Alabama Plant to Assemble Fanciest Mercedes
Mercedes-Benz will build its US$200,000 Maybach SUV in the deep south of the United States.
The Maybach SUV will be based on the GLS platform and will be the most expensive passenger vehicle built in the US.
Mercedes USA chief Dietmar Exler described the Maybach GLS to Automotive News as a “halo car”—or the brands fancy flagship, basically.
“It will help build the Mercedes brand, no question,” said Exler, who also said that the Maybach brand would eventually be expanded across the Mercedes brand, adding an extra layer of luxury to the already luxury-focused brand.
While the Maybach SUV will be built in America, its debut—and likely the first market it will hit the road in—will be in China.
IHS Markit analyst Tim Urquhart told Automotive News that luxury SUVs were all the rage.
“It’s what a big section of the market wants,” he said.
He added that the US could take credit for getting the luxury SUV market going.
"The U.S. market pretty much revived the G class, the G wagon and the AMG variants of that.”
The Alabama plant where the new Maybach SUV will be built has become a powerhouse of Mercedes SUV range since it first launched in 1997, and now produces the GLS, GLE and GLE coupe.
It will also be where Mercedes will build its future EQ-series electric vehicles from the next decade onwards thanks to the addition of a new battery plant.
The Alabama assembly is the second-largest exporter from the US, with a capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year, of which about 200,000 are exported.
Ben Salisbury is an experienced journalist and has covered the automotive sector for Yahoo! and also writes about the business of selling cars covering the rise of the online marketplace.