D/C may build LCV plant in USA

Stuttgart. The Sprinter is proving to be such a success in the US that a factory may be built there to produce the model.

Sales have risen dramatically since the model's US introduction in 2001. That year 2,200 units were sold. Last year 11,000 units were sold in the US as Dodge Transporters. Sales in 2002 were 3,800, Rolf Bartke, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans told Automobilwoche.

Bartke forecasts sales of 17,000 units in 2004, well above the original target of 15,000 units.

Now executives in DaimlerChrysler executives in Moehringen are discussing the possibility again of building a factory in the US. A decision is expected in the fall. If it is positive, production would begin in 2007.

Last summer a planned Transporter factory in Savannah, Georgia, fell victim to cost cuts.

Production in the US would make good business sense, say insiders at Mercedes-Benz Vans in Stuttgart.

To avoid US import charges Sprinters are currently part-built in Duesseldorf. The partially built vehicles are shipped to Gaffney, South Carolina, and assembled there.

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