While Daimler AG may best be known for luxurious passenger vehicles like the all-new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the SL roadster, there’s another side to the maker’s ledger sheet. It also lays claims to being the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, about 850,000 of them last year alone.
And it’s bound and determined to grow that business, starting with the U.S. market. It will clearly help when, in a few years, it will be able to start producing the big Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van from a plant going up on the north side of Charleston, South Carolina. That will end the costly dependence on bringing partially assembled bodies in from Germany and then finish them in Charleston.
The lower costs could help make Mercedes more competitive in what has turned out to be a fast-growing U.S. market for European-style vans. But the maker is also looking at other ways to boost sales. The factory will be flexible enough to assemble the smaller Mercedes Metris van. And the maker is looking at other options, including possible battery-electric versions of those vans.