DaimlerChrysler's Pooler Plans Develop

It looks more than likely that DaimlerChrysler will build its new plant in west Chatham County, and now the company appears ready to invest even more money in the Pooler facilities. The company has not yet formally announced it's going to build here, but it says of now it has picked Pooler as a site where they would build a plant in the US.

However, an article in Automotive News is headlined "DCX Confirms $1 Billion Van Project," and in it, a vice president for Mercedes Benz Vans is quoted as saying, "We have done all the planning and committed the money, we want to proceed, but there could be a worldwide event that could delay the whole process."

"It falls short of an official fanfare type of big production announcement," said Rick Winger of SEDA, "but it's very significant because of who is quoted."

"Well there's been a lot of speculation among our citizens," said Pooler Mayor Buddy Carter. "This brings more credential to the fact it is coming."

Another positive sign is that the company has informed county officials they are investing more money than originally expected, going from $750 million to $1 billion, and instead of one van model, two different models. Production is expected to be double original plans.

If you drive by the site on I-16, you'll see the site preparations are well underway.

"Six hundred truckloads a day of dirt are being moved right now, and there's a lot of work going on even though the official announcement regarding construction has not been made yet," said SEDA's Cliff McCurry.

"This is part of the State of Georgia's commitment to prepare the site for them," Winger added.

WTOC spoke with DaimlerChrysler, and they say they are waiting for their board of management to vote on whether or not to start construction. If the plant is built here, they will start construction this year. The company says it does not expect to drag this decision out, and we will of course keep you posted.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com