Okay America, it is time to rebuild and Benz will help you do just that if you live in Alabama. Yes, Mercedes Benz has had an auto manufacturing plant started back in 1997 where they first built the Mercedes Benz M-Class crossover SUV. Yes, I remember those days when it was one of the first introductions of such a vehicle and was even included in the late Michael Crichton’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” movie.
Well, that heritage is now spilling over into our slumping economy and injecting several new potential job openings with plans for Mercedes Benz to expand the Alabama Plant. The plans announced a $290 million investment that will allow Mercedes Benz to build more vehicles (in the U.S.). “We are positioning ourselves for future products,” spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald said in an recently posted Automotive News article. The Alabama’s Vance plant is already German parent Daimler AG’s sole global source for the Mercedes M class, R class and GL class.
Except from Autonews:
The news comes in the midst of a global economic downturn and plunging U.S. auto sales. Mercedes-Benz itself posted a 20 percent sales decline in February, compared with a year earlier, while the overall market fell 41.4 percent.
Production of vehicles at the Alabama plant fell steeply last year as consumers steered away from SUVs like the M class. The plant reduced its employee headcount in response — a stark change from the late 1990s when managers of the Alabama plant were forced to open a temporary second assembly line in Europe to keep up with M-class demand.
The new expansion project will take until 2011 to complete.