Mercedes-Benz Joins Audi In Location Search For New North American Plant

Two of the biggest economic development prizes come with a German accent.  It has been known for a while that Volkswagen’s Audi brand is searching for a location to build its first North American plant.  It now appears that Mercedes-Benz is also scouting locations in North America on the heels of its latest expansion of its plant located in Vance, Alabama.

Daimler’s  Mercedes-Benz  brand will build a new production facility in either the United States or Mexico as a part of its plan to sell 2.7 million vehicles by 2020, the company’s chief executive has disclosed.

Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche revealed in a recent interview with Manager Magazin that the company will build a new production plant in North America.

Automobile manufacturers now like to cluster their facilities near existing ones, but have also found benefits of moving across state lines for additional political clout – such as having two additional U.S. Senators and additional U.S. House members to look out for their interests.  Georgia was successful in luring Kia in part because parent company Hyundai has a manufacturing facility a short drive away in Alabama.

Audi’s parent Volkswagen has recently opened a new plant in Chattanooga, while Mercedes has again expanded a successful facility in Alabama.  Georgia’s proximity to both – and willingness to put strong incentive packages on the table – should put the state on the list for consideration for both manufacturers.


    • Andre says:

      Given the fact that Tennessee (home of the Volkswagen plant), Alabama (home of the Mercedes facility), and Georgia (home of the Kia plant) all have Republican governors, I’d say that in spite of Obama’s job killing policies, more jobs are coming to the American south due to quality GOP leadership.

      • I Miss the 90s says:

        GAPolitico is more correct than you, Andre. For decades the GOP has put too much emphasis on taxation.

        That being said, and this speaks poorly of GAs governors, it is too bad GA can not attract high paying, high-skill industries. There is a reason Audi may open a plant in GA, but never consider opening a research facility. We can do better, but only if the conservative establishment will stop making decisions based on personal prejudices.

        Our citizens should be designing Audi’s vehicles, not assembling them. The Southern states are becoming Europe’s sweatshops.

        • Charlie says:

          Sweatshops? Really?

          That crap may sound good over a beer at Manuel’s, but I’d suggest you compare working conditions in Spartanburg SC or Vance AL versus the average UAW worker in Detroit or Toledo.

          You guys keep selling that any non-union worker is being exploited, and we’ll keep those non-union Kia and Delta employees voting Republican.

    • Charlie says:

      It’s been subdivided with a Mitsubishi company now occupying part of it. Not sure if the remaining land would support or be ideal for an automotive plant or not.

      • billdawers says:

        According to the Savannah Morning News from 09, Mitsubishi occupies 119 acres with 600 more open for development. I have no idea what kind of footprint an auto manufacturer would need, but I’d guess that the so-called megasite would at least be in the running.

    • saltycracker says:

      All Augusta has to do is ante up some tens of millions.
      The real challenge is not overshooting the runway.

    • saltycracker says:

      Cutting a public deal to get a car plant is smart if it is calculated right or a distribution center. If it is to attract a rooftop chasing big box retail it is insane malfeasance of public money.

  1. Rick Day says:

    Automobile manufacturers now like to cluster their facilities near existing ones, but have also found benefits of moving across state lines for additional political clout – such as having two additional U.S. Senators and additional U.S. House members to look out for their interests.
    to look out for their interests.
    their interests.

    *head explosion*


    • Charlie says:

      I’ll stand by the phrasing. Without getting into a discussion of corporate personhood, it’s illogicial to assume that any company as large as an automotive manufacturer is immune to political whim. From CAFE standards to union regs to safety requirements to … damn near every decision they make, they have “good friends” in Washington that are there to “help”.

      It became clear during the auto bailouts that the UAW is no longer a lone voice for the auto industry, as southern members of the Congress aligned their opposition based on the interests of their employees working in Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, BMW, and soon to be VW plants.

