2012 Mercedes-Benz M-ClassEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz has announced today that it will further expand its U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama by adding production of a fifth model line in 2015.
The plant is currently home to production of the M-, GL-, and R-Class SUVs, and has already been confirmed to build the next-generation C-Class in 2014.
While officials are yet to confirm what model it will be, we’ve previously reported the automaker will build a new M-Class based crossover, likely to be called the ‘GLS’, at the U.S. plant.
This new crossover is rumored to feature coupe-like styling and rival the likes of the BMW X6, Acura ZDX, and a similar vehicle under development at Audi.
Speaking at today’s announcement, Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche said: “This new model from the Tuscaloosa plant is an important element of our growth strategy. It is one of the ten additional models which we will introduce within the next four years alone across all segments.”
Mercedes-Benz will invest some $350 million and create more than 400 jobs at the Tuscaloosa plant in preparation for the new model.
Note, this is on top of a previous $2 billion investment announced back in July.
It should be noted that there’s a likely chance the fifth model line could be the next-generation GLK compact crossover, which like the current model will be based on C-Class running gear. This new generation should address the issue of the current version not being available with right-hand drive and may finally see a diesel option added to the U.S. lineup.