The Mercedes C-Class is built at a number of facilities, but it could soon be dropped from the Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama.
The plant has been building the C-Class since 2014, but it’s better known for producing crossovers. These models are in high demand and sales will likely climb as the company has recently introduced redesigned versions of the GLE and GLS.
Given that, and the continued decline of sedan sales, it comes as little surprise Automotive News is reporting Mercedes is considering ending C-Class production in Tuscaloosa. Company officials declined to comment on the report, but analysts believe production could end in late 2020. While unconfirmed, the timing appears to make sense as Mercedes is working on an all-new C-Class that is expected to debut for the 2021 model year.
Furthermore, C-Class sales have been falling in the United States. Carsalesbase data shows sales peaked at 88,251 units in 2013 and fell to 60,410 units last year.
By moving C-Class production out of Alabama, Mercedes would free up capacity at the Tuscaloosa plant. Automotive News reports the plant is currently operating at 93 percent capacity and that doesn’t leave much room for growth. The company could fix that problem by transferring C-Class production for the United States to a less utilized plant such as the East London facility in South Africa which LMC Automotive says is only operating at 75 percent capacity.
If Mercedes were to move C-Class production of Tuscaloosa, it would free up the plant to focus on crossovers. This is important as the facility is expected to begin building an electric GLE in 2020 and an electric GLS in 2022.