DCX To Build Dodge Sprinter in South Carolina

Posted on November 28, 2005

DaimlerChrysler announced that the next generation of its Dodge Sprinter van will be built at the Ladson, S.C., site belonging to its Freightliner LLC subsidiary. DaimlerChrysler will invest $35 million to convert the plant to van production for North American markets. Initially, 220 employees will be engaged in the production process when the plant produces its first van, which is scheduled to be by the end of the fourth quarter of 2006. Further jobs could be created, the company said, depending on sales volume.

The Sprinter has been sold in the U.S., under the Freightliner and Dodge brands, since 2001. Andreas Renschler, a DaimlerChrysler board member and head of the Commercial Vehicles Division, said strong demand for the current van put pressure on the capacity of the Gaffney, S.C., assembly facility where final assembly of the vehicles has been ongoing for the past three years. Gaffney also houses a DaimlerChrysler diesel heavy-duty chassis assembly facility operated by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. Freightliner Custom Chassis will redeploy the approximately 70 employees presently engaged in the reassembly of the Dodge and Freightliner Sprinter product at Gaffney, into other activities at that location.

The Ladson location will provide an immediate increase in annual output to 32,000 units, the company said, roughly 10,000 more than is possible today in Gaffney. The 460,000 sq.ft assembly plant at Ladson is also the headquarters and main assembly operation for American La France fire and emergency vehicle manufacturing, a business which Freightliner plans to divest.