Executive – Daimler could expand Alabama factory role image

As the German luxury automaker seeks to improve profitability, limit currency risk and reduce transportation costs by moving production closer to customers, Daimler could consider making more models beyond its Mercedes-Benz C-class car at the plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Daimler will begin C-class production in Tuscaloosa next year, marking the first sedan production at a plant that has been known for producing sport-utility vehicles since 1997.

“We can do theoretically some other cars in Tuscaloosa,” Bodo Uebber, Daimler’s chief financial officer, said on Thursday in New York.

Uebber said no decisions have been made but stressed that flexibility in production is key to succeed in a competitive market. Daimler is in the midst of a product offensive to try to regain the global luxury sales crown. The Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker also is under pressure to improve its profitability. Its profit margin in the third quarter rose to 7.3% from 6.4% a year ago.

Four years ago, Daimler announced plans to move production of the top selling C-Class model to the Alabama plant from Germany to protect it from currency fluctuations and reduce labor and transportation costs.

Via The Wall Street Journal