Pack up the vans -- the Sprinter is moving.
Last week DaimlerChrysler said that it will move assembly of the Sprinter van about 350 miles from Gaffney, S.C., to a Freightliner plant in Ladson, S.C. The switch will be made late next year, coinciding with the arrival of a redesigned Sprinter.
DaimlerChrysler will spend $35 million to convert the Ladson plant. The van is built from kits shipped from Germany. At startup, the plant will use 220 employees and have annual capacity of 32,000 units -- roughly 10,000 units more than the Gaffney plant could build.
DaimlerChrysler said it also plans to expand the Ladson plant, adding a body shop and paint shop, if Sprinter demand keeps growing. The automaker said it has sold 22,800 Sprinters in North America this year through October.
To make room for the Sprinter, which is sold under the Dodge and Freightliner brands, the automaker plans to sell the American La France unit that uses the Ladson plant to build fire trucks and emergency vehicles.