Weak dollar forces Mercedes to build more in US

Weak dollar forces Mercedes to build more in US

Frankfurt: Daimler is moving roughly a fifth of the production of its upcoming C-Class volume model from its Sindelfingen plant in Germany to its US factory in Alabama starting in 2014 to compensate for a weak dollar.

“From a strategic and economic point of view, this step is absolutely necessary for Mercedes-Benz to remain competitive in the future and utilise its chances for growth," Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement on Tuesday.

In addition to the current Mercedes-Benz SUV models built in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama plant will manufacture nearly 20% of the future C-Class volumes.

Production of the next C-Class for European markets will be concentrated in its northern German plant in Bremen, which in exchange will lose the SL-Class niche model to Sindelfingen to partly compensate its southern German rival plant in near Stuttgart.

As a result, Daimler will offer “attractive job opportunities" to the remaining 1,800 workers in Sindelfingen to secure employment in Germany.

Roughly 10% of future C-Class production will be built in Mercedes’ South African plant of East London, where the model is produced for right-hand markets.

Another 10% will be built at Beijing Automotive’s (BAIC) site in China.

By comparison, about a half of current C-Class production is in Bremen, while another third comes from Sindelfingen. The rest is built in South Africa and China.