Georgia Governor Roy E. Barnes said Oct. 17 that an agreement has been reached with officials of DaimlerChrysler, the German/American automaker, recommending a new automobile manufacturing facility in Pooler, Ga., near Savannah. "I am extremely excited about DaimlerChrysler choosing Georgia," said Barnes. "They are a world-class company that produces a line of world-class vehicles. Our success in securing this major facility for Georgia was a true team effort by many state agencies, the private sector and local officials in Savannah, Pooler and Chatham County. This is further confirmation that our state and our citizens are prepared to compete in the global economy." However, Business Fleet was not able to confirm with DaimlerChrysler that a decision on the plant's location had been made. At least one DaimlerChrysler spokesman said that the company hadn't yet completed its research and investigation into possible plant sites, according to published reports. Barnes said DaimlerChrysler accepted the recommended Savannah site, after months of negotiations, as the location for a plant that would produce the Sprinter Van and the Vito Van. The 1,560-acre site is located at the intersection of U.S. Interstates 95 and 16. "Georgia's commitment to this project has been quite impressive," said a DaimlerChrysler spokesman, according to the Governor's office. "We are looking forward to further development in the same trustful and cooperative manner as we have had the opportunity to experience so far, and to the mutual success and benefit both to the State of Georgia and DaimlerChrysler." Construction of the $750 million facility, which Gov. Barnes said will be the largest industrial plant to ever locate in the state of Georgia, is scheduled to begin in July 2003, barring any unforeseen changes in the economy, with the first production units being completed in July 2005, according to the governor's office. Gov. Barnes said about 3,300 new jobs will be created by the location of the facility, which will be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 will represent a $450 million investment and 1800 jobs, and Phase 2 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. "This is an historic day for economic development in Georgia and will set the stage for the future," said Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor. "This team worked hard, and it is gratifying to get these great results for our efforts." 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. This commitment is well within the range of incentive packages offered recently to other automakers that have located in neighboring states. R.K. Sehgal, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism, who led the negotiating team, noted that the state's marketing efforts will now focus on automotive suppliers that would be interested in serving DaimlerChrysler as well as the existing auto assembly plants in Georgia, and the other newly located auto plants in the southeast. A formal announcement is planned for Oct. 18 in Savannah, a spokeswoman for the governor's office told Business Fleet. However, one DaimlerChrysler spokesman denied Oct. 17 that a press conference would be held Oct. 18, according to published reports.