The next-generation Sprinter van will be produced in both Germany and North America Mercedes-Benz Vans, the Stuttgart Germany-based Daimler unit responsible for the OEM’s global commercial-van business, announced yesterday.
“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,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “That's why we have decided to produce the next generation of the Sprinter in North America as well.”
Mercedes-Benz Vans said it will “decide on the exact location for the future production of the new Sprinter in the NAFTA region during the coming months by means of the usual plant selection process.”
The U.S. is now the Sprinter's second-largest sales market after Germany-- some 23,000 Sprinters were delivered to U.S. customers in 2013.
However, the OEM has determined that its current production system for NAFTA-bound Sprinters is inefficient, resulting in excessive delivery times and higher sticker prices for customers.
Mercedes-Benz vans explained that because of high import tariffs, Sprinters destined for the U.S. market have so far been produced at its plants in Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, Germany, then “partly dismantled in a time-consuming process and reassembled at the plant in Charleston, SC.”
The OEM said the result of all that is “a significant competitive disadvantage on the U.S. market for Mercedes-Benz, since it leads to long delivery times, makes the vehicle more expensive for U.S. customers, and is therefore not economical in the long term in view of the expected growth in demand.”
Last month, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced that the next generation of its mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Vito commercial van will be joining the Sprinter in North America in late 2015.