Mercedes-Benz is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, meeting operations in an effort to facilitate the manufacturing of its first EQ-branded SUVs in 2020. The funding, timed to roughly coincide with the start of Mercedes-Benz ML manufacturing in Alabama, is anticipated to consequence within the hiring of one other 600 workers.
Within the close to time period, Mercedes-Benz has been open with its doubts concerning the profitability of pure electrical autos. Evidently, the long-term view is totally different. And it most likely doesn’t damage to pour extra money right into a U.S. operations hub that accounts for almost half the autos offered by the automaker in America.
Alabamians already construct the GLE-Class (previously the M-Class), GLS-Class (previously the GL-Class), and the U.S.-market C-Class sedan for Mercedes-Benz. These three automobile strains — 4 if you happen to depend the separate GLE-Class Coupe — accounted for 49 p.c of Mercedes-Benz USA automotive/SUV gross sales in 2017’s first eight months.
Who’d have thunk, 22 years in the past when Mercedes-Benz introduced Alabama can be residence to the automaker’s first main non-German plant, that we’d attain some extent the place Individuals can be accountable for assembling many of the Mercedes-Benzes Individuals purchase?
Via the primary eight months of 2017, Automotive Information stories that Mercedes-Benz has constructed 53,024 copies of the C-Class (down 16 p.c, year-over-year) however 147,068 SUVs, an 11-percent improve.
Alabama can be residence to manufacturing of the 4 American Honda merchandise, manufacturing of which is down barely to 239,534 models year-to-date, AN says. Alabama additionally hosts manufacturing of the Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, and the Santa Fe Sport. Hyundai’s whole Alabama manufacturing is down 6 p.c, all on the account of the model’s decreasingly common sedans.
Again at Mercedes-Benz, the German automaker will spend a few of this new $1 billion funding on the corporate’s fifth battery plant and an after-sales-oriented logistics hub. Mercedes-Benz was already reinvesting in its Alabama operations in an effort to replace the physique store and meeting line for present manufacturing. Naturally, the bundle used to entice additional Mercedes-Benz funding in Alabama will embrace statutory incentives, performance-based incentives, tax abatements, and tax credit, in line with Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.
Mercedes-Benz first unveiled the EQ concept with the Technology EQ Idea at 2016’s Paris auto present. The manufacturing model is anticipated to supply round 300 miles of all-electric vary.
[Images: Daimler AG]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Fact About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.internet. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.