Daimler, the Germany-based parent of Mercedes-Benz, has announced that the company will invest $1 billion in its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, assembly plant to produce the company’s EQ-branded electric Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).
The company also said a battery plant would be built near the existing auto plant and that, once completed, the project would yield 600 new jobs.
TheTuscaloosa plant builds Mercedes-Benz SUV models GLE, GLS and GLE Coupe for worldwide distribution and C-class cars for the North American market.
The plant exports more than 70 per cent of its production and is currently being expanded to accommodate manufacturing of the next generation of Mercedes SUVs, including plug-in hybrid models. In 2016, the plant produced more than 310,000 vehicles, and it employs over 3,700 people and supports more than 7,000 jobs.
Mercedes said it plans to produce its EQ SUVs “at the beginning of the next decade”. By 2022, the company plans to “electrify the entire portfolio of Mercedes” and offer customers at least one electrified alternative in all its vehicle segments. The first EQ series model, the EQC, will go into production in 2019 at the Mercedes plant in Bremen, Germany.
The planned battery plant will be part of the Mercedes global battery production network to support both local and export demand.
Daimler said it would invest $1.8 billion in its battery production network, including facilities in Germany and China.