Charleston, South Carolina – Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest $500 million to build a new van plant in the United States. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the facility will supply the North American market with the next-generation Sprinter and employ about 1,300 people.
The plant's location was officially announced today in Charleston by Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, and by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. With the new plant, Mercedes-Benz Vans will become one of the biggest industrial employers in the region. Within the total area of more than 200 acres (more than 800,000 m²), the division will create a completely new body shop, a paint shop, and an assembly line. Construction of the new factory is scheduled to begin in 2016.
The new Sprinter plant in the United States is essential for Mercedes-Benz Vans, as the large van segment is expected to grow rapidly in North America over the next few years. The United States is one of the most dynamic van markets in the world. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz Vans currently faces high U.S. import duties and a complex disassembly process of Sprinters made in Germany for sale in the U.S.
The new plant and the vehicles 'Made in USA' will enable the company to more economically meet the growing demand from North American customers in the future and to considerably reduce delivery time on this market.
"Today is a very important day for Mercedes-Benz Vans and certainly also a very significant day for the Charleston area. We are investing around half a billion dollars to create a top-notch Mercedes-Benz van plant here in South Carolina. This plant is key to our future growth in the very dynamic North American van market," says Mornhinweg.
Introduced in 1995, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been a success story in the van business for 20 years. More than 2.8 million Sprinters have been delivered to customers in around 130 countries worldwide.
Mornhinweg adds, "The Sprinter founded the large van segment and has always set the standards for safety, efficiency and quality in its vehicle class. We are market leader in many regions worldwide, and also here in the United States many van customers are enthusiastic about this vehicle concept. In 2014 alone, we delivered around 26,000 Sprinters to U.S. customers, making the U.S. our second-largest sales market after Germany."
Mercedes-Benz Vans pursues a dual-brand strategy in the U.S., where it offers the Sprinter as both a Mercedes-Benz and a Freightliner-branded vehicle. Sprinters of both brands will also roll off the assembly line at the future plant in Charleston. Besides the Sprinter, the Mercedes-Benz Vans division will also add the Metris series of medium-sized vans to its product range in the U.S. beginning in fall 2015.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Vans