Tuscaloosa County, Alabama - Mercedes-Benz U.S. International has unveiled plans for an addition of around $1.3 billion to its automotive assembly complex in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

The German automaker will build a third vehicle body shop covering about 1.4 million square feet to accommodate the demand for Mercedes' sport utility vehicles, said Jason Hoff, MBUSI president and CEO.

The overall project also will include some other smaller expansions in other areas of MBUSI’s sprawling auto complex.

“It is for the growth in our SUV products,” Hoff said.

When the expansion is completed, “the plant will span one mile end-to-end,” Hoff said.

“This is the home for Mercedes-Benz SUVs,” he said. “This will continue to be the home for Mercedes-Benz SUVs.”

MercedesSUV

Site preparation for the expansion is well under way, and construction is expected to start soon. The new plant is scheduled for completion in June 2017 and production is slated to start around December 2019.

MBUSI now can build more than 300,000 vehicles yearly. MBUSI makes Mercedes’ SUVs, which are sold world-wide, and C-Class sedans for the North American market.

Hoff said the expanded production area should be ready by the time the next generation of Mercedes’ SUVs goes into production.

“I can’t say much about the next generation of SUVs right now other than they will be the most technologically advanced cars ever built,” he told a gathering that included state Governor Robert Bentley, elected officials, business leaders and media representatives.

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