Consistently high demand in the US market
- Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “We are consistently seeing record sales in the USA. By launching the new C-Class we are setting new standards in our biggest sales market.”
- Unit sales increase in the USA by 8.2 percent to 205,894 vehicles from January to August
- New C-Class first rolled off the line in Tuscaloosa in June 2014
- Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production & Supply Chain Management: “We are the first German manufacturer in the luxury segment to produce a sedan in the USA. With the C-Class we are expanding our capacities in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa – we are proud of our team members doing such a good job.”
Tuscaloosa, AL – Mercedes-Benz sees good prospects in the US market and is expanding the local production capacities in the country. “We are consistently seeing record sales in the USA. By launching the new C-Class we are setting new standards in our biggest sales market,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, during a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant in the US state of Alabama. Unit sales of Mercedes-Benz in the USA were up by 8.2 percent to 205,894 vehicles in the first eight months of the year. The brand with the star sold 27,078 units (+9.4 percent) here in August alone, thus posting a new record.
“We are the first German manufacturer in the luxury segment to produce a sedan in the USA. With the C-Class we are expanding our capacities in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa – we are proud of our team members doing such a good job,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production & Supply Chain Management. Another increase in production volume is coming up next year, when an additional SUV model will be rolling off the production line in Tuscaloosa. Mercedes-Benz offered a preview of this vehicle in April with the “Concept SUV Coupé” at the Auto China show in Beijing.
“Mercedes-Benz already has the most versatile product portfolio in the US luxury market today. It ranges from vehicles like the SLS AMG to the CLA. With this model we have successfully defined a new entry segment: the response of our customers greatly exceeds our expectations,” said Zetsche. More than 27,000 CLA vehicles have been sold in the US since the market launch in September 2013. In September, Mercedes-Benz will introduce a compact SUV onto the US market for the first time with the GLA. The S-Class Coupé will be coming to US showrooms in mid-October.
With a unit sales volume of 312,534 vehicles, the USA was the biggest sales market for Mercedes-Benz in 2013. Every fifth Mercedes-Benz passenger car sold by the brand with the star last year went to a customer in the USA. “This year we are expecting market growth in the USA of around five percent to 16.4 million units for passenger cars and SUVs. We also expect the premium market to continue to develop more strongly than the overall market. We want to profit over-proportionately from this. Our new models will help,” said Zetsche.
In this context, an important role is played by the new C-Class, which rolled off the line in Tuscaloosa for the first time on June 18, 2014 and has been offered on the US market since August 25, 2014.
“The local production will enable us to supply the US market more quickly and flexibly. We will lower logistics costs and safeguard ourselves better against exchange rate fluctuations through ‘natural hedging,’ said Schäfer. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa plays an important role in the global production network for the new C-Class. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz is producing the C-Class sedan on four continents. Within a period of only six months production has started at all four locations: in Bremen (February), East London, South Africa (May), China’s capital Beijing (July) and Tuscaloosa. “This is an excellent performance by our team that is unmatched anywhere in the world,” said Schäfer.
Bremen controls the global manufacturing of the C-Class as the Lead Plant – starting from the tooling strategy through the training of colleagues from international locations and all the way to product quality. In this way, the company ensures top quality at all production locations from the very start. Intensive training has been provided for a total of 500 employees from the foreign plants, including more than a hundred from Tuscaloosa, to enable them to pass on their know-how in their respective main plants.
Jason Hoff, Head of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa: “We’re successful here at MBUSI because we have a highly qualified and motivated team with a ‘can-do’ attitude. We also embrace the model of flat hierarchy in our leadership structure so our Team Members have direct access to management, which improves communications and ensures we effectively pass on the knowledge and expertise needed to build quality vehicles. This creates a special corporate culture that combines the best of Germany and America.”
The Tuscaloosa plant (Mercedes-Benz U.S. International – MBUSI) was founded in 1995 and started production of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in 1997. The SUVs of the GL-Class and R-Class were added later. The plant manufactured more than 185,000 vehicles in 2013. To date, more than two million vehicles have been produced at the location. “Our decision to go to Tuscaloosa provided the initial spark for the settlement of the automotive industry in Alabama. Thus, according to the current status, we have created 3,400 direct new jobs at the location and are in a real win-win situation,” said Zetsche. According to experts, each job at MBUSI creates seven more jobs at suppliers and service providers. Since 1993, Mercedes-Benz has invested more than four billion US dollars – including 2.4 billion dollars for the current expansion phase from 2010 to 2015.