US assembly of Mercedes-Benz designed and made Sprinter vans by DaimlerChrysler will be transferred to a new plant in South Carolina.

The plans were due to be announced today (28 November) by state governor Mark Sanford and commerce secretary Bob Faith in North Charleston, according to local TV channel website abcnews4.com.

The new plant will assemble the vans from kits of imported parts.

According to local reports, DaimlerChrysler will use an existing 460,000 square foot plant in North Charleston, beginning work on the site in January 2006. assembly should start by the end of the year.

The plant will initially employ at least 200 workers and could have a work force of 1,800 in five years time.

The present assembly facility is in Gaffney, South Carolina, but this is running at full capacity.

There will be no job losses there when production moves.