      When the market was shrinking, the interests of the manufacturers who employed literally thousands of each Senator’s constituents were heard on both sides. Spreading that base by two Senators is a good business strategy by any manufacturer.

  2. Max Power says:

    I know I’m showing my penchant for Admiralty again but it strikes me with the exception of BMW, all of the plants in the South are in areas with easy access to navigable waterways. Something sorely missing from Georgia. Perhaps ending the maintenance of the Savannah river for barge traffic wasn’t such a good idea.

    • Charlie says:


      West Point GA?
      Montgomery AL?
      Vance AL?
      Smyrna TN?
      Georgetown KY?
      Tupelo MS?
      Chattanooga TN?

      I’m fairly certain I’m missing at least one in MS and I won’t even try to list the ones in Texas. I don’t think any of the above qualify as warm water seaports, and I’m not sure what would be moved by inland waterways that wouldn’t move faster than rail.

      • Max Power says:

        I know it’s hard to believe but I believe all of those cities are within one hour of an inland port. Most considerably closer. Tupelo is near the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. West Point near Columbus. Chattanooga is right on the Tennessee. Vance near the Tusacalosa port. The point being compared to our neighbors Georgia doesnt have very good water transport. And whil rail may be faster barges are probably on average cheaper especially for parts coming from Europe.

            • True. Thats because the price of fuel is different there to here. I worked for a honda parts plant supplier in Aiken, SC. We supplied parts to plants in Alabama and Mebane, NC…. all by 18 wheels.

              • Max Power says:

                SC like Georgia doesn’t have a great waterway system. However, even in the US I would argue that barges are more efficient than trucks of course that efficiency increases as cargo density decreases. If only Atlanta had a navigable waterway I could live my dream and practice admiralty.

              • saltycracker says:

                We’re talking about U.S. auto assembly plants.
                Impacts: Fuel prices, somewhat and a whole lot about U.S. interstate highways and auto JIT processes from hundreds of component parts suppliers.
                The primary delivery method is and will be trucks.

                Last we tried to use trains, barges, clydesdales or elephants to get a load of transmissions 500 miles for next day delivery we fired the logistics guy.

                • Max Power says:

                  Once again JIT is not incompatible with barge shipment. That’s why you have places like JIT Terminal in Chattanooga. Barges can carry tons and tons of rolled steel far more efficiently than trucks.

  3. saltycracker says:

    Corporations have become pretty smart using the states established carrots for industry as a base to begin negotiations. Why is selective meddling by less skilled politicians preferred over legislation that makes Georgia industry friendly and cooperative? If an abatement is good for the new guy it is good for the long time loyal guy. And then let the locals promote their location.

    • saltycracker says:

      Excellent – it appears your inquiries were answered, if at all, that it is a pipe dream or the state needs to deliver them to Augusta…..translations “here’s a quarter….” or “we love progress…(on our terms)”
      nothing an old guard fears more than a new mill in town….

      • I was told that we are too far from the Port to try for those things… because Chattanooga must be closer… right? They also said they can’t say what they are trying to get in town, but trust them… they are trying. BS.

  4. South Fulton Guy says:

    Land is South Fulton is a good investment, free from traffic woes and close to Hartsfield Atlanta Airport…

    • Andre says:

      High crime rates, high tax rate, high rate of vacant homes, yeah, unincorporated south Fulton is the perfect place for a Mercedes Benz plant.

      Quite frankly, I’m still surprised the Mercedes Benz dealership across the street from the south Fulton park and ride remains open.

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    Mercedes may not be so enamored of Alabma since a German foreign national Mercedes executive was hauled to an Alabama jail because he didn’t have proper papers. We’ve a leg up with only an HB89 welcoming ’em.

      • I Miss the 90s says:

        Not to mention that when they come out here they will be treated as the Gestapo treated German residents in their hey day.


        I guess it is about time conservative ethnocentricity and nationalism catches up with market fundamentalism. They are incompatible, but SHHHH…do not let them know.

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