Mercedes-Benz is to spend US$1.3bn to expand Tuscaloosa SUV production in the US, creating 300 new jobs. The company will turn the plant into a high-tech location, manufacturing and supply chain chief Markus Schäfer said.

“In this way we can produce the next SUV generations even more flexibly, efficiently and in proven top quality.”

The plant will also assemble next SUV generations including hybrids. The includes a new body shop, major enhancements to the assembly shop as well as upgraded logistics and IT systems.

The 1.3m square foot (125,000 square metres) body shop will use the latest lightweight technologies with innovative joining processes and employ a modular approach to manufacturing. The assembly shop will be expanded by 139,930 square feet (13,000 square metrrs) and receive a larger, more flexible marriage station, allowing for production of a wider range of vehicles. The plant will also upgrade its logistics IT system to create a seamless integration of the supply base into the plant operations.