NEWS & UPDATES

Patriarch Partners, LLC Acquires American LaFrance
(12/15/2005)

New Owner Proud to Carry the American LaFrance Flag

Ladson, S.C.  – Patriarch Partners, LLC, an investment firm based in New York and Charlotte, N.C., announced today that it has purchased American LaFrance from DaimlerChrysler’s Freightliner LLC.  
“Patriarch is honored to make its entrance into the fire and emergency apparatus industry carrying the American LaFrance flag,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Patriarch.  “We believe that our acquisition of the businesses and trademarks of American LaFrance affords us a platform with prodigious potential for expansion that already capitalizes upon a highly regarded and recognized player in this important and competitive market.”

With use of Patriarch’s substantial capital and strategic expertise, Tilton said there exists an extraordinary opportunity to enhance the depth and breadth of the business that bears the well-established and respected American LaFrance name, and brings with it an experienced management team.

“Patriarch Partners has a successful track record in complex industries and we felt they are a perfect fit with American LaFrance’s dedicated workforce and can-do attitude,” said Chris Patterson, Freightliner President and CEO.  “Patriarch’s strategy aligns well with American LaFrance’s loyalty and commitment to its customer base and we believe that under Patriarch’s guidance, American LaFrance will grow market share, achieve greater profitability and become a stronger partner to the fire and EMS community.”

Patriarch will maintain American LaFrance’s manufacturing facilities and corporate-owned dealer locations across the U.S.  The Ladson (South Carolina) corporate headquarters building, that is not part of the sale, remains a DaimlerChrysler asset. However, it will continue to be utilized in part by American LaFrance until 2007.  DaimlerChrysler recently announced it will be dedicating the facility to assembly of the next generation Dodge Sprinter van.  “This will in no way have an effect on or impact production or delivery of American LaFrance apparatus,” stated John Stevenson, President of American LaFrance.

Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

“This acquisition is exciting news for everyone involved,” said Stevenson. “As always, we will remain committed to servicing our dealers and customers with a continued emphasis on product innovation, quality manufacturing and market growth.  Patriarch will give us the support we need to grow and at the same time, provide a convenient and efficient way for our customers to do business with us.”

About American LaFrance:
American LaFrance has built fire and rescue apparatus for nearly 175 years.  Today the company manufactures and distributes a comprehensive line of fire and emergency apparatus including chassis, aerials, ambulances, pumpers, rescues, tankers and wildland vehicles.

On the Internet
Visit American LaFrance’s Web Site at http://www.americanlafrance.com for additional American LaFrance news.

About Patriarch Partners:
Patriarch Partners, LLC is an investment fund based in New York and in Charlotte, North Carolina. Patriarch provides portfolio management services to 8 leveraged funds and a private equity fund, which funds own and manage a diverse portfolio of international companies and credit facilities with an aggregate asset value of approximately $5.0 billion including equity ownership positions (majority and minority) in more than 65 companies.

About Freightliner LLC:
Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading medium-and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America.  Freightliner produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

Further information from DaimlerChrysler

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Reference: Ford Recall 05S28
(Speed Control System Modification)

As a result of several engine compartment fires Ford recalled multiple (3.8 million) vehicles under NHTSA/Ford Recall number 05S28 to replace a wiring harness.  The retrofit was to be completed in November of 2005.  All owners/users of these vehicles were to go to their local Ford dealer to register for the recall and have the cruise control circuit wiring disconnected until replacement parts could be installed.

Since that time, the following letter has been issued by Ford Service Engineering Operations Director Frank M. Ligon:

Dear XXXXX

In September 2005, you were mailed a letter announcing Safety Recall 05S28 (Speed Control System Modification). At that time, we anticipated that service parts would be available in November 2005.  However, the availability of service parts has been delayed until February 2006.  We urge you to contact your dealer in February to schedule an appointment to have the new parts installed.  Until these parts are available, you dealer is still authorized to perform a temporary repair, which includes disconecting the speed control system on your vehicle.

September 7,2005

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 7 – Ford Motor Company announced today that it is conducting a voluntary safety recall on 1994-2002 Ford F-150, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Bronco vehicles to correct a systems interaction that could cause the speed control deactivation switch to overheat and lead to an underhood fire. Ford estimates that there are approximately 3.8 million of these vehicles on the road today in the U.S.

The make and model years of affected vehicles include: 1994-2002 Ford F-150s, 1997-2002 Ford Expeditions, 1998-2002 Lincoln Navigators and 1994-1996 Ford Broncos equipped with factory-installed speed control.

Ford has worked closely with NHTSA to investigate this issue. Ford’s investigation found that brake fluid may leak through the speed control deactivation switch into the speed control system electrical components, potentially corroding them. In rare cases, the corrosion in the electrical components can lead to increasing resistance and higher electrical current flow through the system. Together, these conditions could lead to overheating and, possibly, a fire at the switch. This system interaction is the result of the close proximity and orientation of the speed control components in the recalled vehicles.

To address this issue, Ford will install a fused wiring harness between the speed control deactivation switch and the speed control mechanism of the affected vehicles. This will act as a circuit breaker, eliminating the electrical current to the switch in the rare event of increased current flow through the switch.

"Our customers can be confident that this action will prevent a speed control deactivation switch fire," said Ray Nevi, assistant director, Ford Automotive Safety Office. " Our investigation was complex because the root cause turned out to be a system interaction rather than a single component and we had very few confirmed incidents to analyze. Despite this complexity, our solution effectively addresses the cause."

Ford is in the process of acquiring sufficient fused wiring harnesses to repair customers’ vehicles. Until replacement parts are available, customers are instructed to take their vehicles to a Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealership to have the speed control deactivated.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by mail immediately. Owners who have not already had their previously recalled 2000 model-year vehicles repaired should contact their dealers to make arrangements for the repair.

Customers may get further information at www.genuineservice.com or they may contact Ford’s Customer Relationship Center at 1 – 888-222-2751. For a videotape message about the recall, customers may visit www.ford.com under the "Vehicle and Services" heading and then either the "Safety" tab or the "Owners" tab.