U.S. Sprinter plant decision expected in next year

Stuttgart. DaimlerChrysler will decide in the next 12 months whether to resume construction of a commercial vehicle plant in the United States.

DaimlerChrysler halted construction plans for the plant in Georgia, which was to build the Sprinter van, shortly before the foundation stone was laid last year. Sales of the Sprinter, sold under the Dodge and Freightliner brands, have been growing in North America.

DaimlerChrysler also plans an assault on the Chinese market with its commercial vehicles, according to DCX commercial vehicles chief Eckhard Cordes, who soon will become head of the Mercedes-Benz car division.

DaimlerChrysler will start heavy-truck production in China with joint venture partner Beiqi Foton by the end of 2005. Starting in 2006 it will be manufacturing the Vito, Viano and Sprinter commercial vans.

DaimlerChrysler is investing around 200 million euros in the van project and in the medium-term other Southeast Asian markets including South Korea will be supplied with trucks and commercial vans from China. Exports to Russia are being considered.

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