Mercedes-Benz’s Alabama operation recorded important milestones in 2022 when the automaker opened a battery plant and launched production of its first electric vehicles in the state.
Of course, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, as the Alabama operation is known, is accustomed to venturing into new territory. After all, MBUSI blazed the trail for Alabama’s auto industry when it built the first automobiles produced in the state just over 25 years ago.
The foundations for the most recent milestones were laid in 2017, when Mercedes’ brass announced plans today to invest an additional $1 billion in the Alabama operation to begin EV production.
The investment created a second Alabama campus for MBUSI in rural Bibb County, just minutes away from its sprawling assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County. Besides the battery plant, the Bibb campus also houses a Global Logistics Center and after-sales North American parts hub.
In Vance, the project upgraded a plant that the company already describes as one of the world’s “smartest” manufacturing facilities.
The battery plant officially opened in March 2022, just a few months before the start of production of all-electric Mercedes-EQ vehicles. The state-of-the-art battery factory near the Bibb County community of Woodstock provides high-performance lithium-ion batteries for the new electric sport utilities.
At the new facility, batteries are assembled on a production line almost 1,000 feet long, with 70 workstations.
Mercedes now produces the EQS SUV and EQE SUV in Alabama, as part of a global push to produce eight all-electric vehicles at seven locations on three continents.
“Our team here in Tuscaloosa plays a major role in the global success of Mercedes-Benz. We are proud that not only the new all-electric EQS SUV and EQE SUV are being built here in Alabama for markets worldwide, but also their high-performance batteries,” said Michael Göbel, head of Production North America and president and CEO of MBUSI.
The Tuscaloosa County plant launched Alabama’s auto industry when the first M-Class sport utility vehicle rolled off the assembly line in February 1997. Since then, around 4 million vehicles have left the Tuscaloosa County plant.
Roughly two-thirds of annual production is exported, which has made Alabama the No. 3 auto-exporting state.
At the same time, the automaker’s Alabama workforce has surged as the plant has gone through repeated expansions. The initial Alabama employment base was targeted at 1,500.
Today, the workforce at the facility numbers around 6,300, with the automaker’s supplier network across the state contributing thousands of other jobs.
Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the state is proud to work with Mercedes to help accomplish the strategic vision and goals that will carry the company far into the future.
“What a great history between the state of Alabama and Mercedes-Benz — 25 years of firsts,” he said.
“And the next 25 years is going to be electric. The future of Mercedes-Benz is made in Alabama.”
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