Daimler announced Friday that it would spend $1.3 billion in its Tuscaloosa, Alabama factory to upgrade its equipment and technology, and to also add a 1.3 million square-foot body shop.
The investment will also add 300 jobs to the plant, which produces the C-Class and GL-class — and perhaps GLT? — and work is reportedly already underway. The plant has been open since 1997 and has predominantly produced SUVs, although its future products are less clear.
Mercedes is reportedly preparing to make a truck, based on the Nissan Navara, to release in global markets. In Frankfurt, the updated Nissan Navara and related Renault Alaskan made their debuts, although only the Navara will have a life in the U.S. — probably as the next Frontier. Mercedes would need to produce its pickups in the NAFTA zone to avoid a Chicken Tax if they were to sell one here. (Sprinter doesn’t care.)
Just as in Chattanooga, Tenn., the United Auto Workers has established a local in Tuscaloosa, Ala. for those working on the floor of the Daimler AG-owned MBUSI plant in nearby Vance.
Though Daimler senior management has said repeatedly that the decision to organize the MBUSI plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. was up to the workers on the floor, Daimler works council boss Michael Brecht is heading there in a few weeks to explore the possibility with the United Auto Workers.
The National Labor Relations Board will conduct a hearing to discuss allegations regarding management conduct at Mercedes-Benz’s Vance, Alabama plant. The reports filed with the Board allege that Mercedes violated worker’s rights by forbidding discussion of unions during working hours, as well as threatening termination of employees that solicited for the union.