Daimler could recalibrate US expansion on currency swings image

According to the carmaker’s top labor leader, Michael Brecht, Daimler’s production capacity expansion plans in the United States should be actively correlated with the evolution of the euro – dollar currency.

Back in October 2014 the company unveiled plans to shift some of its production capacity for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans from a German plant in Duesseldorf to a new factory in the United States, Mexico or Canada. Brecht said the strategic decisions taken last year, based on a dollar euro exchange rate of $1.35, should be reconsidered now – with the weakening euro making European factories more competitive than just a few months ago. Now the dollar euro exchange rate has reached about $1.13. “If the situation stays like this over a longer period, then the question is: “Do I go in now, or can I do it later,” commented Brecht at a roundtable discussion in Stuttgart.

Currently, the United States is the second biggest market for the Sprinter commercial vehicle, after Germany and the units bound for the US market are being produced in kit form at German factories in Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde – then shipped and reassembled in Charleston, South Carolina. Brecht added that besides the Sprinter project, others that have been discussed but are yet to be fully implemented would also be modified – though he declined to be specific about what projects they plan to amend. Daimler said last year it planned to take numerous expansion steps: it would construct a factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico and also produce four-cylinder engines for Mercedes cars at a Nissan site in Tennessee, US. Back in June 2014 it also began the local production of the latest generation of the C-Class at its own plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Via Automotive News Europe