Hot on the heels of last week’s confirmation of Mercedes-Benz’s V-Class-based Metris mid-size van for the U.S. market, the German automaker has now announced that the next generation of its full-size Sprinter van will be built at a new plant located in Charleston, South Carolina. The current Sprinter is built at another plant located in South Carolina.
The new plant is expected to provide greater capacity for the Sprinter, which at present holds close to nine percent of the country's large van market (that’s roughly 26,000 sales). The German automaker is predicting that demand for large vans will grow rapidly over the next five years.
In meeting extra demand for its Sprinter at present, Mercedes is forced to import additional vans from a plant in Germany. However, these face high import duties and a complex disassembly process to get them ready for local sale, so the new plant will solve this issue. Another benefit of increased capacity here will be quicker delivery times for all customers.
Construction on the new plant will commence in 2016. Mercedes is investing around $500 million in the project and is expected to create roughly 1,300 permanent jobs.
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First introduced in 1995, the Sprinter has been a huge success for Mercedes pretty much since launch. More than 2.8 million Sprinters have been delivered to customers in around 130 countries since then, making it one of the most popular large vans in the world. In addition to the U.S. and Germany, Sprinters are also built in Argentina, Brazil, China and Iran.