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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
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
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
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.
(Nov 28, 2007)