The state of Georgia has agreed a deal with DaimlerChrysler to build a Freightliner facility building Mercedes-Benz-designed Vito and Sprinter vans in Pooler, Georgia, near Savannah, governor Roy Barnes said.

A formal announcement will be made later on Friday.

After months of negotiations, the company accepted the recommended Savannah 1560-acre site located at the intersection of US interstate motorways 95 and 16.

Construction of the $US750 million facility, which will be the largest industrial plant in the state of Georgia, is scheduled to begin in July 2003 with production starting in July 2005.

Approximately 3300 new jobs will be created at the factory which will be constructed in two phases.

Phase I will represent a $450 million investment and 1800 jobs, and Phase II will represent a $300 million investment and 1500 jobs.

In addition, it is estimated that another 700 new jobs will be created by the location of automotive suppliers near the new plant. Economic impact studies indicate that as many as 10,000 additional jobs would be created as a result of the plant’s location.

Projections indicate that Georgia’s financial commitment of slightly more than $220 million to the project will be recouped in new revenues to the state in less than 10 years.

The total incentive package, including local commitments, was approximately $320 million.

Georgia will now attempt to lure automotive suppliers to serve the new DaimlerChrysler plant as well as other vehicle factories in the state and south-eastern US.