DaimlerChrysler Cancels Sprinter Assembly Plant
DaimlerChrysler announced on September 22 that it was scrapping plans to open a new U.S. assembly plant to build its Sprinter commercial vans. The world's fifth-largest automaker had been delaying construction work on the planned manufacturing facility near Savannah, Georgia, since July. State officials had said the $750 million facility, the largest industrial plant ever to locate in Georgia, was expected to bring at least 3,000 jobs by 2005 to Pooler, a small town outside Savannah. But company spokesmen, citing currency issues and flagging vehicle demand among other concerns, said a business case could not be made for building the plant at this time. "Right now, really, all we're saying is that it's not going forward. We're always looking at the market but at this stage of the game, it's not going forward," DaimlerChrysler spokesman Trevor Hale told Reuters. The plant was scheduled to manufacture the Dodge version of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Sprinter van, a diesel-engined commercial van currently manufactured in Germany. Hale said the dollar's weakness was one factor working against the plant; many of the van's components would have been imported from Europe.