Friday, 22 July 2011

Mercedes to invest more than $2 billion in Alabama plant




Daimler AG has approved an expenditure of more than $2 billion for upgrading and expanding operations at its U.S. auto assembly plant near Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The new spending will pay for the plant to begin building the Mercedes-Benz C class car, as previously announced, and also to retool for new generations of two of the plant's existing models, the Mercedes-Benz R-class crossover and G-class SUV. The investment comes as Mercedes battles German rival BMW for the title of best-selling luxury brand in the United States, following an 11-year reign by Toyota's Lexus.
In a statement released today, Daimler did not say what time period the investments will cover or what other future projects they might fund. The plant will launch C-class production in 2014, Daimler said in late 2009. The company revealed the investment figure today following a Job 1 plant celebration yesterday that kicked off production of the new-generation Mercedes M class there.
The Tuscaloosa plant opened in February 1997 as a modest $350 million manufacturing investment to put Mercedes-Benz retailers into what was then a booming SUV market with the M class.

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