Home News Companies Events Guestbook Golf Contact

Automotive Intelligence - the web for automotive professionals and car enthusiasts

.
Google

Web

autointell.com

December 05, 2007

This Week:

 

 

 

1998 - 2007 Copyright &
Disclaimer

Automotive Intelligence,
www.autointell.com
All Rights Reserved .
For questions please contact
editor@autointell.net

One Millionth Alabama-Built Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Rolls Off the Production Line

Stuttgart/Tuscaloosa, AL – Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) has manufactured its one millionth vehicle – 10 years and nine months after the first M-Class rolled off the production line back in 1997 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (USA). Today, three vehicles are built at the facility – the second-generation M-Class, the R-Class Sports Tourer and the GL-Class luxury SUV.

The milestone vehicle – a white M-Class 350 - came off the line on November 27 at 7:59 a.m. (Central Standard Time). The vehicle features sporty wheels, running boards, rear view camera and navigation system. “Our entire organization is extremely proud of this accomplishment and the global teamwork that has made it happen,” said Bill Taylor, plant manager of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa since 1998. “Alabama has provided us with an excellent workforce and this state has been committed to the success of our business. Because of that commitment to our plant, we plan to donate this vehicle to a non-profit organization within the state.” A final decision on the beneficiary of the vehicle will be made in the coming weeks.

When the 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class first arrived, the new sport utility vehicle started a trend that inspired other Premium manufacturers to build more luxurious car-like SUVs. Launched as the only sport utility in its class with four-wheel independent suspension, the original M-Class was one of the first to be designed from the ground up, rather than being based on an existing truck platform.

During the eight-year life cycle of the first-generation vehicle, more than 570,000 M-Class SUVs were produced in Tuscaloosa with about half of them sold in the U.S.. The second-generation M-Class reasserted its industry leadership in a highly competitive market that has grown dramatically since the launch of the original Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz has sold 146,900 of its sport utility vehicles worldwide (+10% compared to the same month in 2006). The Alabama built vehicles achieved a new sales record in the U.S. as from January - October 2007 59,400 vehicles were sold (+11% compared to 2006).

All vehicles assembled in Tuscaloosa, are installed with gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions from the Mercedes-Benz plants in Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim and Berlin as well as from AMG GmbH in Affalterbach, Germany. This contributes significantly to the utilization rate of engine production, which Mercedes-Benz continues to entirely operate in Germany.

During MBUSI 14 years of existence and 10 years of production, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant has seen rapid growth:

  • 1993 - Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is chosen as the production location for the future Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

  • 1997 - The first M-Class customer vehicle “Job 1” rolls off the production line in February. M-Class also wins “Truck of the Year” from Motor Trend Magazine. 1998 - The M-Class wins North American Truck of the Year Award at the North American Auto Show in Detroit. In July, a $40-million expansion is made to the Tuscaloosaplant, to expand capacity by 20% to 80,000 units.

  • 1999 - The 100,000th M-Class comes off the production line in February. 2000 - DaimlerChrysler AG announces plans to invest $600 million to expand the Tuscaloosaplant for future products.

  • 2001 - The 250,000th M-Class comes off the production line in January. 2002 - DaimlerChrysler AG announces that Plant Tuscaloosa will build the R-Class Sports Tourer.

  • 2004 - The 500,000th Alabama-built M-Class comes off the production line and the final M-Class of the first generation follows in a few weeks. The first second-generation M-Class customer vehicle rolls off the production line. 2005 - In May, the $600-Million Expansion is completed and the new plant becomes operational. The first R-Class customer vehicle “Job 1” rolls off the production line, and DCAG announces a third product to be built in Tuscaloosa --the new GL-Class.

  • 2006 - The new GL-Class is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The plant builds the 100,000th second generation M-Class and the first GL-Class customer vehicle “Job 1” rolls off the production line. The GL captures The Motor Trend 2007 Sport/Utility of the Year award and the M-Class earns top safety pick for 2007 from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

  • 2007 - The diesel GL is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MBUSI celebrates 10 Years of production in Alabama. The GL-Class (Gold medal) and the M-Class receive best grades from J. D. Power’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study published in June. For the third time readers of the magazine „Auto Zeitung“ chose the Mercedes-Benz R-Class as the best Van and awarded the Sports Tourer once again with the renowned „Auto Trophy“ for 2007.

  • 2008 – Mercedes-Benz will start to offer its entire SUV range with the exhaust treatment system BLUETEC in summer 2008, which makes diesel engines the cleanest in the world in all vehicle classes. These engines meet even the most stringent emissions limits, ensuring that vehicles equipped with BLUETEC technology are approved for use in all 50 states.

The Plant Tuscaloosa Success Story

The arrival of the Tuscaloosa plant in 1993 and the production of the first M-Class in 1997 marked the first Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle plant outside of Germany. MBUSI’s pioneer role then significantly contributed to the settlement of an international automotive industry cluster in Alabama.

Today, the plant Tuscaloosa grounds include two assembly shops, two paint shops and one body shop – on more than 298,700 square meters in size. The plant in 2006 built 173,600 vehicles in the $1-billion facility, and they are sold in more than 135 countries around the world. More than 4,000 team members work at the plant, a huge increase over the 1,500 that was originally planned. Based on a recent study conducted for the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), the total economic and fiscal impacts of MBUSI and its suppliers on Alabama’s economy are $6.8 billion.

Photo: MB

(Nov 28, 2007)


.
Homepage
   News   Companies   Management   Publications   Events   Guestbook   Search
.