Daimler AG said Sunday it will build its new Mercedes-Benz C-Class car in Alabama -- the first sedan its built in the United States in a century.
Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche told reporters and other guests at an invitation-only event ahead of the North American International Auto Show that the German automaker will build its best-selling vehicle at its plant in Tuscaloosa. By 2015, Daimler will build five Mercedes models in the U.S., which is the C-Class' best market.
Daimler has been building SUVs in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, but the C-Class is Mercedes’ first car to be built here since it cooperated with Steinway over 100 years ago. "That's another way of saying we took a little break," Zetsche joked.
“We are especially proud to bring our new C-Class into production here in America," Zetsche said. "Together are new C-, E- and S-Class cars represent the youngest and strongest Mercedes-Benz sedan portfolio ever. This is like Detroit Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford having not one but three receivers like Calvin Johnson to pass to. It would just be hard to miss."
Mercedes U.S. sales were up 14 percent in 2013 and almost one in five luxury vehicles sold in America is a Mercedes.
The C-Class goes on sale in the fall, with sexier, chiseled looks and a host of new features. The company says the new car will feel like an upgrade from economy to business class.
Pricing has not been released, but it is likely higher than the current $35,800 starting price.
VW will debut new SUV for U.S. in 2016
Volkswagen’s new seven-passenger SUV will go on sale in the U.S. in 2016.
The German automaker’s CEO, Martin Winterkorn, confirmed the timing of the new vehicle Sunday, on the eve of the first of two press days kicking off the Detroit auto show.
Plants in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Puebla, Mexico, are vying to build the SUV.
Winterkorn said the new SUV will be part of a five-year, $7 billion investment in North America. The investment also includes the production of the new Volkswagen Golf, which begins Tuesday in Puebla. The Golf goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Winterkorn said Volkswagen is committed to its goal of selling 1 million vehicles per year in the U.S. by 2018. The company sold just over half that many in 2013.