Daimler to Invest $1 Billion in Alabama Plant

By Chester Dawson Features Dow Jones Newswires

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.-- Daimler AG plans to invest $1 billion in its Alabama manufacturing operations and start production of a fully electric sport-utility vehicle, a move that comes as the German auto maker expands its U.S. footprint and global electrification drive.

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The company will begin production of an electric SUV early next decade at its Tuscaloosa plant and begin construction next year of a nearby facility to assemble battery systems for use in those and other vehicles, according to people familiar with its plans. Combined, the new plans are expected to add as many as 600 new jobs, these people said.

The new SUV will be sold under the Mercedes-Benz EQ subbrand, according to the people with knowledge of the plans.

Daimler's expansion in the U.S. is part of a global push into electric vehicles and follows its announcement in July to build a similar battery assembly facility in China. The company plans to offer more than 50 fully or partly electric vehicles, and by 2022 electrify its entire Mercedes brand lineup.

The investment comes on top of the $5.8 billion Daimler already has invested on its Tuscaloosa operations, which began production in 1997. Last year, the plant produced more than 310,000 Mercedes vehicles, including mid- and large-size SUVs as well as entry-level C-Class sedans.

Write to Chester Dawson at chester.dawson@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 21, 2017 05:24 ET (09:24 GMT)