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Mercedes-Benz Breaks Ground on Expansion of M-Class SUV Plant in Alabama

    HOUSTON--Sept. 17, 2001--The following is an advisory by Industrialinfo.com (Industrial Information Resources, Inc; Houston, Texas). Worldwide demand for the Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) will require Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (Tuscaloosa, Al.) (MBUSI) to make a $600 million capital investment at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama site. The Tuscaloosa plant was built in 1996 and rolled out its first SUV in early 1997. In 1999, the company had to supplement production of the 80,000 unit per year plant by building the M-Class at a plant in Graz, Austria for a limited time. When completed by the end of 2003, the expansion will bring U.S. production of the M-Class to approximately 160,000 units annually.
    A new 1.8 million square foot building will house a body shop, paint shop and general assembly line. Construction manager Washington Group International (Troy, MI) will subcontract all construction and procurement activities. Architectural engineering services will be provided by Albert Kahn Associates Incorporated (Detroit, Mich.).
    The Tuscaloosa plant is the first Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle plant to be built in the United States. MBUSI is a subsidiary of Daimler-Chrylser AG and builds the ML320, ML430, ML55 AMG, and the ML270 (diesel) for Europe. The M-Class is sold in over 135 countries, with the U.S. representing more than half of the total sales.