Mercedes-Benz said to move C-Class production from Alabama

SUV demand sweeps sedans aside

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, one of the mainstays of the manufacturer's model palette, is making room for SUVs and EVs. The Vance, Alabama plant will be dedicated solely to SUV, crossover and electric vehicle production, just a few years after C-Class production moved there at great expense.

Automotive News cites industry analyst LMC Automotive as saying that the C-Class sedan will cease to be made in Alabama in late 2020. Future U.S. market C-Class cars will be sourced elsewhere after the model's six-year tenure at the Alabama plant ends. Current manufacturing facilities for the C-Class are located in Germany, South Africa and China. Out of these plants, the South African location has the most available production capacity left, with 25%. Mercedes-Benz and Daimler representatives have not confirmed or commented on the matter, according to Automotive News.

Reportedly, 60% of Mercedes-Benz sales in the U.S. will consist of SUVs and crossovers, and Vance already builds the GLS and GLE variants for global markets. The plant is already said to be operating at 93% capacity to supply demand, and as GLS and GLE sales have both been forecast to increase by around 30%, sedans will have to bend the knee. It's not that the C doesn't sell — far from that, it's the second-best U.S. model line for Mercedes — but it's no crossover.

The Vance plant will also house EQ GLE and EQ GLS manufacturing in the coming decade, after a billion-dollar expansion. The EQ sub-brand models will begin to be built there in 2020 and 2022, respectively, and Mercedes aims for electric vehicles to account for 15-25% percent of its global sales by 2025.

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