The concept from April 2014s AutoChina motor show

The concept from April 2014's AutoChina motor show

Confirming rumours of an additional model for Tuscaloosa (Vance), Mercedes-Benz has named 2015 as the year when a new sports SUV will be added to the Alabama plant.

The new model, under development with the C292 codename, is expected to be called ML Coupé, MLC-Class or GLS-Class.

C292 will effectively take the place of the R-Class - discontinued during 2013 - which did not sell at the levels that the company would have hoped for.

This big crossover should come with just four seats, though a five-seat configuration might also be available. Turbocharged V6 and V8 petrol engines as well as a V6 turbo diesel should feature. This model is expected to be the first for Daimler's MHA architecture: a rear- and all-wheel drive platform for large SUVs and crossovers.

C292 was previewed by the Concept Coupé which was exhibited at April's Beijing motor show. Daimler quoted the concept as being 4,935mm long, 2,208mm wide (with mirrors), 1,739mm high and with a wheelbase of 2,916mm.

Show the press release
  • Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama starts production as the third location in the global C-Class production network
  • New Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan extends plant's traditional production program of SUV models M-, R-, and GL-Class
  • Markus Schäfer: "For the first time, the C-Class is manufactured also in Tuscaloosa – the team has done an excellent job in mastering this challenge."
Mercedes-Benz has started production of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at its U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama. With this, the third location in the global C-Class production network has begun manufacturing. The new C-Class sedan is made for the first time in Tuscaloosa and extends the plant's traditional production program of the SUV models of the M-, R-, and GL-Class. The sedan of Mercedes-Benz' highest volume model line is the first model to be produced on four continents: Following the ramp-ups in Bremen, Germany (February), East London, South Africa (May), and now Tuscaloosa, the production location in Beijing, China will begin manufacturing shortly.
Markus Schäfer, Divisional Board Member Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management: "With the successful start of production at the Tuscaloosa plant, we are expanding our C-Class capacities and are ready for the market launch in the USA and Canada in the fall. For the first time, the C-Class is manufactured also in Tuscaloosa – the team has done an excellent job in mastering this challenge."
The Bremen plant, in its capacity as the so-called lead plant, is controlling global production of the C-Class – from the tooling strategy to the training of the colleages from the international plants to production quality. With this, the company ensures top quality at all production sites from the outset. In total, some 500 employees from the international plants - among them more than 100 from Tuscaloosa - completed intensive training also in Germany in order to pass on their knowledge as multipliers in their respective home plants.
Jason Hoff, Head of the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant: "Many of our Team Members have spent weeks and months in Germany getting to know the C-Class and the technologies associated with this product. Thanks to our highly qualified and motivated team, we are optimally prepared to write the next chapters of our success story 'made by Mercedes-Benz in Alabama'."
About the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant
The Tuscaloosa plant (Mercedes-Benz U.S. International - MBUSI) was founded in 1995 and started production of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in 1997, later joined by the SUVs of the GL- and R-Class. In 2013, the plant manufactured more than 185,000 vehicles with more than 3,000 employees. As of 2014, the Tuscaloosa plant produces the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan and is hence one of the four locations of a global production network with the German lead plant in Bremen, the South African plant in East London, and the Chinese production site Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC). In 2015, an entirely new Mercedes-Benz model will roll off the production line as the Tuscaloosa plant’s fifth product. Mercedes-Benz has provided an outlook on this model with the Concept SUV Coupe, which was presented at the Auto China in Beijing in April 2014.

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