Mercedes-Benz Vans, a division of Daimler, announced plans to invest around half a billion dollars to establish a new, full van manufacturing plant in Charleston County. The new production plant in North Charleston, S.C. 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.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the world's leading large van, and more than 2.8 million Sprinters have been delivered to customers in around 130 countries worldwide. In 2014, the company delivered approximately 26,000 Sprinters to U.S. customers, making the United States the company's second-largest sales market behind Germany. The Sprinter has been available in the U.S. since 2001, and today holds approximately nine percent of the country's large van market. The company has operated its current van assembly operation in Charleston County since 2006.
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 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. 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." -Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Volker Mornhinweg
"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." -Gov. 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
"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
"Congratulations to Daimler Vans on the establishment of their first Sprinter manufacturing plant in NAFTA territory. Daimler Vans enjoys a sterling, industry-leading reputation for excellence in automotive engineering, and we have been privileged to be partners with this world-class company for over a decade. This historic announcement is the product of many years of diligent planning, and it is an economic game-changer not only our tri-county area, but for communities across many miles in every direction. We are elated that Charleston County was chosen as the optimum NAFTA location for full production, and we will continue to partner with Daimler Vans in every way possible to ensure that this new facility can achieve great success and expand well into the future." -Charleston County Council Chairman J. Elliott Summey
"North Charleston stands ready to support Daimler's renewed investment within our community, and we enthusiastically offer congratulations to the entire company and its workers. In North Charleston, we are fortunate to boast a strong economy and an environment that is ripe for businesses to flourish. Yet, today's announcement from Daimler is truly transformative to our business landscape, validating North Charleston as an automotive manufacturing hub. On behalf of city council and all citizens of North Charleston, we thank Daimler for its confidence in our highly-skilled workforce and our community." -City of North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey
FIVE FAST FACTS
· Mercedes-Benz Vans, a division of Daimler, will establish a new, full van manufacturing operation in North Charleston.
· $500 million investment and 1,300 new jobs.
· The Sprinter is the world's leading large van, and the U.S. represents its second-largest sales market.
· The company has operated its current van assembly operation in Charleston County since 2006.
· Construction on the new plant expected to begin in 2016.
About Mercedes-Benz Vans
Mercedes-Benz Vans is a full-range supplier in the van market. Besides the Sprinter and Metris, the division's global portfolio consists of the Mercedes-Benz Citan city van. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz Vans also introduced the new V-Class, which is a new multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). The Viano continues to be manufactured in China for private customers. Mercedes-Benz Vans has manufacturing facilities at a total of nine locations in Germany, Spain, the United States and Argentina, as well as in China within the framework of the Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. joint venture, and in France in the context of the strategic alliance with Renault-Nissan. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Classic is produced under license by the division's partner GAZ in Russia. The most important markets for vans at the moment are in Western Europe, which accounts for 65 percent of unit sales. As part of the "Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global" business strategy, the division is also increasingly developing the growth markets of South America and Asia, as well as the Russian van market, through appropriate distribution and production activities in those regions.Further information about Mercedes-Benz is available online: www.media.daimler.com and www.mercedes-benz.com.
About S.C. Department of Commerce
As South Carolina's leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as Boeing, Bridgestone, Continental, Monster.com, ZF Group, BMW and Google Inc. and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. Commerce partners with the S.C Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. Consistently, South Carolina has ranked as one of the top states in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment, according to IBM-Plant Location International reports. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.