Mercedes to increase U.S. plant capacity image

Mercedes-Benz is planning to increase the production capacity at its only U.S. factory up to 300,000 units by the end of 2015, according to Daimler’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche.

The plant located in Vance, Alabama, built last year 185,000 M-, GL- and R-class crossovers and it started producing this year the newly redesigned C-class sedan.

The plant will add this year 60,000 vehicles with a fifth model, a coupe version of the M class to be built here starting the following year. Zetsche did not reveal separate production figures for the C class or the M SUV coupe but announced that the ML and GL crossovers will have “major facelifts” in 2015.

The total plant investment between 2010 and 2015 amounts to around $2.4 billion. Zetsche confirmed that Mercedes is also considering changing the names of some of its vehicles. He said the redesigned GLK that will debut in 2015 may be renamed the GLC because of its size similarity to the C class sedan.

Mercedes-Benz registered a 10% increase in its sales in August, with a strong demand for compact vehicles from China and the U.S. – the automaker’s number one market. The European sales registered a lower growth, of 5% to 45,661 vehicles.

By Gabriela Florea