U.S.-Built Mercedes-Benz Models to Become More American

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Call it the Americanization of Mercedes-Benz. While the German automaker has assembled C-Class, GLE and GLS models in Alabama for some time (and, more recently, Sprinters in South Carolina), recent pressure from the Trump administration has led the automaker to reconsider what goes into those vehicles.

After being characterized by President Trump as “very bad,” it’s possible other German automakers operating in the U.S. could follow Mercedes’ lead in a bid to avoid further heat.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG has announced it will source more parts from U.S. suppliers. The automaker recently told suppliers it “sees value” in securing components from areas closer to its Tuscaloosa assembly plant.

For Mercedes, the timing of the move implies it has more to do with politics than logistics or cost. Trump claims a $15.4 billion automotive trade deficit exists between the two countries, lumping Mercedes-Benz in with BMW and Volkswagen as automakers which import more vehicles than those produced on U.S. soil. In total, about 28 percent of those automakers’ vehicles sold in the U.S. are built in the U.S.

While Trump has mentioned his desire for a border tax on automobiles, automakers are awaiting the results of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations scheduled to begin in late summer. Automotive organizations have appealed to Trump in the hopes of avoiding changes to the rules of origin law.

Already, Mercedes-Benz models made in America are fairly American. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 60 percent of a GLS’ parts originate in the U.S. or Canada. That percentage rises to 80 with the C-Class.

[Image: Daimler AG]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Redapple Redapple on May 30, 2017

    So I m in my local Chevy dealer parking lot kicking tires. 2018 Equinox. 40% Mexican Content. USA-Canada Content- 45%. Engine and Trans- USA Final Assy - That plant by London ONT. Trans, engine and assy is in USA/Canada and mexican content is almost the same>????? Mercedes can do what ever they want. Why bother. All that s left in the USA- especially in tier 2-3 shops are zombie companies. The lights are on, there are cars in the parking lot but they aint making money. Kiddies- what ever you do- STAY AWAY FROM VEHICLE MANUFACTURING. You will be hollowed out and crushed down. More H1-B now !!! (how d I do Deadweight?)

    • See 2 previous
    • Brettc Brettc on May 31, 2017

      Yep, Cami in Ingersoll. Formerly the plant that built Chevy Sprints/Geo Metros. I saw a 2018 Equinox over the weekend and it was built in Mexico. I was surprised, thought all Equinox production was at Cami but I guess multiple factories are building it.

  • PentastarPride PentastarPride on May 30, 2017

    More American-like may or may not be a good thing, I don't know, but for now their lineup takes after Hyundai. The aesthetics, the look and feel are a turn off to me. The handling is still there but it wouldn't win me over enough to overlook everything else. Last-generation Benzes were perfect in my opinion. It was those cars that impressed me enough to consider Mercedes for my next vehicle but I'm afraid that whatever they have out by then will be an indiscernable blob. It's a trend all across the industry. Imitate and/or uglify.

  • Redapple Redapple on May 31, 2017

    What turns me off on new M-Bs? A four banger in a large sedan like an E class. Save the heavy breathers and shakers for Cadillac.

  • 06M3S54B32 06M3S54B32 on May 31, 2017

    "It’s quite possible that Trump is smarter than we think." No it's not. He's a fuc*^ng moron of epic proportions. This jackass has been bankrupt like a dozen times? He's unfit for anything less Tweeting.