By Molly Parker
Published Sept. 2, 2009
Workers at the Daimler Vans Manufacturing facility in Ladson will soon be placing the well-known three-pointed-star Mercedes-Benz logo on its Sprinter vans. The Dodge Sprinter is being discontinued, the company said Tuesday.
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC announced that it is assuming responsibility for the sales, marketing and distribution and service of Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter commercial vehicles in the United States and Canada.
Though Daimler and Chrysler split their union in May 2007, the Sprinter vans produced in the United States still carried the Dodge label. Daimler sold its remaining Chrysler shares this summer when the U.S. automaker filed for bankruptcy.
As part of the deal, the company has created Daimler Vans USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, in Montvale, N.J., where the Mercedes-Benz North American headquarters is located.
“We will continue to do what we do right here with building Sprinter vans. The difference is they will be branded Mercedes-Benz and not Dodge,” said Andreas Maas, president and CEO of Daimler Vans Manufacturing in Ladson.
The local facility also will continue to produce Freightliner-branded Sprinter vans, Maas said. The large cargo vans are built in Germany and pieced together in Ladson.
The company that was then DaimlerChrysler selected North Charleston for its assembly operation in 2005. The German-based company’s plan was to invest $35 million and hire 220 workers initially, with a potential of hiring up to 1,800. The company became Daimler AG in October 2007, after DaimlerChrysler sold off U.S.-based Chrysler Corp. to a New York equity firm.
Maas said he could not discuss current work force numbers at the local plant. He said Mercedes-Benz parts should be arriving this fall.
The European Sprinter van was introduced in North America in 2001 as the Freightliner Sprinter. About 130,000 Sprinter vans have been sold since then in the United States and Canada, the company said.
Reach Molly Parker at 843-849-3144.