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DaimlerChrysler AG has canceled plans to build a Sprinter van assembly plant in Georgia because of the weak global economy and soft vehicle sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The automaker had planned to build the Sprinter assembly plant in Pooler, Ga., which is west of Savannah.
There are a handfull of RV manufacturers using the Sprinter van as a Class B motorhome chassis. The components for the van are produced in Germany and shipped as a kit to Daimler’s Freightliner assembly plant in Gaffney, S.C., for final assembly.
Some U.S. RV manufacturers are hoping Daimler eventually will make the Sprinter, which is powered by a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine, available as a cutaway chassis for Class C motorhomes.
Basically, Daimler executives in Germany concluded it would not make sense for the German-American company to invest $754 million in a new plant . That’s because they might need to close factories in light of the $1 billion the Chrysler operation lost during the second quarter as a result of the tepid market in North America, the Journal reports.
Sales of Mercedes luxury cars also have slumped because its quality have slipped, the Journal said. In a recent J.D. Power consumer survey, Mercedes scored just above the auto industry average but below Chrysler brand cars.
Daimler markets the Sprinter in Europe under the Mercedes nameplate, but in the U.S. it carries Freightliner or Dodge tags.