Global electric offensive Mercedes-Benz invests $1 billion in Tuscaloosa, creates 600 new jobs

Mercedes-Benz sets up production of electric vehicles in the United States. The company plans to produce Mercedes-Benz EQ SUV models at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama passenger-car plant celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In addition, a battery plant will be built. In total, $1 billion will be invested in the expansion of the manufacturing footprint in the region, which is expected to create more than 600 jobs.

The announcement was part of the 20-year celebration of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI). Located in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, the facility is the worldwide production location for the GLE, GLS and GLE Coupe SUVs, as well as for the C-Class sedan for North America. In 2016, the plant produced more than 310,000 vehicles. MBUSI currently employs more than 3,700 team members and supports 10,000+ jobs at suppliers and service providers in the region.

Local job generator since two decades

“Looking back on 20 years of production, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa has been a success story from the beginning. We are now continuing this story with a clear vision for the era of electric mobility. We are proud that Tuscaloosa will be an integral part of our company’s evolution to electric vehicles contributing to the long-term success of Mercedes-Benz Cars.” Jason Hoff, CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.

As the first automotive manufacturing location in the State of Alabama, the plant also served as the catalyst for additional OEMs, automotive suppliers and supporting businesses to come to the area, creating thousands of jobs in the region and leading to Alabama's strong position as one of the key automotive business clusters in the United States.

“For the past two decades, MBUSI has been a tremendous partner in the growth of our state, and we look forward to strengthening those bonds in the years to come.” Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey.

Developing and producing cutting-edge electric vehicles

In total, Mercedes-Benz plans to invest $1 billion in the expansion of its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the electric initiative. It is expected that once completed these investments will create more than 600 additional jobs.

“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of production in Tuscaloosa by expanding our operations in the region and by bringing our electric initiative to the United States. With this one billion dollar investment, we are significantly growing our manufacturing footprint here in Alabama, while sending a clear message to our customers across the U.S. and around the world: Mercedes-Benz will continue to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development and production.” Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

Mercedes-Benz will start producing SUV models of the EQ brand in Tuscaloosa at the beginning of the next decade. EQ models will be integrated into the series production at the plant. This is possible because of the early investments in flexibility and technical equipment at the plant that offer trailblazing Industry 4.0 technologies. With the Tuscaloosa plant, Mercedes-Benz will have electric mobility hubs on three continents serving customers’ demand around the globe and shaping the future of electric mobility worldwide.

By 2022, the company will electrify the entire portfolio of Mercedes, offering customers at least one electrified alternative in all segments from smart to large SUVs. The company is planning to offer more than 50 electrified vehicle variants. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz will be continuously supporting the development of plug-in hybrids and the introduction of 48-volt-systems. The first EQ series model, EQC, will go into production in 2019 in Bremen, Germany.

The product brand EQ is an integral part of CASE, which stands for the intelligent combination of the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric): In addition, a battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of cutting-edge technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the U.S.

The battery factory will be part of the global battery production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars for local demand and export. In total, Daimler will invest $1.18 billion (more than one billion Euros) in the battery production network, which will also include production facilities in Germany and China. As in vehicle production, the battery production network will react flexibly and efficiently to market demand. This strategy ensures the ongoing availability of modern battery technology through local production hubs in Europe, for instance, in Kamenz, China and the U.S. and puts Mercedes-Benz in a highly competitive position for its electric initiative. Construction work for the new one million square-foot facility in Tuscaloosa is expected to begin in 2018, with operations planned to start at the beginning of the next decade.