On Wednesday, German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz announced the opening of a new plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, where it will be producing the Sprinter van. It also said that 20,000 vans to roll-off the assembly lines have been ordered by e-commerce behemoth Amazon.
The huge number of vehicles ordered by Jeff Bezos’ company is meant to support the creation of its own network of delivery companies.
Currently, Amazon relies on hundreds of third-party delivery companies the likes of FedEx and UPS to deliver goods to its customers. The huge number of deliveries, however, have made it necessary for the company to try a different approach.
Back in June, Amazon announced it will offer a number of incentives to any entrepreneurs who want to become couriers, including big discounts on vans and fuel. At the same time, it promised an annual profit of up to $300,000 for companies operating fleets of up to 40 vans.
All the vans ordered from Mercedes-Benz will be Amazon-branded and will be delivered to partnes through third-party fleet management companies.
"We're proud to partner with Mercedes-Benz Vans to contribute to local economies through the order of Amazon-branded Sprinter vans produced at their new plant in North Charleston," said in a statement Dave Clark, Amazon's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations.
"Thanks to the tremendous response to Amazon's new Delivery Service Partner program, we are excited to increase our original order of branded Sprinter vans to 20,000 vehicles so new small businesses will have access to a customized fleet to power deliveries of Amazon packages."
As for the Sprinter and its North American presence, the third generation of the three-pointed star cargo hauler will be introduced by the end of the year. The South Carolina plant will employ 900 people at first that will work in the body shop, paint shop and final assembly of the new Sprinter.