• Oct 24, 2011
Since settling on Alabama as its North American manufacturing base, Mercedes-Benz has produced an endless stream of SUVs at its Tuscaloosa plant. Over the years, the facility has expanded to accommodate the M-Class, GL-Class and R-Class models. And in 2014 it will start producing the C-Class for the local market as well. Now the German automaker is planning on adding yet another line.

The expansion will encompass an investment of $350 million and the creation of 400 new jobs by the time production of the new model comes online in 2015. The question is, what will that new model be?

All Daimler is telling us is that it will be a new model, not the porting over of an existing one (as with the C-Class). Sources expect, however, that it will be a new crossover in the style of the BMW X6 – that is, four doors with a sloping roofline.

The photo above snapped at the site of the announcement certainly seems to corroborate the notion, as does earlier speculation. What the new model will be called remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure: it won't have much headroom in the back. Follow the jump for the press release.
Show full PR text
Daimler to Produce Additional Model at the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa Plant (USA)
Stuttgart, Germany / Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
Oct 21, 2011

- Expansion of production portfolio as of 2015
- US$350 million investment, 400 new jobs
- Dr. Dieter Zetsche: "This new model is an important element of our growth strategy."

Stuttgart, Germany / Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA – Daimler will further expand its U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: as of 2015, an entirely new Mercedes-Benz model will roll off the production line as its fifth product. The plant has been the traditional production site of the brand's M-, GL-, and R-Class SUVs and will also build the C-Class for the North American market beginning 2014. For the production of the new model, Daimler will additionally invest US$ 350 million, and will create some 400 further jobs at the plant.

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "This new model from the Tuscaloosa plant is an important element of our growth strategy. It is one of the ten additional models which we will introduce within the next four years alone across all segments." Referring to the Tuscaloosa plant's role within the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Zetsche added: "At the same time, we are systematically broadening our manufacturing footprint in the NAFTA region."

Robert Bentley, Governor of the State of Alabama: "Since the time Mercedes-Benz chose Tuscaloosa County for its first US assembly plant 18 years ago, the company has proven to be an outstanding partner for the state. We join MBUSI in celebrating this milestone, and welcome the hundreds of jobs this announcement brings to Alabama."

Just earlier this year, on the occasion of the Job #1 ceremony of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class in July, Daimler had announced the decision to invest more than US$2 billion in the Tuscaloosa plant (Mercedes-Benz U.S. International – MBUSI). In total, investment in the plant between 2010 and 2014 will thus amount to US$2.4 billion, while the number of newly created jobs will add up to 1,400.

