Alabama Governor Robert Bentley joined executives from Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the official name of the automaker’s Alabama operations, to break ground on the expansion at the MBUSI campus in Tuscaloosa County.
“This latest expansion means several things,” Governor Bentley said. “First, it means more good jobs for the people of Alabama. Also, it means the automotive industry continues to grow in this state. It shows the confidence that companies have in our workforce and in the positive business climate we’ve created in Alabama.
“This year marks 20 years since Mercedes-Benz first announced it was coming to Tuscaloosa County. Our partnership with Mercedes-Benz is stronger today than ever before.”
Currently, MBUSI employs roughly 3,000 people at its Tuscaloosa County plant. The facility produces the M-Class and GL-Class sport utility vehicles as well as the R-Class crossover, and it will soon produce the next-generation C-Class sedan. A fifth model, a new SUV, will join the Alabama production line in 2015.
The new, on-site MBUSI Logistics Hub will help streamline logistics operations and will support the receiving, handling and sequencing of parts for the vehicles produced at the Vance plant. The logistics facility is expected to be complete later this year.
“With the addition of two new products and ongoing high demand for our current vehicles, our logistics operations are becoming increasingly more complex,” said Markus Schäfer, president and CEO of MBUSI. “Within this building, both MBUSI and its service providers will do much of the preparation and logistical work necessary to keep our production operations moving smoothly.”
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield joined Governor Bentley and Schäfer at today’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“Mercedes continues to demonstrate a dedication to quality and innovation in the assembly of its automobiles,” Secretary Canfield said. “This logistics hub is a clear signal of the Mercedes-Benz commitment to establish stronger links between its assembly teams and the production process itself.
“The continued growth of Mercedes-Benz is a positive message of confidence in the team of employees in Vance and the best proof of success when products are ‘Made in Alabama.’”
The logistics facility jobs are in addition to 1,000 workers that Mercedes is hiring as it prepares to produce the C-Class sedan. AIDT, the state training agency, is handling pre-employment screening for those jobs, which have a May 10 application deadline. See AIDT’s notice for the production jobs being filled.
Mercedes-Benz and other Alabama automakers have been in expansion mode, adding capacity and new jobs as the state becomes an even more important center of auto production. More than 880,000 vehicles were assembled at the state’s auto factories in 2012.
Below: Watch a MotorTrend video on Alabama’s Mercedes plant.