The brand new expanded Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van plant in North Charleston rolled the first van off the assembly line Wednesday.
Employees and officials did the wave as they prepared to unveil the new 2019 Meecedes Benz Sprinter van.
900 employees will increase to 1300 employees thanks to the new plant. The company estimates that another 6000 indirect jobs will be created due to the $500 million expansion.
Officials announced their first major customer, Amazon. Amazon has agreed to purchase 5,000 of the Sprinter vans. A Vice President of Amazon then walked on stage to announce they have decided to increase that order to 20,000 vans. Mercedes officials said they decided to open the larger plant here because of the people in the area, the training and, “Governor McMaster already mentioned we have the deep sea harbor pretty close. That means for logistics purposes it’s perfect because to some extent we can say we really are in the middle of the harbor and it’s logistics from a logistics perspective it’s really an outstanding opportunity.”
Mercedes officials were asked whether the planned to start building the electric “EV” Sprinters here eventually. They said cost is a major factor for their commercial customers. A Vice President of Amazon said they may be interested in looking at electric options down the road.
Amazon took the keys to the first Sprinter from the plant. The van will travel the country delivering packages to children with cancer before Amazon puts it on permanent display at one of their offices.