On Wednesday, Mercedes-Benz will host a celebration as it opens a new portion of its Sprinter van plant in North Charleston.
The ceremony marks the beginning of production for the company’s next-generation Sprinter van. The vehicle will be the first of its kind ever produced end-to-end in the United States.
Mercedes-Benz broke ground on the plant expansion in 2016. The project represents a $500 million investment that is expected to create as many as 1,300 jobs over the next 10 years.
“In the past we have been a reassembly here in North Charleston,” said Michael Balke, President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, in a November interview. “That means we have reassembled vehicles that have already been pre-assembled in Germany. We don’t do that in the future anymore. We will build them here from scratch.”
According to Mercedes-Benz, the U.S. is one of the fastest growing van markets in the world. America is now the company’s second-largest Sprinter market.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled its third-generation Sprinter in Germany earlier this year. Among the new features are comprehensive internet-based services that allow fleet managers to track vehicle locations, fuel levels and maintenance intervals almost in real time. There are more than 1,700 potential Sprinter configurations worldwide.