Sprinter assembly plant opens

The DaimlerChrysler plant in Ladson SC, just outside Charleston, has officially kicked off production of the Sprinter for the United States market under the Dodge and Freightliner brands. The Sprinter has been assembled and sold in the United States since 2001.

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 US East Coast, where 180 employees are working to reassemble the Sprinter on a 460,000-square-foot site. A total of $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 through their personal effort and commitment,” said Wilfried Porth, head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Unit of DaimlerChrysler AG at the inauguration ceremony.

North America's top-performing van, Sprinters for the United States and Canada are offered in three vehicle lengths on two new wheelbases. With a line of cargo vans, passenger vans, and chassis cab models, it also has three roof heights — the most among full-size vans. Powered by two 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 new Sprinter is on sale effective in spring 2007.

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