Mercedes-Benz building $1B electric battery, SUV plant in Alabama

Mercedes-Benz building $1B electric battery, SUV plant in Alabama

Move gives company can produce EVs in U.S., China and Germany.

Germany's Daimler (DAIGn.DE) said it will invest $1 billion to expand its US -based Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama to start building electric sport-utility vehicles there from about 2020.

More than 600 new jobs will be created in Daimler's plan, which includes building a facility in 2018 near the Tuscaloosa plant to produce batteries for zero-emission vehicles, the carmaker said.

Daimler's move to produce electric Mercedes Benz automobiles in the United States comes as the automaker stopped US sales of Mercedes Benz diesels under examination by USA environmental regulators.

US automakers are dealing with increasing pressure amid sluggish demand in the country, as Asian and European auto companies strongly increase vehicle production in North America, including a recent investment by Daimler.

Today the plant assembles the Mercedes-Benz GLE, GLS and some variants of the C-Class.

"To the folks at Mercedes Benz and the company's leadership around the world, thank you for taking a chance on Alabama". Blockbuster investment in electric vehicle manufacturing in a USA state?

Mercedes-Benz says it is now responsible for more than 24,500 jobs, either directly at the plant or through suppliers across the region. Hoff said the new electric cars will continue to help provide economic growth for his company and for Alabama.

"This is an exciting day for MBUSI and our entire team here in Alabama", said Jason Hoff, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. worldwide during the "All Team Member" meeting. Construction begins next year, with full operation beginning after 2020.

By 2022, Mercedes-Benz plans to electrify its entire portfolio of Mercedes, offering customers at least one electrified alternative in all segments from smart to large SUVs.

To prepare for production of its all-electric EQ SUV, Mercedes-Benz announced a $1 billion investment into its manufacturing hub in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.