More than 200,000 Sprinter and Metris vans have been assembled in North Charleston and delivered to destinations in the U.S. since June 2006. At that time, the small Charleston plant was performing semi-knockdown (SKD) assembly and was better known as DaimlerChrysler Manufacturing International (DCMI) with a team of 100 employees. Today the Mercedes-Benz Vans facility in North Charleston employs more than 1,600 people.
“At MBV Charleston our plant strategy: building solutions through collaboration and empowerment to enrich people’s lives, is founded in our company culture,” said Arnhelm Mittelbach, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC. “We look forward to a bright future ahead as we continue building solutions that enrich people’s lives.”
With the success of the Sprinter van in the U.S. market, Daimler announced in 2015 the decision to expand the existing re-assembly operation into a full-scale production plant with a new Body Shop, Paint Shop and extended Assembly building in time for the launch of the new Sprinter model. The new facility in North Charleston, South Carolina has been up and running since 2018, following a two year construction period and an investment of more than $500 million. In March 2021, it was announced that the next generation eSprinter is coming to Charleston in 2023 to fulfil future customer demand and to build the eSprinter vans close to market.
“Since we set up the plant in Charleston 15 years ago, we have gained priceless experience and extensive know how, making Charleston a key pillar in our global production network. In the future, we will also be able to quickly meet the ever-increasing demand for battery electric vans and, thanks to our intelligent and flexible production system, are able to respond very precisely to the requirements of the different markets while making optimum use of our capacities,” said Ingo Ettischer, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Global Operations. “We are proud of our team in Charleston and happy that they will be the first to produce the next generation of the eSprinter, starting in the second half of 2023. We will invest around 50 million euros into the plant and its infrastructure to make the plant fit for the electrified future.”
Production systems within the plant have continuously evolved in the past 15 years to become more automated and smart. Within the production network of Mercedes-Benz Vans many solutions have been developed that contribute to the digitization of operations in the plant. In Charleston, Shop Floor Digital (SFMdigital), an online platform that tracks key performance indicators, was put into place first within Mercedes-Benz Vans. With SFMdigital safety, delivery and quality metrics are tracked within each production shop while also collecting the data needed to analyze performance trends, follow up on necessary actions, perform stability audits and identify continuous improvement opportunities as they arise.
In addition to working smarter, MBV Charleston has been committed to working sustainably as well. From the very beginning of operations in Charleston sustainable treatment of the environment was made a priority. The new eSprinter will help further enhance MBV’s environmental footprint by being produced CO2 neutral, and as of 2022, all Mercedes-Benz Vans production plants will be 100% powered by green energy, creating a positive contribution for the community and future generations.