Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Worker

The Crazy Way Mercedes-Benz Avoided the Chicken Tax

Automakers who import pickups or vans into the U.S. get hit with a 25 percent tax known as the chicken tax. To avoid getting hit with it, automakers try to find loopholes or ways around it.

The way Mercedes-Benz avoided the chicken tax with the Sprinter van takes home the prize for the most absurd method.

In a recent report from Automotive News (Subscription Required), Mercedes-Benz would build Sprinter vans in Germany before disassembling them and shipping the pieces to South Carolina. There, a group of workers in a small assembly plant would put the vans back together and then ship them out to dealers. This method allowed Mercedes-Benz to claim the Sprinter as being "locally made". This process has been going for the past decade and if you're like us, you are probbly wondering if someone at Mercedes-Benz thought this was crazy.

"I really couldn't believe it. To build up and tear down, that's really something that hurts me, personally. And the costs!" said Volker Mornhinweg, worldwide head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Mornhinweg became the head of Mercedes' van division back in 2010 and discovered the mad process the company employed to avoid the tax. Since then, Mornhinweg has been working on making the process become a bit more senseable. Starting with the next-generation Sprinter van (due in 2018), Mercedes will build the vans in a new plant in South Carolina.

Pic Credit: Mercedes-Benz

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