An industry-wide decline in truck sales has been blamed for the closing of a Western Star Trucks plant after less than a year of operation.

According to published reports, Western Star's new owner, Freightliner, is planning to close the North Charleston, S.C., Western Star plant by Dec. 11. As many as 138 workers could be unemployed by the end of this month. The plant was closed for several weeks in early August.
"It will be closed down and mothballed until the market picks up and we need the capacity again or when we find a different product to build in that plant," said Freightliner spokeswoman Debi Nicholson.
Skyrocketing fuel prices and driver shortages has slowed demand for big rigs, causing the industry to decline about 25 percent in the past year, Nicholson said.
The plant, first announced in late 1998, was designed to produce up to 20,000 trucks per year and employ 400 people, but it never reached those levels, reported AP.