Mercedes-Benz Construction for U.S. Battery Factory Underway on EQC testing in the Black Forest

So far consumers don’t like EVs because they don’t make economic sense. Is this about to change?

Just in time for the threatened Trump punitive tariffs on European automakers to appear, an all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE  based on new SUV platform, is now solidly in production in Tuscaloosa, Alabama – thereby avoiding the tax if it ever gets imposed. Mercedes-Benz Cars in the U.S. is also no building a new U.S. battery factory for a future electric SUV under the brand EQ. (Read on Mercedes-Benz to Build at Bremen Its First Electric Car – EQ, Mercedes ‘EQ Ready’ App Picks EV or Hybrid for You, More EQ Silliness from Mercedes-Benz)

The new production site for batteries – along with the new Consolidation Center – is located seven miles from the Mercedes-Benz Cars vehicle production site in Tuscaloosa. The Consolidation Center, also part of a 2017 investment announcement, will consist of three major areas, including the body parts preparation area, the assembly parts preparation area and the empties storage. It is expected to be operational next year in 2019.

“The widely export oriented Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa is a high-tech production facility with a successful history and an exciting future in terms of our brand in the United States. We aim to play a pioneering role in the development of e-mobility and are well prepared to accomplish this mission,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, “One year ago, we have announced $1 billion investment in Tuscaloosa mostly to produce electric SUVs and a battery plant. We are bringing electric mobility for Mercedes-Benz to the United States. Around the globe, we are preparing six sites for production of EQ models and our battery network will consist of eight factories.”

More than $6 billion has been invested in the taxpayer -subsidized Tuscaloosa plant since 1995 opened originally for making the M-Class. The additional $1 billion will help Mercedes-Benz Cars expand its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the so-called electric initiative. It is expected that, once completed, these investments will create more than 600 additional jobs in Alabama.

New GLE made in Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa, part of MBUSI, has served as the traditional production site for SUVs since 1997. This factory supplies the current GLE, GLE Coupé and GLS models to customers worldwide. As well as the C-Class for the U.S. These models are made exclusively in Alabama and two thirds of them are exported globally. MBUSI currently employs more than 3,700 workers on the approximately 1,000 acres site . It claims to support ~10,000 indirect jobs at suppliers and service providers in the region. In its 20-year existence, more than $6 billion have been invested in the plant to pave the way to produce future SUV’s.

MBUSI is the second largest automotive exporter in the U.S. More than two million customers bought or leased the GLE  since the launch of the M-Class, and the GLE is the bestselling SUV in the history of Mercedes-Benz. Worldwide, more than five million customers have opted for an SUV made by Mercedes-Benz. A new record was set by the SUVs in the first eight months of this year: Worldwide, more than 540,000 units were delivered, an increase of 5.4%. With the start of production of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE, the plant will enhance its proven production portfolio. The new GLE claims to be more capable on the road, more capable off the road and more capable in bringing people along: now with an optional third row of seats. And the new E-Active-Body-Control chassis offers a smooth ride. AutoInformed has not driven the GLE.

“The successful story of the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant began with the start of production of the M-Class 21 years ago,” said Jason Hoff, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International. Daimler started business in the U.S. as the first ever car manufacturer back in 1888, two years after its founding. For 130 years Daimler has profited from the U.S. economy.

The Electric Initiative in the United States

The new battery facility near the Tuscaloosa plant is part of a global battery production network of in total eight factories in Kamenz, (Germany), Stuttgart-Untertürkheim (Germany), Sindelfingen (Germany), Beijing (China), Bangkok (Thailand) and Tuscaloosa (USA). The worldwide network of battery factories allows Mercedes-Benz to react flexibly to market demands and requirements. The different sites supply local vehicle production and are ready to export batteries, if required.

Mercedes-Benz Cars will offer at least one electrified vehicle in each model series by 2022 totaling up to more than 130 models. Mercedes-Benz is about to start the production of electric passenger cars as part of its worldwide electric initiative. This includes the production of an all-electric SUV in the U.S.

Daimler in the U.S.

Daimler Group Companies employ around 26,000 people in the United States. The Companies indirectly support an estimated 150,000 additional jobs across the country. At 23 main locations throughout the U.S. the Group’s subsidiaries primarily manufacture passenger cars and commercial vehicles, but is also represented with Daimler Financial Services, car2go and moovel as well as several Research and Development locations.


About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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