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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