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One of the few definite successes of the DaimlerChrysler marriage is also one of the most low-key. In the early part of this decade, DCX decided to retire the long-in-the-tooth Dodge B-Vans and replace them with a Dodge-branded variant of the Mercedes Sprinter van from Germany. The Sprinter was already being sold in the U.S., assembled at a U.S. plant from kits shipped from Germany and sold under the Freightliner label. The addition of the Dodge version has increased sales to the point where a new plant is needed.

The new plant in Charleston, SC has a capacity of 32,000 units a year. Both gas and diesel engines are available, as well as a stability control system that senses the vehicle load. The tall German-designed van has been popular with commercial users, particularly package delivery services. While traditional American vans have always come in multiple lengths, the Sprinter also offers three different roof heights, allowing for easy stand-up room inside.

[Source: DaimlerChrysler]
DaimlerChrysler Opens Sprinter Assembly Plant in Charleston, S.C.

* Inauguration with Governor Mark Sanford
* Offered under Dodge and Freightliner brands, U.S. now second-largest market for Sprinter
* All-new 2007 Sprinter is longer, wider and taller, and features the segment's most best-in-class advantages
* More than 25 advanced safety and security features, including all-new ADAPTIVE ESP®
* New Sprinter arrives in Spring

Charleston, S.C., Mar 27, 2007 - The DaimlerChrysler plant in Ladson, South Carolina, just outside Charleston, today officially kicks off production of the Sprinter for the U.S. market under the Dodge and Freightliner brands. The plant was inaugurated in the presence of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. The benchmark in its class, the Sprinter has been assembled and sold in the U.S. since 2001 and has captured a firm commercial customer base of knowledgeable business owners, fleet mangers and van buyers looking for even more from their work vehicle.

The former plant in Gaffney, annual capacity around 22,000 units, no longer could cope with the growing sales. A production capacity of 32,000 units now is available at the new plant on the U.S. east coast where 180 employees are working to reassemble the Sprinter on a 42,780-square-meter (460,000 sq. ft.) site. $35 million was invested in the plant.

"The Dodge Sprinter and Freightliner Sprinter set standards in their sector for safety, variability and environmental protection. We are proud to be able to offer our latest product in the van segment also on the American market so soon after its presentation. I thank all colleagues who made the opening of this plant possible today through their personal effort and commitment," said Wilfried Porth, Head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Unit of DaimlerChrysler AG on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony.

North America's top-performing van, Sprinters for the U.S. and Canada are offered in three vehicle lengths on two new wheelbases. With a line-up of cargo vans, passenger vans and chassis cab models, it also boasts three roof heights – the most among full-size vans. Powered by two all-new V-6 engines, a 3.0-liter diesel or 3.5-liter gas engine, standard equipment includes ADAPTIVE ESP. Taking electronic stability programs to the next level, ADAPTIVE ESP features additional sensors that now take into consideration vehicle payload further reducing the risk of vehicle skidding and loss of control.

The all-new Sprinter goes on sale this spring.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      @6.. don't be so surprised. In Europe, Mercedes is known for being taxi cabs and box vans and other ugly things plus almost a minor sideline of luxury cars. They simply pursued a pure luxury branding in the US but it's just them trying to pretend that's all they make. They do make box vans and dull as dishwater taxi cabs and completely boring low end cars like many other manus. But they hope you don't know it.

      BMW is another brand that tries to pretend they don't make anything like the 1 series. I think delusion runs deep in Germany.

      To Ford's credit, they have been using the Volvo brand on big rigs and construction equipment and making no attempt to hide any of that from the passenger car market. Volvo is one brand not ashamed of what they make.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Are yall talking about Dodge's version of the GMC Safari van? Yall did said it's sad to see it go?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Now, what happens to the plant and the van after Chrysler is sold?
      • 8 Years Ago
      DaimlerChrysler Expands Concept Plug-in Hybrid Program
      Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Lithium-ion battery can drive up to 20 miles on electric-only power. It accomplishes this with a switch on the dashboard giving the operator the ability to manually switch between modes as needed, or automatically by the vehicle control system.

      UPS Hybrid Electric Vehicle Seen By President Bush at White House
      hydraulic hybrid technology (HHV)
      In laboratory tests, the HHV achieved a 60 to 70 percent improvement in fuel economy and a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
      • 8 Years Ago
      @7 Don't you mean the delusion runs deep in america since you guys mostly don't know about these 'lesser' products?

      And by the way, Volvo trucks and Volvo cars are not the same company any more.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #7. Ford only owns Volvo Cars. It doesn't own Volvo's truck, construction equipment, etc. businesses.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #8- One interesting thing is how the wizards at the EPA managed a 60-70% reduction in fuel consumption, but only a 40% reduction of CO2 emission. This is particularly interesting when you look at how the EPA dictates fuel economy is to be calculated. It is a simple function of the CO2 emissions over a prescribed drive cycle. In other words, EPA fuel economy is a direct function of CO2 emissions. The two figures should always correlate. If they do not, someone is lying to you.
      • 8 Years Ago
      While I think this van is defiantely a little uglier than the last, NOBODY who buys this cares, since the rest of the van more than makes up for it. If you've driven one, you know that no domestic molester can compare with it in terms of comfort, ride quality, build quality, and fuel economy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I, for one, like vans, and it's sad to see the Dodge go. However, as #1 said, it's probably just as well due to the tiny market outside of commercial customers.

      For what it's worth, there's this:

      • 8 Years Ago
      Kudos to DCX for bringing this vehicle along. It is a fantastic commercial vehicle. A vehicle like this should have made it here a long time ago.

      However, it's just too fugly for the consumer market, I'm surprised they dumped their regular van completely.

      Although in this minivan/SUV era, the market for the traditional child molester-type full-size consumer van is probably pretty small.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow that is one painfully ugly vehicle.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Did you guys see the new Ford Transit? It is really neat looking, IMO, I think that they are by far much cooler looking than the Sprinter.

      Here is a link:



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