Tough times call for necessary measures.
While the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series made its triumphant debut this past week, the German automaker realized it had a tough decision to make. This time, however, it involves what was once one of its most popular models. According to Reuters, Mercedes parent company Daimler is planning to end production of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan at the Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant. No specific end date has been announced just yet, but it's been clarified the facility won't shut down entirely. Quite the opposite.
Tuscaloosa is also home to some of the luxury brand's most popular SUVs, the Mercedes GLE and GLS. In the near future, Tuscaloosa will also be home to an all-electric EQ-branded SUV.
Ending C-Class sedan production will give Mercedes time to prepare the facility accordingly. It should also be made clear that the C-Class sedan is not being discontinued. Production for the upcoming next-generation model will be moved to another C-Class plant, such as in Germany, South Africa, or China. Mercedes' parent company, Daimler, is making drastic cuts following a dismal second-quarter operating loss of $1.91 billion. Blame the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the C-Class sedan, the compact Mercedes A-Class Sedan will also cease production in Aguascalientes, Mexico, though that factory also won't be closing. It already builds the more profitable GLB SUV crossover and will continue doing so, likely in greater numbers.
"Our systematic efforts to lower the breakeven of the company by reducing costs and adjusting capacity will need to continue," CEO Ola Kallenius said.
This continuation refers to previously announced cost-cutting measures as part of global restructuring efforts. Mercedes has already spent some $127 million on early retirement and employee buyouts. In addition, it wants to save an additional $2.3 billion in yearly savings through even more staff cuts, supposedly upwards of 20,000 jobs. The automaker is even considering selling a manufacturing facility in Brazil. A planned expansion to a plant in Hungary is also likely off the table.