Mercedes-Benz to increase production at Alabama plant image

Daimler AG has big plans for its only plant in the United States, as the Tuscaloosa, Alabama-based facility will make 30 percent more cars starting next year.

According to internal plans obtained by Automotive News Europe, Mercedes-Benz will build 185,900 vehicles in Alabama in 2012, 30 percent more than the 2011 estimated production.

Starting from August 2012, Mercedes-Benz will begin a three-shift operation at the factory in order to meet market demand and begin preparation for the launch of the new C-Class, a letter to suppliers by two Mercedes executives revealed. In 2011, production at the American plant is projected to rise to 143,000 units from 125,000 in 2010, according to market research firm IHS Automotive.

Of the total estimated 2012 production, 124,300 units will be M-Class models, 23,400 units will be R-Class models, 22,000 units will be GL-Class models and 16,200 units will be next generation GL-Class models. The all-new GL will enter production in June 2012.

For 2013, Mercedes expects to make 178,000 units in the Alabama plant, 4 percent less than in 2012. The decrease is due to lower production plans for the R-Class (18,000 units) and M-Class (110,000 units), with the new GL-Class scheduled for 50,000 units. In 2014, the plant will also build the new C-Class.