The $1 billion deal will create about 600 new jobs, according to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. It operates through Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services segments.
It's unclear how much inspiration for the first EQ SUV will come from this concept, but I'm hoping the answer is "plenty".
Daimler, based in Stuttgart, Germany, is among the global automakers investing in what they hope will be the automotive technology of the future, combining low-emissions electric propulsion with autonomous driving technology and new forms of getting around such as sharing cars ordered through a smartphone app.
"EQ meets Bama", Schafer said. Last year, the plant produced more than 310,000 Mercedes vehicles, including mid- and large-size SUVs as well as entry-level C-Class sedans. As part of the 2015 expansion, the plant is being prepared to produce modern plug-in hybrids.
This is Volvo's XC40, and it's coming to SA
China is anticipated to be a substantial market for the XC40 along with Europe, particularly Volvo's home market in Sweden. Volvo promises ample storage space, including a bin ahead of the cupholders with wireless smartphone charging.
Mercedes, which topped BMW as the top luxury auto brand in the US last year, started assembling vehicles in Alabama 20 years ago. Once the expansion announced today is complete, the figure will stand at $6.8 billion.
A company spokeswoman said the automaker would make an official announcement later in the day. Prior to that, it will also build a facility near the plant that will be responsible for putting together the battery systems that will underpin the electric utes. Daimler executives have previously stated the company is willing to build electric vehicles at any assembly plant housed within a local market to justify it. It should become operational in late 2020.
US automakers are dealing with increasing pressure amid sluggish demand in the country, as Asian and European auto companies strongly increase vehicle production in North America, including a recent investment by Daimler.
A Mercedes-Benz battery pack on display at the company's Alabama plant. The company plans to offer more than 50 fully or partly electric vehicles, and by 2022 electrify its entire Mercedes brand lineup. It employs more than 3,700 team members and supports more than 7,000 jobs on the 1,000-acre plant site.