3500 employees working on 4 million square miles in Tuscaloosa County are ready to celebrate. Thursday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new, second generation GL Class SUV, a vehicle -it's creators say will speed off the car lots.
"We continue to be the biggest exporter in the state of Alabama and in the Southeast as well," Markus Shaefer, Mercedes-Benz CEO, President said.
"To see the kind of passion that goes into these vehicles down here in Alabama - it starts with Mercedes Benz passion: the best or nothing, but there is a special flavor to it, a twist to it - there is a bit of Alabama, there is a bit of home grown there that I think has a bit of magic in it," Steve Cannon, Mercedes-Benz US said.
... But faster than it's horsepower, is the speed Tuscaloosa County leaders say - new jobs are coming to Alabama.
"It's given a lot of folks the opportunity to remain in their state and in their community and have a good job," Judge Hardy McCollum, Probate Judge, Tuscaloosa County said.
In 2014, Mercedes will begin production of its new C Class in Alabama but it will begin hiring this year. And a new car from Mercedes - kept a secret - is expected to bring in 400 more jobs. That means not only a workforce boost, but a big increase for the supply chain.
"We have a lot of other companies located here in Alabama because of Mercedes - they supply this vehicle," Judge McCollum said.
The new GL will roll into showrooms by about September. Mercedes-Benz has not yet released its price tag.
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