DCX Opens New Assembly Plant and Expands PHEV Program

DaimlerChrysler AG has recently opened a new assembly plant located in Ladson, South Carolina. During the inauguration ceremony at the new assembly plant, Wilfried Porth, Head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Unit of DaimlerChrysler AG commented:


“The Dodge Sprinter and Freightliner Sprinter set standards in their sector for safety, variability and environmental protection. We are proud to be able to offer our latest product in the van segment also on the American market so soon after its presentation. I thank all colleagues who made the opening of this plant possible today through their personal effort and commitment.”

Although the new DaimlerChrysler plant will not produce Mercedes-Benz E-Class models like the E 320 with Mercedes 320 part, the new assembly plant in South Carolina will exclusively produce North America’s most popular Sprinter van. DaimlerChrysler invested a total of $35 million in the Ladson plant with an area of 42,780 square meters (460,000 square feet). The company targets 32,000 units of the all-new Sprinter to be produced at the new plant. The all-new 2007 Sprinter will roll out in markets all over the U.S. and Canada starting this spring under the Dodge and Freightliner name plates.

The all-new 2007 Dodge/Freightliner Sprinter is available in three variants including cargo van, passenger van and chassis cab models. Customers can choose between the two all-new power plants for the Sprinter full size van – a 3.0-liter diesel or a 3.5-liter petrol engine. The 2007 Sprinter comes with new standard components like the ADAPTIVE ESP (electronic stability program) featuring additional sensors for further safety.

Meanwhile, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group division has also announced that they are expanding the concept plug-in hybrid program by including the all-new 2007 Dodge Sprinter full size van.

As part of a test-fleet program by Chrysler Group, the Auburn Hills-based automaker will roll out about 20 units of Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) in the US. According to Chrysler Group, the Dodge Sprinter PHEV can reach a maximum driving range of up to 20 miles running solely in electric power. Electric energy comes from a lithium-ion battery pack that offers more storage capacity compared with nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. The Dodge Sprinter PHEV contains a switch on the dashboard that allows the driver to manually or automatically switch between two driving modes.