as well as commercial, shuttle and school buses.

“Building a legacy of innovation requires a commitment to shared organizational goals,” stated Jeff Allen, senior vice president of operations and specialty vehicles of DTNA. “Kevin’s extensive experience in the industry, both within DTNA and outside, will enable him to leverage the strengths of the two companies to further promote innovation and growth while keeping the customer at the center of focus.”

“Combining FCCC’s and TBB’s leadership presents an opportunity for these exceptionally strong businesses to capitalize on synergies,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of DTNA. “Kevin is an impactful leader, and we look forward to the role he will play in elevating both companies and driving our vision of leading in sustainable transportation.”

Bangston earned a master's degree in international business from the Moore School at the University of South Carolina. 

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