Things are looking up for Mercedes-Benz's Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant: Daimler announced it will spend $350 million to upgrade the plant to allow it to build the upcoming MLC-Class crossover.
We've known for some time that Mercedes-Benz's forthcoming MLC crossover -- allegedly designed to compete against models like the BMW X6 and Acura ZDX -- would likely be built in Daimler's facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The official word came today, as officials revealed a $350 million investment in the plant would bring a secretive fifth model line to the factory, and create 400 jobs.
The MLC, as previous reports have called the vehicle, will attempt to blend the stance and all-wheel-drive traction of an SUV with the racy styling of a coupe. Production is officially scheduled to begin in 2015, and the MLC will likely be offered with gasoline V-6 and V-8 engines, along with at least one diesel option. We've also heard some murmors of an AMG-tuned version, which could compete against the insane X6 M.
The announcement is the latest bit of good news for Tuscaloosa, although it wasn't entirely unexpected. Seeing as the MLC will likely share its architecture with the ML, GL, and R Class models, it makes the most sense to build the vehicle in Tuscaloosa, which presently manufactures all three lines. Mercedes already announced it will build C Class models in the factory by the end of 2014, which will create another 1000 job openings. All told, adding the C and MLC models to the plant represents a $2.4 billion investment in the plant.