Future Mercedes EVs Could Kill American C-Class Production

Industry News

Does this mean the end of the C-Class?

Although Mercedes-Benz only began American production of its C-Class sedan in 2014, there’s already some early talk about that ending in 2021 when the C-Class sedan is redesigned. Speaking to Automotive News, Mercedes global sales chief Britta Seeger could not confirm for sure whether or not the C-Class will continue to be assembled in Alabama beyond 2021. That Alabama production plant will soon see a $1 billion investment for the purpose of building future EVs under the EQ sub-brand.

That new production line is scheduled to get underway in 2020 when an all-new electric crossover launches. This is also the same plant that builds the GLE and GLE Coupe, and GLS SUVs. Why could C-Class production be sacrificed for a new EV? "The most important point for us was to make sure we have the EQ production in the U.S.," Seeger said. "If you have electric mobility, it makes sense to go very regional because you want to avoid huge transportation." But why not simply make the production plant even bigger so that it can also accommodate the C-Class and create even more jobs at the same time? Mercedes believes the plant is already perfectly sized with an annual output of around 300,000 units.

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That said, there’s simply not enough factory floor space to handle both the EQ and C-Class sedan. But does this mean the end of the C-Class sedan in America? No. Mercedes has two other plants, in South Africa and Germany, which also build the C-Class, so the car would, once again, become an import. But the fact of the matter is that Mercedes is placing higher priority on EVs and its upcoming subbrand than one of its most established models.

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