TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Economic development leaders, auto industry figures, corporate business executives and elected officials gathered in Tuscaloosa tonight, not to cheer on the national championship Crimson Tide team but to celebrate Alabama’s other claim to fame – Mercedes-Benz’s Alabama automotive assembly plant, which last year alone produced 180,379 vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz’s 1993 decision to build its first U.S. assembly plant in Alabama represented a major strategic move for the German automaker, and the facility continues to play a significant role in the company’s production pipeline, according to a key Daimler executive.
“Our decision for Tuscaloosa triggered one of the most important developments in our recent corporate history,” said Andreas Renschler, a member of the Daimler board of management who served as the Alabama plant’s first CEO. “As the first full-production plant outside of Germany, it represents a proud story of success for Mercedes-Benz.”
Renschler, now head of manufacturing and procurement for Mercedes-Benz cars and vans, was back in Alabama today as part of a celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of the automaker’s announcement that it would build an assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County. Key Mercedes executives and Alabama government and business leaders gathered tonight at the North River Yacht Club to reflect on the impact the project has had on both the company and Alabama, which has grown to become a major center of auto production.