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An Amazon-branded van at the company’s June announcement of the Delivery Service Partners program. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

Amazon has boosted its order for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans to 20,000 vehicles for its Delivery Service Partner program, up from 4,500 initially, reflecting what the company calls a “tremendous response” from people applying to own their own Amazon delivery businesses as part of the program.

With the order, the company becomes the largest Sprinter customer in the world, according to a news release this morning from Daimler North America. The auto maker just opened a new facility in North Charleston, S.C., where the vans will be produced.

“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 Dave Clark, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, in the announcement. “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.”

Amazon announced the Delivery Service Partner program in June, touting the initiative as a way of creating a new wave of small business owners as the company increases its last-mile delivery capacity, giving itself an alternative, if not yet a replacement, for delivery companies including UPS and FedEx as well as the U.S. Postal Service.

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement: “We had tens of thousands of applicants for the program and we are incredibly humbled by the response. Candidate backgrounds have ranged from serial entrepreneurs to military veterans, an NFL player to brothers who want to team up to deliver packages. We’re excited to get to know these candidates.”

Previously: Owning an Amazon delivery business: The risks, rewards and economic realities of the tech giant’s new program for entrepreneurs

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