Those interested in using the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van as the platform for large numbers of van conversions or Class B motorhomes should not hold their breath waiting for DaimlerChrylser AG to build a Sprinter van assembly plant in the U.S.
Although Automotive News reportd that DaimlerChrysler may build a $750 million Sprinter assembly plant near Savannah, Ga., it was not quite a year ago that the German-American auto giant canceled plans for a Sprinter plant in Geotgia. The company cited a weak economic outlook for the U.S. and European markets along with internal financial concerns.
But the Automotive News reports there now are DaimlerChrysler executives, who were not named, who believe the company should go ahead with plans to build the diesel engine-powered Sprinter in the U.S. because of its potential popularity and the weakness of the U.S. dollar versus the Euro.
Currently, DaimlerChrylser partially completes the assembly of Sprinter units in Dusseldorf, Germany, and ships them as kits to its Freightliner plant in Gaffney, S.C., where final assembly is completed.
There were 11,000 Sprinter vans sold in the U.S. last year and this year’s projected sales is 17,000 units, Automotive News reported.
Sprinter vans are sold through Dodge and Freightliner truck dealers.
An unnamed Automotive News source in Germany said a decision could be made this fall on whether to build the Sprinter plant near Savannah. If DaimlerChrysler decides to build it, production could begin in 2007, the trade journal reported.
However, an unnamed DaimlerChrysler source in the U.S. also told the Automotive News, “There’s nothing happening. Last year, they sold about 11,000 (Sprinters) in the U.S. They can almost double that before we have a shortage of capacity, and we also have some capacity in Brazil. For the time being, there is no movement.”