With President Barack Obama in attendance, Daimler Trucks announced it will become the first commercial vehicle manufacturer in the NAFTA region to offer a fully integrated powertrain from its own production following an expansion at its Redford, MI, plant.

Daimler said it will add 115 jobs at the facility and spend $120 million on expansion to make production of its new Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission and the new asymmetric turbocharger for the Detroit DD15 engine possible.

“A fully integrated powertrain from a single source is a decisive competitive advantage,” said Martin Daum, president & CEO of Daimler Trucks North America. “That is why we decided in favor of the Redford location, where our employees work hand-in-hand in one location.  With this we are placing great confidence in the workforce here.”

Obama visited the plant to highlight American investment in industry, in particular Michigan, which was so hard hit by the Great Recession. During the speech, which also touched on the approaching Fiscal Cliff and tax policies, Obama repeatedly mentioned the American worker.

“I placed my bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  I’d make that same bet any day of the week,” Obama said. “Three and a half years later, that bet is paying off.  This industry has added over a quarter of a million new jobs.  Assembly lines are humming again.  The American auto industry is back. 

“And companies like Daimler know you’re still a smart bet,” Obama added. “They could have made their investment somewhere else, but they didn’t.  And if you ask them whether it was a tough call, they’ll tell you it wasn’t even close.  So the word is going out all around the world:  If you want to find the best workers in the world, if you want to find the best factories in the world, if you want to build the best cars or trucks or any other product in the world, you should invest in the United States of America.  This is the place to be.”

Daimler’s push to offer a fully integrated powertrain is part of the company’s overall global strategy, said Andreas Renschler, management board member of Daimler AG.

“We will offer this powertrain portfolio in all our U.S. trucks in the future. This is a prime example of our Global Excellence Strategy,” he said. “We create global platforms for all powertrain components, which can then be adapted to local requirements. Thus, we are as global as possible and as local as necessary.”