Auto Industry Goes On U.S. Hiring Binge
German automakers are going on a U.S. hiring binge this year.
Daimler Trucks North America, the U.S. truck division of Mercedes-Benz, said it will hire 1,100 workers this year as it adds a second shift and ramps up production at its Freightliner truck factory in Cleveland, N.C. BMW said it will hire 300 workers this year at the Spartanburg, S.C., factory where it builds sport utility vehicles and invest $900 million in the plant by 2014.
The automaker is expanding production at the factory to meet global demand for its X series of SUVs, said Frank-Peter Arndt, BMW’s production chief.
Last year, the plant built almost 280,000 vehicles for 130 markets around the world. This will increase its capacity to 350,000 vehicles.
Daimler said most of its positions will be filled with recalled workers who were laid off in 2009.
The hiring is a response to increased sales that have created a six-month back-order list for the Freightliner Cascadia model. The move will nearly double the daily production of the factory by the fall.
Additionally, Daimler will hire 100 employees at its nearby Components and Logistics Plant in Gastonia, N.C., to support the expansion.
The hiring plans by the German automakers follow similar announcements by domestic manufacturers.
Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this week that the automaker would add about 5,500 jobs this year, largely at factories in Wayne, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; and Chicago.
The move fulfills almost half of the commitment Ford made to the United Auto Workers in last year’s contract agreement to add 12,000 jobs at U.S. plants by 2015.
Also, Chrysler Group said it would add 1,250 jobs to factories in Detroit.
The automaker plans to create 1,100 new jobs at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, where it is expanding the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup to include a diesel version to be sold in the U.S. market.
It also is creating 150 jobs by reopening its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, where it will make the SRT Viper sports car.
Automotive manufacturing employment grew 4% to 590,000 last year, according to the Center for Automotive Research.
[For the record, 2:08 p.m. Jan. 12: An earlier version of this post said BMW plans to hire workers at and invest money in a factory in Spartanburg, N.C. Actually, the factory is in Spartanburg, S.C.]