Mercedes-Benz Vans, a division of Daimler, plans to invest around half a billion dollars to establish a new, full van manufacturing plant in Charleston County, South Carolina. The new production plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, will supply the North American market with the next-generation Sprinter, creating 1,300 new jobs over the next several years.
On approximately 200 acres off of Palmetto Commerce Parkway, Mercedes-Benz Vans 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 considered strategically essential for Mercedes-Benz Vans as the large van segment is expected to grow rapidly in North America over the next few years. The new plant and the vehicles ‘Made in the USA’ will enable Mercedes-Benz Vans 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,” said Vans Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz.
“Charleston is an excellent location for our new plant. 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 harbor. Just as important is the very good cooperation and support we’ve experienced at the local, municipal, and state levels. I would particularly like to thank Governor Haley and the many other people who’ve given this project their fullest support from the very start and thus helped make this decision possible, he added.
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 this year.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits and a $14 million Closing Fund grant to assist with the cost of real property improvements related to the project.
“Today’s announcement builds on a decade of success for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz in the South Carolina Lowcountry, and we couldn’t be happier to be the home of their first full manufacturing facility for vans in North America. Mercedes-Benz is not only a world-class brand - they are also a great corporate citizen and partner for our state and for the Charleston community. Its decision to bring South Carolina-made vans to the North American market is huge, and the 1,300 new jobs this plant will create is a big boost to the region,” said Governor Nikki Haley.
“The Lowcountry’s automotive industry is revving up with today’s announcement, which alone will grow automotive-related jobs in the tri-counties by about 20 percent. The fact that Daimler and Mercedes-Benz are expanding into the full production of vans in our state speaks volumes about the quality of our workforce and our strong, pro-business environment. We welcome Daimler’s expanded presence in Charleston County,” Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt noted.
“SC Ports Authority has a strong partnership with Daimler, and we are excited about the positive economic impact their expansion will bring to our community. Growth of South Carolina’s automotive cluster provides significant volume opportunities for the port and boosts the overall economic position of our state. We look forward to continuing to serve Daimler’s growing import-export needs through our Charleston facilities. ” SC Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome added.