Daimler Chooses Charleston For New Facility
German automaker Daimler AG will pump $500 million into a new state-of-the-art assembly plant near Charleston, South Carolina, that will produce its high-end Sprinter vans. Exact details of the planned facility weren’t disclosed, but construction is expected to begin in mid-2016.
“This plant is key to our future growth in the very dynamic North American van market,” says Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, adding the new facility will “allow the company to meet growing demand at a lower cost as well as reduce delivery time.”
Since 2010, most Sprinter vans destined for the U.S. market have been produced in kit forms at the Daimler plants in Dusseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, then shipped to South Carolina for assembly—a practice that’s become “inefficient due to the Sprinter’s growing popularity in North America,” says Mohrinweg.
“This is certainly big news by anyone’s standards in terms of the expansion of Daimler Chrysler resulting in 1,200 new jobs, but moreover, this indicates that South Carolina is rapidly becoming a leader in the automotive manufacturing industry,” said State Rep. Chip Limehouse.
Quoted in the Charleston Regional Business Journal, Limehouse said the expansion “is likely going to attract other car manufacturers to the region and create an automotive cluster in the [South Carolina] Low Country, which could result in a ‘10x factor’ for job creation, similar to BMW in the Upstate.”
The announcement by Daimler, Limehouse added, is transforming South Carolina into “a high-tech automotive and aeronautics manufacturing state,” with the attraction for investment “fueled by the state’s pro-business government and low union rates, as well as Charleston’s quality of life and the Port of Charleston.”
Announcement of the new Daimler plant is the second major move for the company since the first of the year. In January, the North American arm of Daimler subsidiary, Mercedes Benz, said it would be moving its headquarters south from Montvale, New Jersey, to a suburb of Atlanta in a relocation phased-in over the next three years.
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