US: Daimler spending $1.3 billion for Alabama SUV production increase

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The third largest luxury automaker in the world, Daimler AG, the parent company of the Mercedes-Benz brand has recently announced its intention to pour $1.3 billion in its sole US factory to increase the output of sport utility vehicles. The plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which has been manufacturing Mercedes vehicles since 1997 will have the expansion focused on the upcoming next generation of SUV models of the brand, stated the Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler in a release. The project will create another 300 jobs in the process. According to Markus Schaefer, chief of manufacturing at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars division, the expansion will develop a high-tech location to produce “even more flexibly, efficiently and in proven top quality,” though the company did not say when this project would be completed. Back in April Daimler committed to use 25 billion euros ($28.5 billion) of its cash for the development of new models and the expansion of its manufacturing footprint through 2016. Chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche has been rooting for the Mercedes-Benz brand to recapture the worldwide sales top spot from BMW by the turn of the decade. The Tuscaloosa facility handles production of numerous models, including the new GLE SUV and the C-Class limousine and Mercedes has already freed up additional production slots on its lines there by commissioning a plant in Indiana owned by AM General LLC to handle the build of its large R-Class MPV. The additional freed capacity went towards the brand’s SUVs, which have been in high demand and as a class are forecasted to jump 61 percent by 2020, according to IHS Automotive. Via Bloomberg