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Mercedes-Benz Expands Its U.S. Production Plant In Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Mercedes-Benz is expanding its production plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to drive-home sales for its new C-Class, passenger cars and SUVs.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "We are consistently seeing record sales in the USA. By launching the new C-Class we are setting new standards in our biggest sales market."

With a unit sales volume of 312,534 vehicles, the USA was the biggest sales market for Mercedes-Benz in 2013, the company said. “Every fifth Mercedes-Benz passenger car sold by the brand with the star last year went to a customer in the USA. This year we are expecting market growth in the USA of around five percent to 16.4 million units for passenger cars and SUVs. We also expect the premium market to continue to develop more strongly than the overall market. We want to profit over-proportionately from this. Our new models will help," said Zetsche.

The company said it envisions good prospects in the US market. "We are consistently seeing record sales in the USA. By launching the new C-Class we are setting new standards in our biggest sales market," Zetsche explained. Unit sales of Mercedes-Benz in the USA were up by 8.2 percent to 205,894 vehicles in the first eight months of the year. The brand with the star sold 27,078 units, up 9.4 percent, in August alone, thus posting a new record.

Jason Hoff, Head of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa: "We're successful here at MBUSI because we have a highly qualified and motivated team with a 'can-do' attitude. We also embrace the model of flat hierarchy in our leadership structure so our Team Members have direct access to management, which improves communications and ensures we effectively pass on the knowledge and expertise needed to build quality vehicles. This creates a special corporate culture that combines the best of Germany and America."

The Tuscaloosa plant was founded in 1995 and started production of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in 1997. The SUVs of the GL-Class and R-Class were added later. The plant manufactured more than 185,000 vehicles in 2013. To date, more than two million vehicles have been produced at the location. "Our decision to go to Tuscaloosa provided the initial spark for the settlement of the automotive industry in Alabama. Thus, according to the current status, we have created 3,400 direct new jobs at the location and are in a real win-win situation," said Zetsche. According to experts, each job at MBUSI creates seven more jobs at suppliers and service providers. Since 1993, Mercedes-Benz has invested more than four billion US dollars – including 2.4 billion dollars for the current expansion phase from 2010 to 2015.

"We are the first German manufacturer in the luxury segment to produce a sedan in the USA. With the C-Class we are expanding our capacities in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa – we are proud of our team members doing such a good job," said Markus Schaefer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management. Another increase in production volume is coming up next year, when an additional SUV model will be rolling off the production line in Tuscaloosa. Mercedes-Benz offered a preview of this vehicle in April with the "Concept SUV Coupe" at the Auto China show in Beijing.

"The local production will enable us to supply the US market more quickly and flexibly. We will lower logistics costs and safeguard ourselves better against exchange rate fluctuations through 'natural hedging,'" said Schaefer. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa plays an important role in the global production network for the new C-Class. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz is producing the C-Class sedan on four continents," said Schaefer.

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