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News of  January 02, 2001


Mercedes-Benz M-Class Production in 2000 Increases 17 Percent Over Last Year

  • 106,890 vehicles produced for the worldwide market

  • 80,005 produced in Tuscaloosa

  • Expansion plans underway for next generation  M-Class


Photo: DaimlerChrysler

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mercedes-Benz M-Class production increased 17 percent in 2000, with 106,890 vehicles built for the world market, it was announced today by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI).

At its plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 80,005 M-Class vehicles were produced in 2000, a three percent increase over last year's 77,692.  To meet the strong demand for the M-Class in Europe, 26,885 vehicles were produced at the Steyr-Daimler-Puch plant in Graz, Austria.

"This was a very successful year for the M-Class, and a very busy one here at MBUSI in Tuscaloosa.  We realized another production increase both here in Tuscaloosa and in Graz to help us meet customer demand around the world," said Bill Taylor, MBUSI President and CEO. "In addition, we launched the model year 2001 M-Class and began building the ML270 diesel in Tuscaloosa for distribution in Europe and other parts of the world. We did it while continuing to raise the quality bar, and that is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our team members.  Plus, we have received tremendous support from our colleagues in Graz, who played a key role in helping us reach our total production figures."

In the U.S., the largest single market for the M-Class, sales were up almost 18 percent year-to-date through the end of November.  The M-Class has been the top-selling Mercedes-Benz vehicle in the U.S. this year.

As a result of the tremendous M-Class success, in August, DaimlerChrysler AG announced plans for a $600 million expansion of the Tuscaloosa plant. The expansion will double the size of the facility, double current production capacity and create approximately 2,000 new jobs.  Currently, some 1,900 "team members" work at MBUSI.

MBUSI, the Tuscaloosa-based manufacturer of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, currently produces the V6, ML320; V8, ML430; V8 ML55 AMG; ML270CDI Diesel, as well as right-hand drive versions of the M-Class for sale in more than 135 markets worldwide.

The Tuscaloosa plant completed its production for the year on December 22nd, and will be shutdown for the holidays until January 2, 2001.

In 2000, MBUSI celebrated the following milestones:

·        MBUSI announced plans to partner with FuelCell Energy, The Southern Company, and Alabama Municipal Electric Authority to build and install a fuel cell power plant on site at the M-Class facility. The project is called the Alabama Direct Fuel Cell Demonstration Project.

·        The 200,000th M-Class rolled off the assembly line in May.

·        MBUSI was re-certified to the ISO 14001 international environmental standard with zero non-conformances, the only DaimlerChrysler plant outside of Germany to receive this certification.

·        In July, MBUSI began producing the ML270 CDI Diesel in Tuscaloosa for distribution outside the U.S.

·        In August, DCAG announced a $600 million expansion, that will double the size of the plant, double the workforce and double production to 160,000 units per year. Construction for the expansion will begin mid-2001 and be completed by the end of 2003.

·        MBUSI donated $1.5 million to the University of Alabama and Stillman College, both in Tuscaloosa, for the development of co-op and scholarship programs.

·        MBUSI was named the "Corporation of the Year" and Bill Taylor named "CEO of the Year" by the South Regions Minority Business Council for the company's diversity initiatives.

·        In October, MBUSI announced plans to build a $7 million Childcare & Wellness Center on-site for team members and their families. It is expected to open in early 2002.

·        MBUSI hosted DaimlerChrysler Environmental Day, which raised $200,000 for 12 Alabama Environmental charities.  This was the first time the event was held outside of Germany.

·        In November, the company broke ground for both its $600 million plant expansion and its $7 million Childcare and Wellness Center.

(Dec. 27, 2000)


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