German carmaker DaimlerChrysler plans to invest €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in China by building two new plants to produce Mercedes limousines and vans, company officials announced on Friday. Starting in 2005, the company will build C and E Class limousines in a new plant in Beijing. Sprinter and Viano/Vito vans will be produced in Fuzhou in Fujian province starting in 2006. So far, DaimlerChrysler has only produced SUVs and busses in China. About 15,000 people are expected to find work in the new plants. Company officials called the announcement of the expansion a "historic hour," saying that it was a central aspect of their China strategy. "In the mid-term, we'll be producing essential car parts in China," a DaimlerChrysler executive said.