Mercedes-Benz has announced a $1,3 billion investment in its plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to build future SUV generations, including hybrid versions. Furthermore, the automaker said SUV production will expand, requiring the addition of 300 new jobs.
Also, Mercedes-Benz will build a new Body Shop and will bring major enhancements to SUV Assembly Shop and upgraded logistics and IT systems.
Mercedes-Benz says the new 1.3-million square foot (125,000 square meters) Body Shop will use the latest lightweight technologies with innovative joining processes and employ a modular approach to manufacturing.
The current SUV Assembly Shop will be expanded by 139,930 square feet (13,000 square meters) in order to receive a larger, more flexible “marriage” station, where the body is merged with the powertrain. This will allow for production of a wider range of vehicles.
In addition, the plant will also upgrade its Logistics IT system to create a seamless integration of the supply base into the Mercedes-Benz plant operations.
“In the next years we invest $1.3 billion into the expansion of our SUV production and turn the Mercedes-Benz plant Tuscaloosa into a high-tech location,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. “In this way we can produce the next SUV generations even more flexibly, efficiently and in proven top quality,” the executive added.
The Tuscaloosa plant currently builds the Mercedes-Benz GLE, GLE Coupe, GL (soon to be renamed GLS) and C-Class. In August 2015, production of the R-Class was moved to contract manufacturer AM General, freeing production capacities for the SUV series.
The plant produced more than 232,000 vehicles in 2014 and is on track to exceed 300,000 vehicles in 2015. Since it was founded in 1997, the facility built more than 2.2 million vehicles.