According to a state politician, Germany’s Daimler AG will soon announce that it has decided to begin production of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van at the South Carolina factory, adding 1,200 jobs for the process.
South Carolina State Representative Chip Limehouse, a Republican from Charleston, claimed that North Charleston, South Carolina officials told him the German carmaker was planning to make the announcement this week on Friday. The German automaker’s assembly facility is in Ladson, near Charleston. “They’ll be using U.S. parts and assembling the entire vehicle here in North Charleston,” commented Limehouse for Reuters. “This will be a 100 percent American-made automobile.” While the automaker has already scheduled a Friday news conference in the state for an undisclosed announcement, the company refrained from commenting on the state representative’s comments. The Sprinter has been sold in the United States under various brand names (including Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner) since 2001, being currently assembled from knocked down kits shipped out of Germany.
Daimler already announced late last year during the fall it was considering to expand its production output for the vans by moving part of the building process to North America – with local production better catering to growing demand in the region. The reassembled Sprinter vans sold on the US market have been produced so far at German factories in Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde. In recent years the European-style vans have taken hold of the US commercial market as well – surpassing in popularity the older body-on-frame offerings due to increased fuel efficiency and body flexibility.