Mercedes-Benz Vans celebrates 15 years in Charleston

Mercedes-Benz Vans celebrates 15 years in Charleston

Aug 5, 2021
Charleston, SC, USA
  • Plant started as a semi-knockdown assembly facility in 2006
  • Electric future ahead: next generation eSprinter coming second half 2023
  • Additional 50 million euros investment in the plant
  • Celebrating 15 years of progress, first-day employees and new team members

Charleston, SC, USA - 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.

Additional Quotes: 

The U.S. as a major Mercedes-Benz Vans market

Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, recognizes the importance of the North Charleston based operations for its continued growth in the region: “The US is the biggest and most important market for Mercedes-Benz Vans right after Germany. We successfully build and sell Sprinter and Metris vans here. The future of mobility in the transport sector is electric. We aim to be leading in the segment of electrified vans, and our constantly growing share of battery-electric vehicles proves our strategy. With our newly developed Electric Versatility Platform, we are significantly expanding our offerings in the commercial electrified series. With the production of the next generation of the eSprinter in the US and in Germany, we will ensure market-oriented production.”

MBV Charleston as part of the South Carolina community

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said on the topic of Mercedes-Benz Vans presence in the Lowcountry: “Since joining team South Carolina in 2006, Mercedes-Benz Vans has served as an incredible partner and has become a part of the fabric of the Lowcountry. With further investment on the way, the future is bright for Mercedes-Benz Vans in South Carolina, and we look forward to seeing all that this partnership will mean for generations to come.”

Working at MBV Charleston throughout the years

Robert Brooks, an IT Manager at MBV Charleston, has been with the company since 2006 and said of working hard for MBV’s success: “The ‘day one’ MBV Team Members here fought extremely hard every single day to win the honor of having Part-by-Part production -- it was never ever a given. The fact that many of us are still here is a great example of the pride and dedication to MBV, and our main purpose: We Build Solutions.”

Beth Brown, a “day one” MBV Quality Team Member whose daughter also works in the plant as a member of the Paint Shop production team, said, “After the first 5 years, I could not imagine leaving my “Work Family” to work anywhere else. Staying with MBV this long is something that I am truly proud of. MBV has been good to me for over a decade. I am truly proud that my daughter now has the opportunity to grow with the company and be just as successful as her mom!”

About MBV Charleston

Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC (“MBV”) is a plant in Ladson, South Carolina that assembles Sprinter vans for the U.S. and Canadian market under the brands Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner. The midsize Mercedes-Benz Metris vans are also reassembled at this location. MBV proudly joined colleagues and customers around the world in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sprinter van in 2020.

Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC invested more than 500 million U.S. dollars in the new Sprinter plant, which officially opened in 2018. Today, the MBV facility provides more than 1,600 jobs and supports at least 600 additional jobs in the region through its suppliers. More than 200,000 Sprinter and Metris vans have been assembled in North Charleston and delivered to destinations across the U.S. since 2006. The U.S. is the second largest market for Sprinter vans, after Germany.

Mercedes-Benz Vans celebrates 15 years in Charleston
15 years MBV Charleston, employee Robert Brooks
Mercedes-Benz Vans celebrates 15 years in Charleston
MBV Charleston Team 2006