The German marque is making way for more EVs.
The C-Class has been a staple for the Mercedes-Benz brand since its introduction in 1994, particularly in the U.S. where it consistently records strong sales. But after a short stint at Mercedes’ manufacturing facility in Vance, Alabama, the company could be looking for a new production facility for the vehicle altogether.
According to a report from Automotive News, production of electric vehicles in Alabama could force the C-Class out of the country. When asked where production of the C-Class would resume, Mercedes Global Sales Chief Britta Seeger told the publication, "we will see." Not exactly a promising answer.
"The most important point for us was to make sure we have the EQ production in the U.S." Seeger said in the interview. "If you have electric mobility, it makes sense to go very regional because you want to avoid huge transportation."
Gallery: 2017 Mercedes C-Class new versions
A whopping $1 billion investment will be heading the way of Daimler AG’s Vance, Alabama plant for production of electric vehicles under the marque’s EQ sub-brand. Production of the EQ brand is expected to kick off in 2020, starting with an electric crossover – previewed by the Concept EQ Crossover in 2016 – and potentially followed by a smaller EQ hatchback.
With Mercedes-Benz estimating that EQ production could make up as much as 25 percent of global sales by 2025, that means even more vehicles may have to be moved out of the Alabama production facility to make way. The plant is currently almost at capacity with more than 300,000 vehicles built per year.
The Alabama plant, which sits on a 1,000-acre plot just outside of Tuscaloosa, and employs more than 4,000 people, began production of the M-Class in 1997, and has been building the C-Class since 2014. It’s still unclear where U.S. production could end up, but Mercedes also produces the C-Class in facilities in South Africa and Germany.
Source: Automotive News