Daimler AG (DDAIY) is set to announce it will build Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans at its plant in South Carolina and add 1,200 jobs there as a result, a state politician said on Tuesday.
South Carolina State Representative Chip Limehouse, a Republican from Charleston, said officials in North Charleston, South Carolina, told him the German automaker will announce the plans on Friday. The plant is located in Ladson, near Charleston.
“They’ll be using U.S. parts and assembling the entire vehicle here in North Charleston,” Limehouse told Reuters. “This will be a 100% American-made automobile.”
A Daimler spokeswoman said the company will not comment on speculation. It has scheduled a Friday news conference in the state to make an announcement but has given no other details.
Daimler said last fall it would broaden its production footprint for the vans by moving some manufacturing to North America so it could produce locally to meet demand in the region. Most Sprinter vans destined for the U.S. market at present have been produced in kit forms at plants in Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, and then shipped to be reassembled in South Carolina.
The Sprinter has been assembled and sold in the United States since 2001. The expansion comes at a time when U.S. demand for commercial vehicles is rising as a result of the strong economy. According to data from Wards Auto, sales of the Sprinter in the first two months of 2015 were up 17% on the year.