Markus Schaefer, President and CEO of MBUSI, commented on these decisions: "The entire MBUSI team is proud of its role in the success of the models made in Tuscaloosa. We are looking forward to making further important contributions to the product offensive of Mercedes-Benz."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      BG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yuck, why bother? The X6 has not exactly set the North American car market on fire. Why bother making something similar? Experiment over, it's done, people realized it was a stupid (moronic) concept.
      Georgie Porgie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its the curse of the AMC Eagle, just refuses to die, keeps getting reincarnated ...
      VTEC kicked in bro
      • 3 Years Ago
      Robert Bently (AL Governor and the dude in that picture.) looks just like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Google it. Your mind will be blown.
      Alex
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, that is not very smart. Instead of creating new absolutely redundant models they should've tried to get rid of the current ones first, like that "pseudo-minivan" R-Class. But I'm not very surprised there - after all I did receive a survey recently from them, asking me what I think about possibility of Mercedes-branded pickup truck...
      carcrazed4life
      • 3 Years Ago
      I predict trademark rights will go out on the following: GLS MLS CLX But really, do they need this? I'm surprised they haven't made a Audi Q1/BMW X1 competitor over this first.
      en WyCe
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the shot above is of the vehicle, looks more like the baby CLS.
      Justin Campanale
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, MB, you are.....just.....pathetic. Your cars are probably the worst in the entire luxury segment. I swear to god that your interiors from the 90's are better than your current interiors. You have simply abmysal power figures and your cars are about as fun to drive as school buses. And your designs are simply ghastly Right when BMW admits that it made a mistake with the X6 and 5GT, vows not to make any more such niche cars, gives Americans the 3 series wagon (yes, we Americans will get the 2012 3 series wagon), and considers bringing the 5 touring back, you start making more craptacular weird CUV/coupe hybrids. The only two competitive vehicles which you make are the GLK and the R, and both aren't even that good and come with their fair share of drawbacks.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        [blocked]
          Justin Campanale
          • 3 Years Ago
          Shouldn't you be praising Cadillac models, since you, in fact, are GMfanboi in disguise?? Anyway, the E class is NOT better than the 5 seeries. Please drive a 5 series before running your mouth again. The 5 series has MUCH,MUCH,MUCH,MUCH better driving dynamics, performance, handling, and fun factor than the E class. Sure, the new Eclass is more sporty than before, but it loses big-time to the 5 series. Mercedes has, in recent times, always had lackluster interiors, and this is no difference-seriously drive one. The interior feels cheap, flimsy, and something not fit for this class. BMW doesn't make anything to compete with the SL, CL, GL, or CLS. S class is the only truly competitive car which MB puts out right now, and I'd say that the 7 series and it are at a tie. 7 series if you want a little more passion in the driving, S class if you would skip that passion for some extra luxury. If I were in the market, I wouldn't take either, I'd hop into a Panamera Turbo and drive off.
        Não Pirilamparás
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        Abysmal power figures? Fun as school buses? Ghastly designs? No one's forced to like them, I know I don't love them, but you're exaggerating. Also, I can't recall BMW admitting the X6 and 5GT were mistakes nor vowing to make more niche cars. In fact, there have been spy shots of a 3GT… Regarding BMW offering its Touring models in the USA and Mercedes-Benz not, what does that even have to do with anything? And who cares if 10 US Americans get their wagons? BMW and MB are global companies, their USA strategies individually are close to irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Finally, saying the MB R Klasse is one of their only competitive models is just ridiculous. Its "success" is comparable to the 5GT's, which you implied was a mistake. In fact, MB predicted 50k annual sales of the R, 25k of which in the USA. In 2007, it sold 13k in the USA. Still think it's competitive?
          Justin Campanale
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Não Pirilamparás
          After the dismal sales of the 5GT and X6, BMW said that they regretted making niche cars. The 3GT is a mule only, it does not mean that it would be produced. And reports have stated that if the 3GT were produced, it would be Europe only, and instead of being a bloated CUV, it would be more of an Opel Insignia hatch competitor. Wagons do matter nowadays, as CAFE standards rise, automakers can use wagons to bypass the standards. Drive an MB and a BMW side to side, you will see that the BMW has a MUCH better interior fit and finish, better interior materials, a more refined ride, and much, much, much, much, much better handling, driving dynamics, and fun factor.
        John C
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        Fail troll is fail. And yes, I'm talking about you.
          Justin Campanale
          • 3 Years Ago
          @John C
          I'm not trying to troll, I'm just saying what is true. MB has made a car worthy of competing w/ BMW in YEARS.
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      When will the stupidity end?
      wilkegm
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does the X6 really need fighting???
      Andrew L
      • 3 Years Ago
      WHY
      Não Pirilamparás
      • 3 Years Ago
      To everyone bashing the X6 and saying it's a failure: Between 2008 and 2010, it sold 114.651 units globally (of which 3.082 were of the M model). In the same time period, the X5 sold 307.518 units (of which 2.778 were M models). That means that for each 3 X5s sold, an X6 is sold. Considering the X6 is a niche vehicle, more expensive, more profitable and less practical, I think it's pretty successful.
        Vimicus
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Não Pirilamparás
        Iphones and Apple products sell; doesn't mean they are any good. Just means there a a lot of mindless consumers that want to 1-up everyone else. Same goes for people who buy the X6. They think they are getting the Super Sport Swiss Army Knife of SUV's (or should I say XUV?) but what they really get is crap and a big engine. And how dare you compare the X5 with the X6.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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