Parking lots fill up with new cars from Alabama auto plant

North England

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Parking lots have been filling up with scores of new Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Alabama.

Thousands of the vehicles are showing up in parking lots across west and central Alabama, The Tuscaloosa News reported .

Officials with Daimler AG, the Germany-based company that owns Mercedes-Benz, declined to say how many vehicles are being stored.

But company officials did say that they’re working to address production difficulties of the new GLE Class SUV at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant outside Vance. Those difficulties have created “challenges” that the company believes it can “overcome.”

The issue is the production associated with Daimler’s simultaneous launch of the new GLE sport utility vehicle for the three regions it serves — Europe, the U.S. and China — and unforeseen difficulties associated with that, the Tuscaloosa newspaper reported.

“As you know, we have a totally new SUV platform on the one hand, we have existing suppliers and of course new ones coming to the SUV side of our business and this complexity of course leads to challenges, which we’re optimistic that we can overcome these challenges,” Daimler Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said in a recent quarterly earnings call for investors.

“We have (a) certain plan now for the next three quarters to come that we have a step-by-step improvement in the delivery position of the GLE,” Uebber said.

Mercedes launched the multibillion-dollar automotive industry in Alabama when the company announced in 1993 that it would build the MBUSI plant in Tuscaloosa County. It was the first Mercedes assembly plant outside of Germany and is one of the leading employers in West Alabama.

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