US – To be built in Charleston, South Carolina (SC), the new facility will produce next-generation Sprinters for the North American market. A bodyshop, paintshop and assembly line will be constructed on 800,000 sq.m of land, beginning in 2016. Around 1,300 jobs will be created.
“Charleston is an excellent location for our new plant,” said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “The region has very highly skilled workers, a dense network of reliable suppliers and an outstanding logistics infrastructure that includes good transport connections to the nearby harbour.”
Mornhinweg described the facility as key to Mercedes’ growth in the “very dynamic” North American van market. The OEM expects the large van segment there to increase rapidly over the next few years, but currently contends with high import duties and a complex disassembly process of German-made vehicles for sale in the US. The new plant will help Mercedes to meet the growing demand more economically as well as to reduce delivery times.
Mercedes has now delivered more than 2.8m Sprinters to 130 countries, including 26,000 last year to the US, its second-largest market after Germany. The model has been available in the US since 2001 and now claims around 9% of the large-van market. It is offered as both a Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner vehicle, and the two brands will roll off the forthcoming production at Charleston. Metris medium-sized vans will be added to the US product range in autumn this year.