600 new jobs coming to Tuscaloosa Mercedes plant

Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ concept 2016 Paris auto show

This wasn't the only positive piece of USA vehicle-manufacturing news this month.

Daimler is to begin making electric cars in the U.S. with a $1 billion overhaul of its Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama. The plan also calls for building a battery plant near that facility.

It's unclear how much inspiration for the first EQ SUV will come from this concept, but I'm hoping the answer is "plenty".

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is about to get some more serious competition in the luxury electric vehicle (EV) market. In addition to the new EQ line of battery-powered cars, the manufacturer will add electrified versions across its model range. Mercedes says all its cars will have an electric motor by 2022 - although, that statement includes hybrid and plug-in hybrid models as well as battery electric vehicles. It operates through Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services segments. Mercedes will begin producing its first electric SUV, the EQC, at its factory in Bremen, Germany, in 2019.

Daimler is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, facility to ensure it can produce EVs and the batteries to run them. Daimler executives have previously stated the company is willing to build electric vehicles at any assembly plant housed within a local market to justify it.

The popularity of the SUVs built in Alabama has helped make Mercedes-Benz the top selling luxury vehicle in the world.

"We're celebrating our 20th anniversary at our production facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and we're taking this as an opportunity to expand the operation and further fuel growth", production chief Markus Schaefer said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

State officials are helping the project along by giving Mercedes tax breaks and other incentives based on the company meeting production goals. Moreover, the North American after-sales parts hub located on the same site will provide spare parts to markets around the world.

The German luxury automaker plans to add electric SUVs to its production lines in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where it now makes gasoline-powered SUVs and the C-Class sedan. In September 2015, MBUSI announced a $1.3-billion plant expansion and new jobs to pave the way for production of future SUVs.

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