German minister visits Mercedes US plant, hails investment

By Dave Leggett | 15 July 2019

As trade tensions between the US and EU simmer, a German government minister has visited Daimler's US vehicle manufacturing plant at Tuscaloosa, underscoring the plant's importance to the German engineering giant and the US economy.

"The Mercedes-Benz factory in Tuscaloosa is an impressive example of how German companies are generating growth, jobs and innovation in the US. I'm particularly impressed by the latest investments of $1 billion to promote electric mobility and construct a battery factory," said German Federal Minister for Economic and Energy Affairs Peter Altmaier.

"Mercedes-Benz Cars has laid the foundation for the automotive industry in Alabama and in doing so had a significant impact in its industrial transformation. We created thousands of highly qualified jobs by building our Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa more than 20 years ago. With our additional investment of one billion US dollars announced in 2017, we are putting the Tuscaloosa plant on a viable and sustainable foundation – beginning with building a battery factory and extending to the future production of electric SUVs of the EQ product and technology brand. The visit by the German Federal Minister for Economic and Energy Affairs, Peter Altmaier, underscores the significance of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa for the German-American economic relations," said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

When the plant was founded in 1995, the location was the first major Mercedes-Benz plant outside Germany. The location has been continually expanded over time. By building the plant there, Mercedes-Benz Cars says it has played a key role in the development of Alabama into a location of the automotive and supplier industry. Establishing the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa resulted in automotive suppliers, further OEMs and other supporting companies settling in Alabama as well. Today, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) is the second-largest exporter of automobiles in the USA. Since the start of production, more than 3.2 million vehicles have been produced at the Tuscaloosa plant.

Since 1995, Mercedes-Benz Cars has invested more than six billion US dollars in the Tuscaloosa plant. The announcement of the investment of another billion US dollars in 2017 marked the start of the company's expansion of its industrial involvement in the region and is a clear commitment to the Tuscaloosa location, the company says. The investment amount is allocated to the production of electric SUVs of the EQ product and technology brand and to the construction of a battery factory. This includes a Global Logistics Centre as well as an after-sales hub for the export of spare parts.

"Tuscaloosa has been producing Mercedes-Benz SUVs with great success since 1997. The plant delivers the current GLE, GLS and GLE Coupé SUV model series to customers around the world. Together with our highly motivated team, we are ready for the electric mobility of Mercedes-Benz Cars. We are already working on the preparations for the production of future electric Mercedes-Benz SUVs in Tuscaloosa now," says Michael Göbel, Head of Production SUVs and President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI).