The strong euro is promptingAG to shift production of its Mercedes C-Class for North America to the U.S.
Beginning 2014,will add C-Class sedan into the mix at its Tuscaloosa, AL, complex, which will account for 20% of the car’s worldwide production.
“This step is essential for strategic and operational reasons, and helps the company to remain competitive and to fully utilize future growth opportunities,” Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche says in a statement.
Besides the new plant for the C-Class, Daimler says it will make further investments in Tuscaloosa’s existing operations, which will continue to build the R-Class, M-Class and GL-Class models.
Beginning 2014, production of the next-generation C-Class for Europe will be centered at the Bremen, Germany, plant, which will increase its production capacity for the car by about 20%.
To facilitate that move, Daimler will shift SL roadster output to the Sindelfingen, Germany, facility that same year. Sindelfingen currently accounts for about a third of C-Class production, but no longer will build the car after 2014.
The C-Class also is assembled in Daimler’s East London, South Africa, plant, which will continue to account for about 10% of the car’s global production. Another 10% of C-Class output will come from Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd.’s plant in China.
Through November, U.S. C-Class sales total 47,578, down 28.3% from like-2008, according to Ward’s data. The model remains Mercedes’ best-seller in the U.S.