2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Mercedes-Benz has just announced that the German automaker will invest more than $2 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama manufacturing facility. The cash is slated to go toward production of current the current M-Class, though funds will also go toward producing the next-generation GL-Class and C-Class at the factory. The funds will also be used to expand the overall capacity of the plant. The announcement came at a Job 1 celebration to mark the creation of the first production 2012 M-Class. Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said that the Tuscaloosa plant continues to serve as the blueprint for the automaker's facilities outside of Germany.

Mercedes-Benz also took the opportunity to announce that the company would donate an additional $100,000 to Alabama tornado relief and recovery efforts. The latest donation brings the company's total contribution up to $1.1 million. The Tuscaloosa community was struck by an EF4 tornado last April that took the lives of 32 people. Click past the jump for Benz's official press release.
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Daimler AG Invests more than 2 Billion USD into the Mercedes-Benz U.S. Plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Jul 21, 2011
Investments for the production of current and future model lines and capacity expansions

First all-new M-Class customer vehicle produced

Dr. Dieter Zetsche: "We're continuing to write new chapters of the Tuscaloosa plant's success story with significant investments into the future."

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA – On the occasion of the production of the first new Mercedes-Benz M-Class customer vehicle at the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant (Mercedes-Benz U.S. International - MBUSI), Daimler AG announced significant investments for its North American passenger cars plant. A total amount of more than 2 billion US dollars is invested for the production of the new M-Class, the successor generations of the GL-Class and the C-Class, and the expansion of production capacities.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "We're continuing to write new chapters of the plant's success story with significant investments into the future. Tuscaloosa was the first production location of Mercedes-Benz Cars ever outside Germany, and today it is among our best. As our 'pioneering plant', it is also the blueprint for our new operations in emerging markets." In a special address to the entire MBUSI team, Zetsche highlighted their contributions: "A big thank you to the team that helped us get that far – all of you."

MBUSI hosted a special new M-Class "Job 1" Celebration on July 20th in which Markus Schaefer, President and CEO of MBUSI, welcomed the 2,800 MBUSI team members, as well as guests including Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. Also attending the ceremony with Dr. Dieter Zetsche were Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, board member Production and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans, Dr. Thomas Weber, board member Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, and Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Referring to the production launch of the new M-Class, Schaefer said: "Demand for the M-Class in our 14 years of production has clearly surpassed all our expectations – in terms of sales, customer loyalty, and popularity. And customers will soon recognize that our all-new M-Class is again setting new benchmarks in the SUV segment – in terms of efficiency, safety, agility, driving enjoyment and design."
Schaefer also pointed out the value of the outstanding community relations which MBUSI enjoys: "Today, we also celebrate the successful cooperation we have had with the State of Alabama and local governments since we first announced our decision to come to Alabama. We truly appreciate this leadership. "

Looking back at the disaster of the tornados that hit the South of the U.S. and especially the City of Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, Schaefer also announced that MBUSI will donate an additional 100,000 US dollars to Alabama tornado relief and recovery efforts. On May 05, Daimler and MBUSI had committed a cash donation of 1 million US dollars to a number of charities in West and Central Alabama to support emergency and reconstruction projects and to help the Alabama community begin on this path to recovery.