Mercedes-Benz to stop building sedans in North America
Mercedes-Benz will stop building sedans in North America as sales of the body style continue to lose out to SUVs, parent company Daimler said Thursday.
Mercedes currently builds C-Class sedans at its plant Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and A-Class sedans at its plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
The Tuscaloosa plant will continue to build the GLE, GLE Coupe and GLS SUVs, while the plant in Mexico will focus on the GLB SUV, according to Reuters.
No dates were mentioned but C-Class production in Tuscaloosa will likely be phased out prior to a redesigned C-Class arriving next year. Mercedes will fill the void with production of an electric SUV, which the automaker announced in 2018 when it started construction of a battery plant in Tuscaloosa.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Class
An electric GLB is coming and will likely be added to the plant in Mexico.
Future C-Class sedans for sale in North America will likely be imported from Mercedes’ plant in Bremen, Germany. The sedan will also be built at plants in South Africa and Beijing.
Daimler made the announcement about the plants while announcing an operating loss of 1.68 billion euros ($1.91 billion) for the second quarter of 2020, which beat an expectation of a loss of 2.07 billion euros. The Mercedes brand delivered close to 870,000 cars and SUVs in the first six months of the year, which was 19% lower than in the same period one year ago. Its commercial vehicles unit was hit harder, with deliveries in the first six months of the year down 38% to 150,000 units.
As a result, Daimler is looking to cut costs. The automaker is currently in talks with Ineos for the sale of a plant in Hambach, France, which builds the Smart ForTwo. Future Smarts will be built in China via a joint venture between Daimler and Geely. The automaker may also sell a plant in Brazil and possibly eliminate some slower selling models.