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Mercedes-Benz vans has moved closer to producing next-generation Sprinter vans from its growing automotive campus in North Charleston.

The $500 million expansion, which kicked off in 2015, is on schedule to roll off the first new vans by 2020. The investment will double the size of the site, triple the building’s square footage and grow its workforce by 11 times its original size.

The existing assembly and administration building will more than double in size, and a new 500,000-square-foot body shop and 500,000-square-foot paint shop now stand on formerly empty land. Some equipment has been installed in the buildings as construction continues. 

The expansion should open by mid-2018; the site will be fully operational by 2020 with a more than 1,300-person workforce capable of producing Sprinter vans from start to finish for shipment to North American customers.

For more than a decade, workers reassembled Metris and Sprinter vans — arriving in pieces from Europe — to avoid paying heavy U.S. import tariffs.

The expansion brings the Sprinter manufacturing process to the U.S. for the first time, eliminating the need to assemble the vans twice. Hiring of 1,300 workers is ongoing; the company is focusing on filling manufacturing positions going into 2018. (Credit: Charleston Regional Business Journal)

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