Mercedes-Benz Breaks Ground on new Van Factory in South Carolina

The United States is one of the fastest growing van markets in the world. It has become the second-largest single market for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, exceeded only by Germany. In 2015, Mercedes-Benz Vans delivered about 28,600 units to customers in the USA – eleven percent more than in the previous year, when 25,800 units were sold in the U.S. The Sprinter vans for the US market have always been produced at German plants. However, because of high import tariffs, they have been partially dismantled in a time-consuming process, and reassembled at a plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.


DSC01215Since 2006, Mercedes-Benz Vans has performed this so-called semi-knocked-down (SKD) assembly in North Charleston for imported Sprinter large-size vans and since 2015 also for imported Metris mid-size vans. This process results in a significant competitive disadvantage on the US market for Mercedes-Benz Vans. Now Mercedes has decided to build a new plant adjacent to the existing reassembly factory. This will enable the company to more economically meet the growing demand, and to considerably reduce delivery time to this market.

“Our new Sprinter plant is a big leap into the future of production at Mercedes-Benz Vans,” says Frank Klein, Head of Operations Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We are combining all of our global expertise and experience in this plant. In doing so, we make it one of the most advanced facilities in North America. The plant will meet the highest standards in quality, based on our globally standardized production system — from the first vehicle that rolls off the assembly line.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans will implement its most innovative production technologies and concepts in the new plant. Focusing on connectivity like digital communications on the shop floor, it will be most agile and adaptive to respond fast to market changes and customer needs. The workforce will undergo comprehensive technical trainings to ensure a smooth and successful production ramp-up.

DSC01109“Construction and all necessary preparations are right on schedule,” assures Michael Balke, the new CEO of Mercedes Vans, LLC. “We have already begun to recruit and train a core team of employees in administration. We have also hired the first technical specialists. Applications of production job candidates will be accepted beginning mid-2017.”

The current production area and administration building of the assembly plant in North Charleston cover 409,000 square feet. The new facility will additionally cover around 1.1 million square feet plus a 2.8 million square foot marshalling yard for finished vehicles. About 1,300 people will be employed in the new factory, plus about 400 supplier jobs. This is in addition to the several hundred employees at the existing plant, who will be the leaders for the new factory.

The new factory will make Mercedes-Benz Vans among the biggest industrial employers in the region. The new plant will make a further positive impact on the region’s economy and attract new business, especially among suppliers. For example the upfit integration partners of Mercedes-Benz Vans, Auto Truck Group as well as The Knapheide Manufacturing Company, will establish new production sites in the region, too.

The Sprinter is one of the most successful commercial vehicles of all time and a bestseller in the Daimler product portfolio. Since its market launch in 1995, the division has delivered over three million units of its “world vehicle” to customers. 2015 was the most successful year for the Sprinter in its history. In the year of its 20th birthday, sales rose by four percent to 194,200 vehicles.

Read More

The Truth About Ride-Sharing

June 29, 2016 • BMW, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Uncategorized • Views: 738

Ride-Sharing Becomes More and More Relevant Recently car manufacturers have been buying ride-sharing/ car-sharing companies, for instance, general motor just brought maven and also sidecar. But some new research made by Mercedes-Benz show 71% of Millenials like to own their own vehicles New

Winter is Coming – and Mazda is Ready

February 9, 2016 • Mazda, Uncategorized • Views: 823

There’s no point in keeping secrets – automotive journalism really is the best job in the world. Case in point: the 2016 Mazda Ice Academy. Believe this if you can – the Test Miles crew went to Gunnison, Colorado in the heart of ski country to race around on a groomed course of ice and

Fuel Prices

Average Fuel Economy is up – But Not Really

February 9, 2016 • News, Uncategorized • Views: 438

By Brad Boyer Despite the record low gas prices, the demand for fuel efficient cars remains strong in the early part of 2016. According to the University of Michigan study, the average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in January 2016 was 25.1 mpg—up 0.2 mpg

Volvo XC90

Car And Truck Of The Year Nominees

December 28, 2015 • Uncategorized • Views: 606

Car And Truck Of The Year Nominees The North American International Auto Show in Detroit will be here January 11th and the North American Car and Truck of the year will be announced at the show. One of the biggest surprise finalist is the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Mazda have had both good and bad luck

Ford Explorer

2016 Ford Explorer

September 13, 2015 • Uncategorized • Views: 685

2016 Ford Explorer The Ford Explorer has been around for 25 years, they have made 7 million of them and it is clearly the number one SUV in North America. However there is a brand new one, so we are going to drive across British Columbia. Across Alberta and find our if it is unstoppable. …

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

June 28, 2015 • Uncategorized • Views: 712

Alfa Romeo Giulia This month Alfa Romeo celebrates 105 years as a car company, and part of that celebration is their return to America as a car company. Earlier this week Alfa Romeo unveiled the new Giulia over in Milan. This is the car that Alfa Romeo says they are bringing back to the United


Can OpenBay Help You Save Money

May 11, 2015 • Uncategorized • Views: 535

OpenBay Unfortunately vehicles break down, they need repair and maintenance. It’s the part of owning a car that is one of the least enjoyable parts but there’s an online marketplace that is changing the way you get your auto maintenance done. OpenBay connect have found a way to leverage

TestMiles Radio


July 13, 2014 • Uncategorized • Views: 630

  Test Miles is heard on 101.1FM KXL every Sunday at 10:00 am. If you like to hear more of our show PLEASE subscribe and then go to for all your Automotive news. You can also fallow us on Facebook at or on Twitter

Latest Headline - Car Overheating


July 11, 2014 • News, Uncategorized • Views: 536

Have you noticed that the traffic in Portland is getting REALLY bad? One of the main contributors is broken down vehicles that cause not only delays but accidents as well. The weather is getting HOT…while we would love for you to go out and buy a new car , we’d rather you get home