Daimler to make vans in North America, invest in German plants
FRANKFURT Oct 21 (Reuters) - Daimler said on Tuesday it will broaden its production footprint for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans by moving some manufacturing to North America and by investing 450 million euros ($572 million) to modernise its German plants.
Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest 300 million euros to expand its Duesseldorf plant to modernise the body shop, the paint shop and the assembly line as well as pursuing an international production strategy.
Volker Mornhinweg head of Mercedes-Benz vans said, "We can cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically only if we produce the vehicles locally in the NAFTA region. That's why we have decided to produce the next generation of the Sprinter in North America."
Mercedes-Benz Vans will make the new Sprinter at one of its plants in countries belonging to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which includes Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The exact location for future production has yet to be determined, the company said.
Currently most Sprinters destined for the U.S. market have been produced in kit form at plants in Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, and then shipped to be reassembled in Charleston, South Carolina.
The United States is now the Sprinter's second-largest sales market after Germany. About 23,000 Sprinter vans were delivered to U.S. customers in 2013.
($1 = 0.7860 euro) (Reporting by Edward Taylor, editing by David Evans)
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